Biden: Economic collapse kept McCain from the White House
April 27th, 2013
11:23 AM ET
10 years ago

Biden: Economic collapse kept McCain from the White House

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that if not for the economic collapse surrounding the 2008 presidential race, Sen. John McCain might have beat President Barack Obama.

"The truth of the matter is, Barack knows it, I know, had the economy not collapsed around your ears, John, in the middle of literally, as things were moving, I think you probably would have won," Biden said during the annual Sedona forum at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

"It would have been incredibly, incredibly, incredibly close. You inherited a really difficult time," Biden said to McCain, R-Arizona.

Before turning to the politics of presidential elections, the two former adversaries discussed gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings, the bombing at the Boston Marathon and expanding human rights. There was no mention of Syria despite recent evidence that the chemical weapon sarin has been used in the country on a small scale.

Responding to a question on whether background checks are necessary, Biden said public sentiment has changed on the issue of gun control despite the Senate's defeat last week of a bipartisan compromise on gun-buyer background checks. The final vote was 54 in favor to 46 opposed with four Republicans joining most Democrats in supporting the compromise. McCain voted for the background check measure, unlike most Republicans.

"For the first time ever, you have people who are for gun safety, for increasing background checks," Biden said. "Two out of three of them say it will be a major determining factor in how I vote. That's the political dynamic that has changed. So I think we're going to get this anyway. I think this will pass before the year is out, within this Congress."

McCain and Biden also touched on the bombing in Boston earlier this month and the investigation into the motives of the two suspects.

"The most difficult one to deal with is the one that is self-radicalized or marginally assisted who is not directed specific by anybody because all of the intelligence apparatus and all of the means by which we have to infiltrate or pick up the kind of signals we are able to pick up with our significant technological capability is rendered almost useless," Biden said, qualifying his remarks that more information is required in the ongoing investigation.

Earlier this week at a memorial service for one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing Biden said the brothers accused of the attack are "twisted, perverted, cowardly knock-off jihadis" who failed to instill fear in the American people.

The Sedona Forum bills itself as a "high-level conclave" of leaders from the private and public sectors who discuss national security, foreign policy, human rights and economic policies.

Other participants in the forum this year included GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, Wal-mart President and CEO Bill Simon, former NBA star and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo and former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril.

Senators who were slated to attend include Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; and retired Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

–CNN's Ashley Killough, Paul Steinhauser and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Joe Biden • John McCain
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. jpmichigan

    Let us not forget the misrepresentation of Obama and the election cheaters that only now are coming out of the closet. Same goes for the election in 2012.

    April 27, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Sam

    O now these two r best buddies i cant wait to these two r gone theyre the worst of the worst

    April 27, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Ian

    Jeez, the guy shows a little graciousness, and people are outraged. No wonder politics is so screwed up.

    April 27, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. apetra

    Catch 22 of rational expectations. The markets rationally responded to the impending election of a far left progressive, long before the actual election, converting a mild downturn under Bush into a generation defining Great Recession under Obama. That's how markets work, they react looking forward months or years. With such a candidate, Republicans would have won and averted most of the economic damage had they nominated a stronger candidate with a tough, conservative plan instead of the Bush/Obama high spending + bailouts approach, where Obama is exactly like Bush (OK, worse, as he bailed out Big Auto and Big Union and Big Pharma too).

    April 27, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Peace

    And you couldn' t become VP, Biden. I always hate your loose mouth!

    April 27, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Larry L


    Let us not forget the misrepresentation of Obama and the election cheaters that only now are coming out of the closet. Same goes for the election in 2012.
    Huh? Is this some new conspiracy theory? By election "cheaters" do you mean the extensive Republican gerrymandering and the efforts the GOP has widely used to suppress voter turnout? By "misrepresentation of Obama" do you mean the birthers and those trying to portray him as a Muslim from Kenya? Otherwise I have no idea what you might be talking about. I believe McCain and Romney lost because they had weak candidates and absolutely no platform except being "against" everything. Silly Sarah and Lyin' Ryan certainly didn't help their respective candidates.

    April 27, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Country First

    It was not the economy. It was McCain's selection of Sarah Palin that scared us.

    April 27, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    After picking roughly the female equivalent of Dan Qualye for his VP nominee, I doubt it....

    April 27, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. batjones

    I think the Vice President's analysis is accurate. The economic downturn exposed how unprepared Senator McCain was for the full breadth and scope of the Presidency. The job is not just managing global military power, but also global economic power, global technological power, global social power and global ethical power.

    April 27, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Background check vote: "54 in favor to 46 opposed "

    Why did this not pass, especially given a majority of Americans want it?

    Why does the GOP thwart the will of the American people?

    Anyone voting Repub in 2014 is a fool!

    April 27, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    @jpmichigan: President Obama won – in SPITE of all the GOP's efforts at voter suppression.


    April 27, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Yes it did.........because Obama was bashing Bush every minute of his campaign, and he painted McCain as just another Bush........which was worlds from the truth of course.

    April 27, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    McCain lost because he sold he soul to Karl Rove.

    McCain lost because he said the fundamentals of the economy were strong, when it was obvious they weren't.

    MCain lost because he supported all the failed GOP policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

    But mostly McCain lost because he said on Don Imus (October 22, 200*) about the Quitta from Wasilla, "I think she's most qualified of any that has run recently for vice president, tell you the truth."

    April 27, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. The Elephant in the Room

    The Vice President was being kind to a known sore loser, hothead, war monger by telling him this. The women of America were not going to let the bubblehead Palin be the 1st woman elected to national office.

    Two if Biden is carrect, we all got extremely lucky.

    Finally on this front Joe is right, if thing hadn`t been so JACKED UP [the wars, our foriegn policy, the long term economic fundamentals, America would have never given the job to the black guy. Only when things seem HOPELESS will this nation put the woman or minority in the leadership slot. Thankfully Barack may have fixed that hangup for American society.

    April 27, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Concerned citizen

    JP, you are talking about GOP, right!

    April 27, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Sam, I agree. The moment Sarah Palin and John McCain (to a lesser degree) bight the dust, America will celebrate. The GOP is a joke these days.

    April 27, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Getoverit

    And let's not forget the MSM's blatant torpedoing of McCain's campaign.

    April 27, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. g

    palin killed mccian

    April 27, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Why, because you can't stand the thought of Republicans and Democrats getting along. How else do you expect anything to get done in our government?

    April 27, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    As soon as he selected Failin Palin he was doomed.

    April 27, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |