Obama Campaign Tries to Soften Biden’s Warning -- About Obama
October 21, 2008 - 8:08 AMOn Sunday, Sen. Joe Biden warned that Barack Obama will be tested by an "international crisis" if he's elected president. By Tuesday, the Obama campaign was in damage control mode, sending out surrogates to explain what Biden meant.
By Tuesday, the Obama campaign was in damage-control mode, sending out surrogates to explain what Obama’s running mate really meant.
Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, appearing on Fox & Friends Tuesday, tried to minimize Biden’s latest blurt by invoking Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama:
“Well, look, I don’t think anybody in America will be surprised at the notion that the world is going to throw some tests at our next president,” Kaine said. “The next president, whoever it is, is going to face major challenges of national security.”
Kaine noted that Colin Powell, in endorsing Obama on Sunday, had commented on Obama’s “calm and steady judgment.”
What Biden said at a Seattle-area fundraiser on Sunday is raising eyebrows, however:
"Mark my words," Biden was quoted as saying. “It will be not six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember, I said it standing here, if you don't remember anything else I said: Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
Biden offered “at least four or five scenarios,” including those involving the Middle East, Pakistan-Afghanistan, and Russia.
"And he's gonna need help,” Biden said about Obama. “And the kind of help he's gonna need is…we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."
"Gird your loins," Biden told the crowd. "We're going to win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride.”
Biden, invoking his own foreign policy experience, said he wasn’t being “falsely humble.” He said said Obama “gets it,” but Biden also said he expects second-guessing as Obama’s presidential term progresses:
“But he’s gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us."
According ABC News, Biden spoke for about 15 minutes, then noticed who was standing in the back of the ballroom: "I probably shouldn't have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here," he joked.
“Sen. Biden was just stating the obvious, which is the world is going to throw some challenges at this nation and at the next president. We gotta have somebody who can deal with them,” Kaine said on Tuesday.
According to most opinion polls, Sen. John McCain trumps Obama when it comes to national security issues.
That makes it particularly surprising that Biden would raise an issue on his which boss is perceived as relatively inexperienced and weak raises – just two weeks before the election.
‘Obama won’t have the right response’
Sen. John McCain worked Biden’s comments into a speech in Belton, Missouri, on Monday:
“The next President won't have time to get used to the office,” McCain said. “We face many challenges here at home, and many enemies abroad in this dangerous world. Just last night, Senator Biden guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, we will have an international crisis to test America's new President. We don't want a President who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars,” McCain said.
“What is more troubling is that Senator Biden told their campaign donors that when that crisis hits, they would have to stand with them because it wouldn't be apparent Senator Obama would have the right response.
“Forget apparent. Senator Obama won't have the right response, and we know that because we've seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign. He opposed the surge strategy that is bringing us victory in Iraq and will bring us victory in Afghanistan. He said he would sit down unconditionally with the world's worst dictators. When Russia invaded Georgia, Sen. Obama said the invaded country should show restraint.”