September 22nd, 2008
03:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Biden strikes back at McCain over judgment

Sen. Biden took aim at McCain on foreign policy and national security Monday.

Sen. Biden took aim at McCain on foreign policy and national security Monday.

BALTIMORE, Maryland, (CNN) – One day after John McCain questioned Barack Obama’s judgment to be commander-in-chief in front of the conference of the National Guard Association, Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden came to his defense in front of the same gathering Monday, hitting McCain on foreign policy and national security.

Biden also countered John McCain’s accusation that behind Barack Obama’s views “lies the ambition to be president.”

“No one party has a monopoly on virtue or good ideas,” said Biden. “We can question each other’s judgment, that’s what elections are all about but we have to stop questioning each other’s motives and each other’s patriotism.”

“We all put ‘country first,’” he added, borrowing the McCain camp’s slogan. “When John and I send our sons to war, they don’t wear a Republican flag or a Democratic flag. They wear the American flag.”

McCain’s son Jimmy, a Marine lance corporal, has served in Iraq. Biden’s son Beau, Delaware’s attorney general and a member of the state’s National Guard, will be deploying there this fall.

Like McCain’s Sunday remarks, Biden’s lines on patriotism and the American flag got a rousing reception from the crowd. The crowd was silent during his attacks on the Republican nominee.

The senator raised eyebrows among reporters when he veered off his prepared remarks toward the end, replacing short, punchy lines ending with “John was wrong, Barack was right,” with lengthier arguments that referenced his own experience and understanding.

“Whoa!” exclaimed Biden after saying that McCain had asserted before the Iraq war that there was no history of conflict between Sunnis and Shias. “One of my problems is maybe I read too much history. There’s an overwhelming history, an overwhelming history ladies and gentlemen, 1200 years of it, of clashes between Sunnis and Shias.”

“You want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” he later added. “I can tell you where they are. John says he’ll follow them to the gates of hell. You don’t have to go to hell. Just go to Pakistan. Just go to that area. That superhighway of terror that exists between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

The original text also ended with the argument that in order to have a strong military, there needs to be a strong economy. Forgoing the planned conclusion, Biden left out the news of the day and a chance to promote the plan Obama was introducing in a “major” economic speech.

Biden heaps praise on the National Guard at every campaign rally and Monday spoke glowingly of the domestic and international work the National Guard has done, and pledged to increase medical and economic support in light of increased service burdens in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Barack and I are here, we are going to set this straight,” he said.

Filed under: Joe Biden • John McCain
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Peter (CA)

    "lies the ambition to be President"...

    Sen. McCain, are you kidding us? Isn't that what has burned in you since Bush took away what was yours in 2000? Isn't that why you once preached against right wing intolerance but last year embraced it for an endorsement? Isn't that why you were against tortue, against drilling in ANWR, open to reforming laws on illegal aliens and have since gone 180 degrees on all of these stands??

    I would hope that when someone runs for President, he wants to be President and is not running just to get out of the house (like Fred Thompson). But, the "ambition" you deride is coming from you. The ads full of lies and deceptions prove that.

    September 22, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Cam

    For tony above regarding all the major news outlets being for Obama.

    Obviously this is a false statement, but if it were true, do you think it might be because Obama is the right choice and McCain is a bag of wind with an unqualified VP?

    September 22, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Zaley

    Biden puts it the way it is....refreshing!

    September 22, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Bulldog

    McCain and Palin are the biggest frauds in the world. They are accusing Obama and Biden lying about them when it's factually the exact opposite. McCain and Palin are now stooping so low they are lying about lying. Wow, now that's even worse than George Bush and Dick Cheney.

    September 22, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |

    My husband said in watching McCain tither and tather on stage,
    said, McCain is just TOO OLD!

    Obama Biden 2008

    September 22, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Dj

    McCain's judgement can me summed up in two words: Sarah Palin.

    September 22, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. David, Silver Spring, MD

    It's funny, if you look at Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, and Dick Cheney, the one that doesn't seem like the others is Joe Biden.

    Where Palin and Cheney are nasty, bitter, extreme, secretive, and paranoid, Biden is open, friendly, and straightforward.

    I'd rather live with the occasional Biden gaffe than the continuous mean-spirited cold, calculating evil of gun-toting Palin and Cheney.

    September 22, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Yolanda

    John McCain thinks way outside the further outside the, further out. He's completely out of touch with the common folk. .
    OBAMA is our only hope.

    September 22, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. Wayne

    John McCain's economic advisor said "THE U.S IS A NATION OF WHINERS"

    September 22, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Latinos For McCain!

