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Joe Biden Talks About Abortion, Iraq, the Surge, Sarah Palin on Meet the Press Sept. 7, 2008

Biden Bumps Into Iraq, Abortion, and Palin on Meet the Press

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?


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UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I disagree on that interpretation jellybean. The "shall make no law respecting the extablishing the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" only means that the nation can not endorse any one nation as the religion of the nation, or deny a religious group from practicing their religion, as long as that practice doesn't conflict with any other laws. That doesn't mean there is a separation of church and state, but all religions are welcome in the government.
livvylove livvylove 8 years
Kas- hmm, I haven't heard that but I have heard she flip-flopped on it when it became a big national joke.
jellybean17 jellybean17 8 years
UnDAve 35, you're right. I should've reworded the part of the founding of America. Of course taxation without representation was a catalyst to the war, etc. however, I disagree with you about Separation of Church and State being different than religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson, during his presidency, first mentions this by saying that the government "'shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State..." Jefferson quote the first amendment, which the Supreme Court cites in their first trial involving this issue. Clearly, this was founded on the principle of allowing religious liberty, so both things do go hand in hand.
jenintx jenintx 8 years
I think Biden perfectly summed up the way a lot of pro-choice Christians feel about abortions (though my stance is slightly different...) As far as Palin and the earmarked money goes, I have heard that she kept the money given to them, even though they didn't build the bridge.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"First of all, America was founded because our fore fathers were escaping religious persecution from Britain. So, they decided that there would be a separation of church and state, " To be clear, the American colonies first came to this country for religious freedom, and broke away because of among other things, the heavy taxation without representation. They didn't set up a country that would include separation of church and state. They set up a nation that would allow any religious organization to be able to worship. Freedom of religion is not the same as separation of Church and state.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Can anybody prove that she flip flopped on the bridge to no where because it increased in price from $230 million to $400 million? Because if it did double in price, that's a good reason to change your mind. It was a rumor I heard and was just wondering about the validity.
livvylove livvylove 8 years
..and I would like to see just where all of palin's earmarks (10x more that Obama's per citizen) went to.
livvylove livvylove 8 years
So whichever hospital Michelle works for isn't allowed to receive any help? I would like to see what else those earmarks went to.
piper23 piper23 8 years
I understand the questions regarding the "bridge to nowhere" but at least the bridge wasn't to promote her own self interests. Obama requested a $1 million earmark for construction of a new wing at the hospital where his wife worked. The same hospital that promoted her and increased her salary from $121,910 in 2004 just before her husband was elected to $316,962 in 2005 just after he took office. So I feel pretty good about my candidates history with earmarks.
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
I agree with alot of his points
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i like that he's got his firm position on a lot of things - but the one thing that i don't get is his comments about Palin. she's been in the race for what - a week now? i'm sure that we'll hear a lot more about her policies on ALL the issues - just all in due time. when you start dating someone you don't jump in with your entire biography - and she's getting us comfortable with understanding her position on one thing at a time and to me, that lets me understand the candidate a lot more. on Biden's position on abortion - i don't even feel like he answered the question - he just talked about how he views things based on religion - i don't know. i think that there's a better place for the discussion and to bring in faith - it's just not my thing.
livvylove livvylove 8 years
I LOVE biden!!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
It's interesting that some of the same people who are criticizing Republicans for being anti-Obama rather than pro-McCain are so anti-Palin, rather than pro-Biden. :ponder: (And no one is "waiting" for Biden to make a gaffe. I'm sure in his 40 years in Washington many have been made already.)
jellybean17 jellybean17 8 years
