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Public Statements

BIDEN to White House: 'Here's What I Disagree With'

Statement

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


BIDEN to White House: 'Here's What I Disagree With'

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) answered the question today posed to him by White House Counselor Ed Gillespie: "What words do you disagree with in those comments [delivered by President Bush] in the Knesset":

Sen. Biden said:

"Here's what I disagree with - this White House long ago perfected the art of the political misrepresentation and innuendo masquerading as policy and stringing together sentences that seem unobjectionable when read in isolation, but send a very different message when read together. What is stunning is that this is the only president I can think of - and I've served with seven of them - who would engage in this kind of activity while overseas in the Knesset, even as he revealed a totally incoherent policy.

"In the space of three paragraphs, the President cited the outrageous statements of Iran's leader; said "some" believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals; and drew a parallel to "an American senator" in 1939 declaring that talking to Hitler might have prevented World War II and the Holocaust. Then, his staff told the press on background that the remarks were a reference to calls by Senator Obama and other Democrats to engage with Iran, only to later say on the record the President intended no such thing. Karl Rove would be proud.

"As to the incoherence, to say that those who would negotiate with these terrorists and radicals are peddling "the false comfort of appeasement" is one of the most extraordinary self-indictments by any administration in history. As recently as the day before the President made his remarks, his own Secretary of Defense called for engaging Iran. His Secretary of State has done so repeatedly. And the President himself struck a deal with Libya's Qadafi and wrote polite letters to North Korea's Kim Jong Il, who would make most people's top ten lists of "terrorists and radicals."

"The President was right to engage Libya and North Korea, just as his cabinet officials are right to want to engage Iran. That's the best way to get them to change their conduct. The President was profoundly wrong to launch a political attack from abroad. That's beneath the office of the Presidency. Ed Gillespie should stop playing the American people for fools."


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