MSNBC Imus in the Morning - Transcript

By:  Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: Aug. 29, 2006

Senator Biden on MSNBC Imus in the Morning

Senator Biden: Good to see you this morning, Don.

IMUS: How are you?

Biden: I'm well, i'm well.

IMUS: You ever had a colonoscopy?

Biden: I do it regularly. My mother had colon cancer, and so they convinced all her churn that should be done regularly, so i do it now about, i guess, well i guess once a yeerp now. That's not true. It's been two years. It's been two years.

IMUS: Do you take the fleet stuff or do you drink the gallon of stuff?

Biden: Oh, God, i hate that stuff. I've done it both ways, and i don't like it either way.

IMUS: It's horrible.

Biden: The colonoscopy is nothing. It's drinking that stuff that's horrible.

IMUS: It's the prep.

Biden: I shouldn't be saying that. Trying to encourage people to do it, and here I'm telling you how horrible -- the colonoscopy is a piece of cake. It's the drinking part that's hell.

IMUS: I'm doing it today at noon.

Biden: Well, good luck, old buddy. I hope you're not drinking it now because you'll be in a bad mood.

IMUS: Well, I do the -- well, I do the fleet stuff. I'm glad you think it's so amusing in my distressed condition, Senator.

Biden: Well, it's not the warmest and fuzziest things to think about, you know what I mean?

IMUS: No, it's a good thing to do. I had one three years ago, and they said come back, so here i am. Anyways, so -- well, let's start with this terror detainees bill. What actually happened there?

Biden: Well, what actually happened, it looks to me like, first of all, I think there was a pretty darn good bill that john McCain and Warner and others have and Lindsey Graham have put together, but i think -- and I'm not in any way -- I think they did a pretty good job of changing some of the most odious parts of what the president wanted to do, which was not, you know, to define, to change an international treaty by one country changing it, and the second thing they wanted to do was leave open the possibility of the kinds of treatment that amounts to torture. Now, they say they wouldn't do it, but they wanted to leave it open. They didn't want to -- they didn't want it essentially outlawed. John did a pretty good job of making sure that was out, but then this so-called compromise they got at the end was not good enough for me. They took away a thing so-called habeas corpus, which is just saying that when a guy's in jail under our constitution, he's able to slip a paper through the bars and say, send this to the judge, have him look at it, and see whether I'm really supposed to be here. And they eliminate it habeas corpus, which I think is a gigantic mistake. I think it's going to be overruled by the Supreme Court. And the last thing we need is, you know, to be the fourth time the supreme court, if I'm right, the fourth time the supreme court says, look, the way you guys are treating detainees is unconstitutional. That gives, I think, the rest of the world and the terrorists in the world a propaganda tool that, you know, just to beat the devil out of us with. I ended up voting against it because of that, because they denied a financed mental, basic, constitutional right called habeas corpus. And again, all habeas corpus is it doesn't let anybody free. It just lets somebody who's sitting behind bars write a piece of paper on a piece of paper, look, check whether i should be here, slip it through the bars and give it to a federal judge. Well, they're not allowed to do that, and I think that's' big mistake.

IMUS: How did this all come up? Why did it come up now?

Biden: Look, I don't want to second guess -- I mean, look, let me tell what you people are saying. The only way this president is able to get everybody's eye off the ball on this abject failure in Iraq and the failure to listen to the military and basically the deep hole he's dug us in and his administration has dug us in economically and politically is to do the Karl Rove route, focus on terror, come up with something that you get democrats to vote against, and then say democrats, like (inaudible) said about it, democrats care more about terrorists than they do about Americans. And that gambit seemed to work for them in two previous elections, and i think it's the only thing they can play now, and that's what the administration is playing. Look, here we are going to hell in a hand basket and a whole bunch of things. We're not debating the war in Iraq. We're not debating what we're going to be doing about Iran. We're not debating on the floor of the United States senate what we're going to do about healthcare costs. We're not debating any of that stuff. We're debating whether or not we can use water boarding or not, water board, I'm exaggerating slightly, but that's the essence of the debate, in treating prisoners and who's tougher on, you know, on terror. I think it's a diversion.

IMUS: You know, I didn't know what water boarding was, and so I asked. Any time I don't know something, we're talking with senator Joe Biden, any time I ask something, I ask Charles, you know? I was hoping he wouldn't know, but he did.

