Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden made his 42nd appearance yesterday on Meet the Press. Tom Brokaw asked him some tough questions, often reciting previous Biden statements from many years past. Here's a rundown on how Biden met questions about the surge, abortion, religion, and the latest addition to the race, Sarah Palin.
- On Sunni/Shia cooperation in Anbar:
It's still — it's a big problem, Tom. . . . We're paying 300 bucks a month to each of those guys. Now the problem has been and the promise was made by Maliki that they (Shia) would be integrated into the overall military. That's a process that is beginning in fits and starts now, but it's far from over.
- On a timed withdrawal of American troops:
Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We're in a new deal. What is the administration doing? They're doing what Barack Obama has suggested over 14 months ago, turn responsibility over and draw down our troops. . . . The only guy in America out of step is John McCain. John McCain's saying no timeline.
- On Iraq, the surge, and political reconciliation:
The surge helped make that (reduction in sectarian violence) possible. What made it possible in Anbar province is they did what I'd suggested two and a half years ago: gave local control. They turned over and they said to the Sunnis in Anbar province, "We promise you, don't worry, you're not going to have any Shia in here. There's going to be no national forces in here. We're going to train your forces to help you fight al-Qaeda." . . . What you had was the awakening. The awakening was not an awakening by us, it was an awakening of the Sunnis in Anbar province willing to fight.
To see what Biden had to say about his view on abortion as a Catholic, and for his view on Republican counterpart Sarah Palin,
- On abortion:
It is a personal and private issue. For me as a Roman Catholic I'm prepared to accept the teaching of my church. But let me tell you, there are a lot of people of great confessional faiths, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others, who have a different view. They believe in God as strongly as I do. They're intently as religious as I am religious. They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views. I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception, but that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally, maybe even more devout than I am, seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society. . . . What I've voted against is curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I've voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view, that it's at moment of conception.
- Would he debate her any differently because she's a woman?
There's a lot of very tough, smart women in the United States Senate I debate every day. It's not new.
- On Palin's policies:
I have no idea what her policies are. I assume they're the same as John's. I just don't know. . . . She didn't mention a word about health care, a word about the environment, a word about the middle class. They never parted her lips . . . so I don't know where she is on those things.
Are you eager to see Sarah Palin enter and defend her positions on the TV program of record?