January 2nd, 2008
02:35 PM ET
9 years ago

Biden highlights Clinton Pakistan gaffe

Biden got tough on Clinton over her recent comments on Pakistan.

Biden got tough on Clinton over her recent comments on Pakistan.

(CNN) - Democrat Joe Biden suggested Tuesday that presidential rival Hillary Clinton doesn't adequately understand recent events in Pakistan.

The Delaware senator was responding to news that Clinton suggested in two recent interviews that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is up for reelection this month.

Musharraf was actually reelected in October, and the upcoming Pakistani elections are parliamentary, not presidential.

"We have a number of candidates who are well-intentioned but don't understand Pakistan," Biden said at a campaign event Tuesday. "One of the leading candidates - God love her."

"There are good people running," continued the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has made his foreign policy credentials a centerpiece of his long shot presidential bid. "But to say Musharraf is up for election! Musharraf was elected - fairly or unfairly - president six months ago. It's about a parliamentary election!"

Clinton's comments came in an interview with ABC Sunday, in which she said, "[Musharraf] could be the only person on the ballot. I don't think that's a real election."

The New York senator also made similar comments during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week, saying then, ""If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow."

Both gaffes were first noted by conservative Thomas Houlahan, writing for the Middle East Times.

The Clinton campaign has not yet returned a request for comment on Biden's comments, but said yesterday the New York Democrat was referring to Musharraf's party, not himself in particular.

Republican Mike Huckabee took heat last week for also getting key facts about Pakistan wrong in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's death. He first suggested the country remained under martial law (it was lifted a few weeks ago) and later said that Pakistan shares its eastern border with Afghanistan (it shares its western border.)

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden
soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. alain

    She was drinking coffee with ambassadors that 's it.......sorry Hillary , not this time.She voted for the war, she voted for Iran's war, she doesn't know anything about ..Pakistan and the rest of the world................

    January 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Jeff from Jersey

    Post Script:

    Edwards isn't really running for President,Elizabeth is.

    See irrelevant.

    January 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Scott, San Antonio Tx

    The saddest part here is that the two candidates on the Dem side that might actually be good presidents (Biden and Richardson) don't have a prayer to win.

    January 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. J. Harry Sutherland


    Picky stuff doesn't play well. The Democrats continue to fund Bush's wars and fighting among themselves. We have to save what's left of our America and get rid of these Republicans. Biden stepped down a degree with this picky statement, like he never made a mistake. Hilliary Clinton is an ideal candidate and it is time we had some intelligent person sitting in the Oval Office. I think the Republicans have played the religion card till most of us are sick of it. I would not vote for someone who has a Muslim name or background either. Have you noticed that the candidates do not talk about bin Laden, 160,000 soldiers can't find him or Musharaf has him hidden in a spider hole. After WW II the Nazis were rounded up with little fanfare, why not bin Laden? Biden should approach this question istead of worrying about Hillary. I note he has 12% in the Iowa polls, so he has more to worry about than Clinton. It is obvious john Edwards would spend like Bush to save the poor. Most of the Republicans should drop out and try in the next election.
    Theere are few choices in this election.

    January 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. John C. Going

    The most disengenuous politican to come down the pike.But, she has 16 years of
    experience! 6 as a senator, 2 as the 1st lady, Arkansas, 8 as Bill's wife. Never had
    security clearance. Was not given a copy of Presidents daily intelligence breifs.
    Did not attend any National security council meetings. If thats the case, then Ms Bush and Tipper Gore could qualify like Hill does. Never ran a business, never ran a state, and cannot give a yes or no. McCain,Edwards, Obama, and Romney
    are all better candidates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. B. S. Davis

    As Melane says, vote for Hilory – we need a lesbian in the White House, to offset those clueless males!

    January 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Juan, Fort Lauderdale

    Lets see if I get this straight:

    Bush makes a gaffe about Pakistan and the Democrats point this out as his lack of international relations abilities.

    Hillary makes a bigger gaffe about Pakistan and the same Democrats make excuses. They say it was a "misstep" (Hillary Lover in NY), that "no one is perfect,"(Bill in Ohio).

    Bush invades Iraq, and now the Democrats support Afghanistan, but not Iraq. In fact, they claim that the troops are spread too thin and they should be consentrating on Afghanistan (I thought we should not have invaded that country either).