First of all, America was founded because our fore fathers were escaping religious persecution from Britain. So, they decided that there would be a separation of church and state, essentially stating that the government lacks authority in the realm of individual conscience (which Biden is saying when referring to abortion rights). When you're teaching creationism in a public school setting, you're going against this political and legal doctrine that ensures that the government is to remain secular. If it's a private school not receiving government funding, then they can do what they please, but this should not be allowed in public schools. Also, creationism is not factual, which is the key component to being regarded as science. I'd love to hear Palin say anything about the war in Iraq or mention anything about foreign policy. Living in a state next to Russia does not count! She's never even been to Russia. If McCain thinks that Iraq borders Pakistan (laughable ignorance) or that Czechoslovakia is still a country (ha! my 12-year-old nephew knew that it's no longer a country) I'm scared to think what comes out of that woman's mouth. Out of all the intelligent and capable women out there, they have to pick a backwards anti-feminist.
stephley stephley 8 years
The Republicans are just waiting for a Biden quote that they can use against him, and it doesn't matter how out of context it is- these are people who are calling Palin a reformer and anti-pork with straight faces. Biden needs to be wise and just hand her head back to them on a platter after the first debate.
janneth janneth 8 years
Biden should have been soooooooooo much harder on Palin. He acted like a wimp, I was shocked. What is he waiting for. Spell it out, for goodness sakes!!
TellTheTruth2 TellTheTruth2 8 years
John McCain Scandals List Vicki Iseman New York Times: McCain Denies Aides’ Statements About Lobbyist (February 22, 2008) McCain denies inappropriate relationship with lobbyist (February 21, 2008) Times Online: John McCain Forced to Deny Romantic Link with Lobbyist (February 20, 2008) USA Today Blog: McCain Campaign Calls Drudge Report About Lobbyist Story a... (December 20, 2007) Drudge Report: McCain Pleads with NY Times to Spike Story (December 20, 2007) Lobbyist Favoritism CBS News: "McCain Boosted By Lobbyist Donors" (December 31, 2007) Washington Post: "McCain: Allegations That He Did Favors for Lobbyist Are Untrue" (December 21, 2007) Politico: "McCain Responds to Drudge" (December 20, 2007) Drudge Report: McCain Pleads with NY Times to Spike Story (December 20, 2007) Huffington Post: Exclusive: More Lobbyists On McCain Staff Than Any Other 08 Candidate (2007) Keating Five Mahalo's Guide to the Keating Five Wikipedia: Keating Five The Arizona Republic: "The Keating Five" (2007) Slate: "Is John McCain a Crook?" (2000) Controversy Over Religion The Washington Times: "Candidates Invite Questions About Their Faith" (2007) FOX News: "McCain Identifies Himself as a Baptist" (2007) Sacramento Bee: "McCain Called Out on Religion" (2007) Family Troubles New York Daily News: "Campaign Trail Will be Nothin' for Cindy" (2007) Common Dreams: "McCain's Double Standard: Hawk In The Drug War, Yet Wife Got No Penalty" (2000) Salon: "How Cindy McCain was Outed for Drug Addiction" (1999) Phoenix New Times: "Opiate for the Mrs." (1994)
HeatherStJoeMI HeatherStJoeMI 8 years
I agree with Jude C.
livvylove livvylove 8 years
I agree. I would assume that Jewish and Islamic taxpayers don't want their taxes going to teach any Christian based ideology in government run schools.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
I don't want to have any religion pushed on me or my (future) children. I grew up in a dual religious home and it was pure hell. I'm tired of people knocking on my door, tired of my dad sending religious propaganda on my birthday instead of a present or an I love you, tired of having this crap forced into my brain. Keep it separate!
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
One of the differences is that Christianity has been a religion that has been around more than 2,008 years while Scientology only began in the last half-century. Christianity was also one of the impetuses (sp?) for the founding of America. I think we should learn about many different religions, but I don't think Scientology or Wiccan (Wiccanism?) is on par with Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, etc. :)
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"Why stop at just Christian beliefs then.. should they also have pamphlets on aliens(Scientology and thetan theory), voodoo and wicken belief systems, etc?" I'm going to guess that it's because in the United States, other religions are just not considered institutionally valid the way Christianity is. Unfortunate, eh?
Imabeliever Imabeliever 8 years
Information available to those who ask? Why does that image strike me as funny? What smart ass kid sitting in science class is going to raise their hand and say "Can I please have a pamphlet or any materials you might have on Creationism?" LOL! I went to a private Christian school through Jr High and part of high school where they scoffed at scientific science class and in bible class. And I later attended a public high school and never once though gee why are they not teaching me about God and how the Earth was created in 7 days? It is easy to separate faith based beliefs and scientific beliefs. Why stop at just Christian beliefs then.. should they also have pamphlets on aliens(Scientology and thetan theory), voodoo and wicken belief systems, etc?
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
Oh - I'm sure the story will be about hockey, lipstick, how to put Vaseline on your teeth, blah -- a real human interest piece. But it's the beginning of more hard hitting interviews to come as she before more - ah - comfortable.
stephley stephley 8 years
Just fyi Kamiko- Brokaw led in to the question with comments about a bishop criticizing Senator Boxer about her comments on the Church's shifts on when life begins - and pressed the 'as a Catholic' bit. Otherwise, I think you're right.
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