Biden: You know, I have a staffer, a guy who's an expert on Islam, a professor up at Harvard, bright, young guy named Jonah Blank. He went to Cambodia on a recent fact-finding trip after he came out of Afghanistan. And there's a museum in Cambodia showing the torture chambers of Pol Pot and what he did. He brought me back photographs of waterboards. And here they use this water boarding as an example. What it looks like, it looks like a great, big box that is at an angle, and it has a bar at the top and a bar at the bottom, and they put the bar -- you put your feet under the bar at the top, and you hang down in this box, and they put a mask over your face, and then they take a become the of water, and they keep pouring it on your face, and you feel like you're drowning. And what happens is that they literally, in Cambodia, use this as a display of the ultimate cruelty that was exerted by Pol Pot. And here you got some guys in this outfit arguing it's ok to waterboard? You know, i mean, thank god for john McCain in saying, whoa, what are you guys talking about? So, you know, to tell you the truth, don, i didn't know what -- I thought waterboarding was -- i thought they actually physically put you under water. It's not. It's an actual piece of equate.

IMUS: I thought it was something John Kerry did on vacation. Anyway, 17 till the hour. Now we have senator Joe Biden. Are you still running for president? Are you going to run?

Biden: Yeah, I'm still out there giving it a shot. I'm still moving around the country. I spent a lot of time in those primary states. You know, I've never seen the electorate so serious, man, and I've been doing this a long time. It's not so much they're angry, it's not so much they're upset or frightened. They're just dead serious. They understand that we're in a bad place in the world right now, and we better -- and we seem to have no way of figuring out how we're going to move from here, and they understand that, at home, everything just seems to be stuck for middle class people. It's kind of like, i was trying to tell somebody how you think people feel. It's kind of like if we were billiard balls on top of a billiard table, someone's picked a table up, and they just tilted it an inch, and those -- it's hard to stay on that table, man. And that's exactly how most middle class people feel. They just don't know what's going to happen. It's not a panic. They just go out there and look and say, hey, man, nothing seems to be going particularly good here my healthcare costs, the cost of my education, my kid, my job security, and they don't get anything. I mean, there's no reassurance from this administration about an energy policy, about a healthcare policy, about anything. It's just -- I think they're just very serious. And they want to know some answers to some big questions.

IMUS: Got to be happy that gas prices are coming down.

Biden: Oh, they are. They are. But they're pretty smart. They also know that they look out there, and amazing. Look, I think the one thing both parties do is they really underestimate the native intelligence in the American people. They're pretty damn smart. They understand that there's a reason why China is not willing to help us with Iran, because they read about how China is getting all this gas and oil from Iran. They understand why they're not willing to help us in Darfur, because they may not know the number, but they know they owe, in effect, they own 40% of all the oil that Somalia is pumping. You know, people connect the dots. They are not stupid. They understand that we are still dependent on these countries, and there's no plan in sight, nothing, zero, to figure out how they're going to not be held hostage again.

IMUS: Can't be happy that home prices are going down, either, but happy about the gas prices, not happy about home prices.

Biden: Well, they look at their healthcare costs. They look at -- they go out there and they look at the cost of education through their kids to get to college. But most importantly, it's not -- it's a little beyond that. I can't quite explain it, but it's even bigger than that. It's just that they know the spot they're in, that it's not likely -- they're not likely to be a hell of a lot better off five years from now than they are today, and that's been sort of the essence of what middle class people have just intuitively known. It's going to get better tomorrow. It's just going to keep getting better. And they look out there, and they don't see, in my view, they don't see the path. And the path is there. I mean, we are in an incredibly, incredibly good place if we just had a government that was prepared to lead the way. I mean, you know, everyone tells me how people aren't ready to do this and that. Look, i watched those folks just like you did, stand in line for six, seven, eight hours after the towers came down to give blood. They were ready to do anything.

IMUS: Yeah, that's true.

Biden: They were ready to do anything.

IMUS: 14 With the hour. Talking with senator Joe Biden from Delaware. A new Bob Woodward out, "State of Denial," this doesn't make any sense to me -- I have to cough here -- bush ignored urgent warning on Iraq about insurgency, duh, and that they're not accurately what's going on there. Do we need a book from Bob Woodward to know that?