    Now Obama and Biden want to invade Pakistan. I thought our troops were spread out too thin and we should not invade other countries...

    When will you all get over your bitterness from the 2000 election? Open your eyes, or we will all be speaking arabic soon.

    January 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Mary, Maryville, TN

    An Obama/Biden ticket is looking better every day! "experience" is in the eyes of the beholder and I have seen much to 'behold' in a Clinton Administration. Oh wait, I better clarify that somewhat – I have seen the same kind of rhetoric coming out of Hillary that I so detest over the past 7 years of Bush

    January 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. RF, Hillsborough, NJ

    So she got a small detail wrong. At least she didn't declare war because of it.

    January 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Roxanne

    Yea, let's vote for Biden who has been known to talk from all sides of his mouth. Big deal, parlaimentary elections in Pakistan! What Biden needs to do is to find what he really stands for!

    January 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Craigo

    Another case of the pot calling the kettle black. Hey Melane, nobody has to make the dems look bad. They just are!

    January 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Sandy Wilcox, FL

    There she goes again. Hillary did not know Musharraf was elected last year– basic international affairs knowledge. Now she is denying it.– Pathetic!! Hillary Rodham Clinton: not credible, not competent, not trustworthy. Case closed.

    Democrats, please do not feel you owe Hillary anything! Vote with your brains, not what media wants you to do, mainly CNN. My vote goes to Obama. (Second choice, Biden!)

    Obama 08!

    January 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. jaggok

    So its alright to plagiarize but God forbid if you slip up and say that someone is running for president when they aren't.

    January 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Gary, Austin TX

    At least Hillary didn't do it intentionally...it was an honest mistake, much like every politician has made recently...contrary to Senator Biden intentionally plagiarizing John F. Kennedy's speeches and claiming the credit as his own, when he was in college and running for Senator!

    January 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Getzel

    Biden/Gingrich 2008. Reach across to a can do ideas guy: and WIN. Ist day pass a law that makes the minimum price of gasoline at the pumps: $1.75/gallon; billion dollar/million barrel per day ethanol stills will not be built without protection from OPEC monopoly pricing that can lower their price of oil and rust out our new stills; A Manhattan project for the non-toxic enzyme for converting cellulose (sugar chains held together by a bond) to fermentable sugar. Osama (OBL) is a mercenary marketing director for various government owned weapons manufacturers parading as a religious person; no definition of religious includes flying planes into buildings.

    January 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, Diamond Bar CA

    This is all about the judges, the future of the supreme court, so I'll take any any democrats over any of the republicans running for presidency.

    January 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Dan

    What continues to amaze is not that she doesn't have a clue, but that her political machine continues to believe that they can cover these outrageous gaffes by maintaining she meant to say something other than what she plainly said.

    I thought this was the candidate with the experience to start governing day one!

    January 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. JustLD

    Hillary does not enjoy a 30 pt lead, she just "allegedly" is estimated to have the commitment of 30% of the voting democratic population. However, a few more exposures of her true intellect might convince even the dumbest hillbilly that she is a long way from qualified for the office. Sooner or later, one or more minority candidate will occupy the highest office in the land. But lets make sure that the wrong person doesn't doom those to follow to the inevitable comparisons and set the American process and public face back 50-100 years. Hillary is to American politics what Brittney Spears is to American Entertainment.
    Open up Hillary, and say "DUHHHHHH".

    January 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Nestor Schpaliansky

    Thank you for the opportunity to let me comment on this article, and all others for sure.

    It's interesting to notice that, even though Senator Biden would make a perfect VP for Mrs. Clinton (and I believe he still can as both are very amicable and compatible), the fact that Mrs. Clinton did not address correctly the current election situation in Pakistan does not discard her as a valid candidate.

    In fact, President G.W. Bush himself knew NOTHING about foreign policy before becoming President in his first election and still it seemed that the Christian Evangelical vote was the only thing he needed to win the electors...

    I celebrate the heat in the primaries times but for those republicans and other democrats that are trying to discredit the leader, you will have to aim better to shoot someone of the caliber of Mrs. Clinton. Be careful with the firebacks, especially because of President Bush's lack of foreign policy knowledge in similar circumstances!

