Associated Press - Biden: Push for Armored Vehicles Not Related to Presidential Bid
After touring a plant that produces aluminum plates used to protect Army vehicles, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday his visit had nothing to do with his run for the White House.
"I promise you the reason I am here, I am running for president, this doesn't have a damn thing to do with my running for president," Biden told workers at the Alcoa Davenport Works plan in Riverdale. "Every state I go to that makes any component or any part of these vehicles I try to go see and I'm going to be very blunt with you, because it gives me, it's a ridiculous thing, but it gives me some bit of authority when I stand up on the floor of the Senate."
Biden led the push to build bomb-resistant vehicles, which can stand up to roadside explosives far better than standard Humvees.
Wearing a yellow hard hat and safety goggles, Biden toured the plant and questioned workers about producing the plates used to build bomb-resistant vehicles for troops in Iraq. Biden said he's also visited two plants in South Carolina that build the vehicle bodies to learn more about the production process.
Meeting with reporters later, Biden said on trips to Iraq, he's seen how the armored vehicles are improving security.
"I am absolutely bound and determined to get as many of these vehicles on site, on the ground as rapidly as possible because I am that certain it is saving a life the moment it gets there," Biden said.
He said funding must be secured to avoid delays in building the armored vehicles and getting them to troops. He noted that Alcoa's $31.7 million contract to build the plates ends next summer.
Biden supports the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, but even then, he'd support getting 23,000 armored vehicles in Iraq by next year.
"It's not like people are going to be waving American flags and streaming rose petals in front of these Humvees as they leave. They're still going to be blowing them up," he said. "This is needed whether or not there is a declared end to the war tomorrow (and) we start to leave, because they're still going to have to get out, and getting out is not going to be easy."