Sen. Joe Biden said today that, if he had been president in 2002, he still would have asked Congress to give him the authority to use force in Iraq.
"I would have asked for the authority, but I would not have used it," the Delaware Democrat told a packed house at the National Press Club gathered for the release of his book, "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics."
Mr. Biden had tough words for his Democratic rivals in the presidential race, saying if any of them think they can win without "unimpeachable credentials on national security and terror, they are making a tragic, tragic mistake."
The luncheon touched on other serious topics such as health care, but included some lighter moments. It was his seventh Press Club appearance, and as he read excerpts from his book, some in the audience wiped away tears.
He also got warm applause for bringing along his mom Jean, wife Jill, sister Valerie and sons Beau and Hunter. Mr. Biden at first couldn't remember why he is the only major Democratic 2008 contender who will skip the YearlyKos Convention.
Asked why he is not attending the liberal gathering to address thousands of active Democratic voters, Mr. Biden responded: "To tell you the truth, I thought I was." As the audience chuckled, he went on to say it must have been a schedule mix up, and certainly not reluctance to attend.
"They are a major part of the Democratic Party, they are not the Democratic Party. ... They warrant being listened to," he said. Then a light bulb went on above his head, and he remembered that he had planned a major book event in his home state, and exclaimed: "Love you, Kos, but you ain't Delaware!"
Voters will see plenty of Mr. Biden on his whrlwind book tour. He's been doing the rounds on news shows and the comedy circuit, hitting David Letterman earlier this week and planning a sit-down on "The Daily Show" next week. And if that's not enough, he plans to spend nearly half of August in Iowa.