    Thank you.

    January 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Larry

    Well, that is what the national security advisor, department heads are for JOE! One person can't know everything about every country! I would prefer to have a president that knows our country first! Just look at Bush for crying out loud! You think he would know something like this unless he surrounded himself with competent folks! Stop being so political and bashing other candidates. Just tell us what YOU are made of! Christ!

    January 2, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. julianbook

    Hillary is courting Iowa farmers, but the only thing she's ever planted was questions in the audience. Bill was elected promising universal health care. The Congress was democratic. Eighty percent of the public was behind it. The economy could easily support it. Yet her program was 1000% failure. She had another 6 years to try to revive it. Nothing happened. Can anybody actually be that incompetent? Let's hear the excuse for 8 years of failure on her supposed pet program – when her husband was the president no less. Now there's an election, she's promising you healthcare again just like Bill did – with an unworkable mandatory plan to force down people's throats – a windfall to the insurance lobbies that fund her. The theory is that if you can fool them once, you can always fool them. As Geffen says, "the Clintons lie with such ease, it's troubling". and the NY Times' William Safire called her a "congenital liar". Hillary flunked healthcare. She flunked Iraq. She flunked Iran. She flunked Pakistan. She even flunked the Washington bar exam twice, and is a serial failure as a housewife. That's her record – her so-called experience. She cannot even take care of her household, but wants to be your president, and leader of the free world, with her fingers on the nuclear arsenal. Would you bet on a horse that collapses every time it comes out of the gate? Would you get on a ship if the captain was the guy from the Titanic? The American people are not that stupid. I'd be willing to bet that both Hillary and Bill are on drugs right now. Bill is a huge security risk to the USA as he is susceptible to anything that comes along in a skirt. We need intelligent and honest leadership. Obama is a brilliant and visionary leader with a powerful brain. He graduated first in his class at Harvard. That's not easy. He's a uniter that gets all the difficult things right.

    January 2, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Asif

    I still remember that interview Bush gave in 1999, in which he couldn't even name the leaders of some nations including pakistan and india – look at what he did to the world after his election.

    Coming to hillary, here's a portion of an article published in a pakistan daily today

    "...Ms Clinton's ignorance seems complete in terms of Pakistan when she declares that Pakistan's "feudal landowning leadership" must be disempowered because it was led by President Musharraf and has protected Al-Qaeda! Now there may be many grounds on which President Musharraf has been critiqued, but in all fairness he cannot be labelled a feudal landowner or even the leader of the feudal land-owning class! And while one may detest the feudal class and the feudal mindset, and there are many evils associated with feudalism, but empowering the clergy is not one of them. Without being an apologist for feudalism in any sense, the fact is that it is where the feudal leadership has been weakened or is non-existent, that the mullah has gained power and come into his own. Perhaps Ms Clinton is also not aware of the fact that the late Ms Bhutto, widely regarded as the symbol of moderation and secularism, was also a feudal landowner"

    January 2, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Jing

    I'm an Obama supporter, the important thing here is not that Clinton got the pakistan politics wrong. The important thing is that if she didn't know, she should just say she didn't know. And it'd been ok. Last thing we need is a president in the white house who will just pretend to know everything. Obama/Biden is the best ticket i believe. Obama unites America and Biden with Real experiences, compared to hilary's false claims. When I falsely claim thing on my job i probably get fired. But when she make a whole bunch of false claims she received nothing but praises from her hardcore supporters who do not study facts.

    January 2, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Patricia

    See! Here is a smart man.
    As a Republician these past 20 years – I would cross over to the
    democratic side to vote for Biden if he were nomintated.
    A very good man.

    January 2, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Robert Bell

    Whoa! I am no big fan of Hillary as you know, but I am surprised she would make such a gaffe.

    I mean, she isn't the super-Einstein the campaign makes her out to be, but then again, she is no dummy, either.

    But I would expect our nation's leaders to be more well informed that that.

    Particularly after she made a big deal about being best friends with Bhutto and all.

    And it is not a slip of the tongue, either, but a clear misunderstanding of what could be the most important foreign relationship of the next 4 years.

    Whoops is right. Big Whoops!

    It's kind of sad, though. This give me no joy to see such a mis-step.

    I feel bad for Hillary.

    January 2, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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