Biden: I hope to hell not. I hope he sells some books. I know he needs the help. But, look, you know, I mean, this is so self-evident to everybody. I mean, I've been on your show i don't know how many times over the last five years, and, you know, every time -- I've been there seven times. All you got to do is talk to anybody on the ground. I mean, they know there's no plan, they have no strategy, and now you continue to hear this malarkey, that well, you know, we're going to quell Baghdad. There's not a shot they're going to do that. They need a political solution. Unless you figure out how to give the Sunnis a piece of the action some of the oil and how to give the Shia the kind of autonomy you've given the Kurds and force the their militia and fighting with one another to see who dominates that area, unless you do those two things, among others, there's no possibility, none, zero.

IMUS: Now we have this classified intelligence leak that says Iraq war fuels terrorism.

Biden: I remember being on your show and you asking me -- there's no reason why you remember this, but I remember you asking me whether I thought this was a war on terror being fought in Baghdad. Remember this thing? You got to fight them in Baghdad or fight them in Boston. And i said two years ago, I've been saying it every single day with the intelligence community just said, that is absolutely the opposite, opposite, opposite thing that's happening. Because what's going on here is it's become a training ground. They're exporting; they're literally exporting jihadists from Iraq. They're learning how to fight. They only make up 2% of the fighting in there, 2% of the personnel in there. But guess what. As long as there's a full-blown civil war going on in there and as long as they have basically a free run, it's a training ground. And every single solitary mistake, and God knows we're going to make mistakes, every single solitary mistake that's made, this is portrayed around the Muslim world as a war on Islam and a war on an invasion by infidels of another country. I mean, none of this is working. It works exactly the opposite the way the president -- only thing true about what the president says today is what the report says. If we flat lose Iraq and these policies may cause us to lose, if we lose Iraq, they're going to be even more emboldened.

IMUS: Well, its right about that. Then the other revelation is Henry Kissinger is advising the president. My question is, he's got to be 100 years old. Well, I talked to Andy Rooney yesterday. He's pretty sharp. He's in his 80's. But I mean, what the hell would Kissinger be telling him?

Biden: Well, you know, I've actually keep in touch with Kissinger, and he's pretty darn sharp. I can't believe he's telling them what Rumsfeld is doing. I can't believe Kissinger is not telling him that he needs to get a political solution. I've been to a couple of conferences where they've had Kissinger and me and a few other folks speak to these, you know, foreign policy-type conferences, and the stuff Kissinger says in those conferences is not consistent with what the president is doing. I don't know what he's telling them personally, but, you know, I'm surprised that -- to hear him imply that had Kissinger is part of their strategy, which they have no strategy.

IMUS: If Senator Clinton decides to get in, how do you keep her from getting the nomination?

Biden: Well, I don't know. Look, she is a very powerful figure in the party. She's going to have a whole lot of money. I'm assuming she's going to get in. But I think that -- I'm hoping, if I'm wrong about what I'm about to say, then I'm done. I'm hoping the American people are just looking for the person who they think knows exactly what they think, has the experience and the track record to demonstrate they can deal with these big problems. If they're looking for someone with the most money or they're looking for someone who's geographically best located, etc., I'm not their guy. But I don't think I win or lose based upon her. I think I win or lose based upon whether I'm a good Biden or a bad Biden.

IMUS: I'd also like to point out, even though y'all abandoned my guy, Joe Lieberman in Connecticut --

Biden: no, no, no.

IMUS: He's up by 10 points.

Biden: Well, that's true, Don. That is true. I told Joe yesterday, I was talking with Joe about somebody wanted to help him out, and I was putting them in touch with him, and I said, I'm going on Imus tomorrow. He said, you're going to be in trouble.

IMUS: Well, you would have been in trouble, but if he's up by 10, if I can get Harold Ford in Tennessee, man, I am gold.

Biden: By the way, there is one of the best candidates I have ever, ever, ever campaigned for. He and my son were close friends and hung out together at University of Pennsylvania, so I've known Harold since he's been a kid with my son. He's a couple of years ahead of my son, and they're friends, and he is one hell of a guy.

IMUS: Oh, yeah. I mean, he's gold. All right, senator, thank you very much.

Biden: Thank you. Hey, good luck this afternoon, old buddy.