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Charlotte Observer - Biden Says He Can Sway GOP Voters

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Location: Rock Hill

Charlotte Observer - Biden Says He Can Sway GOP Voters

Democratic candidate in York County, says race still `wide open'


ROCK HILL -- U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, who last week won bipartisan support for a resolution on Iraq, said Monday he stands the best chance of any Democrat to win independent and Republican votes for president.

Speaking to York County Democrats at their party headquarters, the Delaware senator called the race "wide open" despite polls showing him with single-digit support in South Carolina and other early-contest states.

"As people begin to make up their minds," he said, "I predict to you ... there's going to be a lot of second and third thoughts about who's going to help the party in the state the most, who's going to be able to win the general election and who's going to build confidence in independents out there that it's time to be with the Democrats."

Biden, 64, predicted he could carry up to a half-dozen so-called red states that have recently gone to Republicans.

"Electability is going to become a major, major factor at the end of the day," he said, "when folks in South Carolina and Iowa go to the polls and caucuses to cast their vote."

Responding to questions, Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also talked about last week's vote on Iraq. By a bipartisan 75-23 vote, the Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Biden and Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback calling for a federalist system in the country, with semiautonomous regions.

Though Biden said he envisions multiethnic regions, many people saw the vote as supporting the partition of Iraq into areas controlled by Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said such a split would be a "catastrophe."

According to Biden, Iraqi leaders said the United States had no right to make such a proposal.

"We have a right," Biden said Monday. "Thirty-eight hundred dead, 27,000 wounded, billions of dollars. ... The idea that al-Maliki questions whether we have a right to express our opinion, he better get it right real quick."

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