    Latinos, Obama will not help you, he is simply using you to gain your votes!

    If Obama is elected, the Latino population will be shifted to the back burner as he strives to help his fellow African Americans.

    The Latino votes go to McCain!

    Don't believe in Obama and his "false hope!"

    September 22, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. FL4OB

    Obama/Biden want to WIN the right war on terror in Afghanistan and quit wasting valuable resources in the misguided debacle in Iraq.

    After the last eight years, I do not trust Republicans with our national security. Sorry!

    No way, no how, no McCain-Palin

    Eight is enough!

    September 22, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. Kate Fergus

    With all the problems that the country faces, it is unbelievable that any rational person would vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin. Cronyism, partisanship and lack of understanding of today's world are not what the country needs. McCain and Palin have both continuously lied and been caught lying. McCain has been part of the Washington establishment that has caused the most disastrous problems in the last 60+ years.

    We have enlisted and National Guard people who have sacrificed for their country and been left to struggle with their injuries both physical and emotional. Too many Vets have been left without the support they need when they return. In addition, too many families of these individuals are struggling to make ends meet while there loved ones are put in harms way. My God, these are the people who should be given all the support they need when they return and while they are away fighting. What the Republicans have done is shameful. They lied to go to war, equipped the troops poorly to fight, and left the families at home to struggle during their loved ones' absences.

    Obama and Biden can and will do better.

    September 22, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Jadie

    It looks like Ohio, Florida, Virginia and possibly Missouri will be deciding this election. It will be interesting to see if the people suffering in those states stick with what got them there or will they step in a new direction.


    September 22, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Go McCain!

    Joe, and exactly what percentage of the vote did you receive??

    September 22, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Derick from ATL

    I cant believe McCain will even dare to talk about someone else's ambition to be president.

    On page 373 of John McCain's 2002 memoir Worth the Fighting For, you'll find the following quote:
    "I didn't decide to run for President to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be President because it had become my ambition to be President. I was sixty-two years old when I made the decision and I thought it was my one shot at the prize."
    ^ a b McCain, John; Salter, Mark (2002). Worth the Fighting For. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50542-3. p. 373.
    Please please please don't vote for a man who only wants to win "the prize" of the presidency.

    September 22, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Alex

    The only tactic that worked in the past for the Republicans is creating fear and demonizing their opponents. They have successfully done it to Kerry. I hope this time the American public will separate fiction from facts and vote based on merit not the fear Republicans try to create.

    September 22, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. Gentry

    Rome fell in a day. If McCain is elected, the United States will fall Nov. 4, 2008.

    September 22, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Republicans Grasping at Straws.

    I love how every time a website, newspaper, or TV station has the nerve to actually try and hold the Republicans responsible for their campaign of lies and vagueness, they're branded "leftist", "socialist", or some other kind of biased, and yet Fox News is "centrist" because they will only say the things about the Democrats that the wackos want to hear.

    I guess if you believe in the truth, you're a lefty now. If you don't trust the government enough to give them complete, unchecked authority, you're a lefty.

    Give 'em hell, Joe.

    "No one party has a monopoly on virtue or good ideas." That one line is more truthful than anything Sarah Palin has said this entire campaign put together.

    September 22, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Lesley

    Excellent comments. Keep to the point of the National Guard and let Obama deliver his own speech on the economy. Too much info gets lost on the crowd. The only stooge in this race is Palin, a pretty puppet who is out of her league and only knows what the Republicans tell her to say, or not to say as in the case of Troopergate.

    September 22, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. Jennifer

    Go get 'em Joe!!

    September 22, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Country First

    John McCain was only thinking of himself, and maybe the party when he selected Ms. Palin – it was not a COUNTRY FIRST decision.

    September 22, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. Sandy - PA

    “No one party has a monopoly on virtue or good ideas,”

    That's apparently what McCain believes – he has outright stolen every one of Obamas ideas and slogans.

    September 22, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. David Goldman for OBAMA




    September 22, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. Lexie

    If you are losing your home think about McCain ane his 7.
    If you can't afford to fill your gas tank, think about McCain and his 13 cars.

    John McCain is out of touch with the real world.

    September 22, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. Independents For McCain

    Do not believe a word Biden says. He has been in Washington longer than any of the candidates and was forced to drop out of a presidential campaign because he was caught plagarizing a speech.

    Obama/Biden – Great Story Teller/Plagerist

    McCain/Palin – Battle tested Leader/Real Reform

    September 22, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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