Monday, September 22, 2008

Biden Criticizes His Own Campaign, Then Immediately Retracts the Statement

Today, Joe Biden proved that few other people can be Joe Biden. In an interview with Katie Couric, the discussion turned to what he thought about the tenor of the campaign. Specifically, he was asked about the Obama-approved ad that made fun of McCain's lack of ability to use email. (The ad backfired as it was already known that McCain had trouble typing do to injuries received while tortured as a POW and, despite that injury, was quite computer savvy.)

Couric: And you guys haven’t been completely guilt-free, making fun of John McCain’s inability to use a computer.

Biden: I thought that was terrible, by the way.

Couric: Why’d you do it then?

Biden: I didn’t know we did it, if I’d have known we did we’d have never done it, I don’t think Barack, you know, I just think that was, ah

Couric: Did Barack Obama approve that ad? He said he did, right?

Biden: Yeah, the answer is, I don’t, I don’t think anything was intentional about that, they were trying to make another point.
For a moment, I could actually see something to respect about Biden. He seemed genuinely honest--he thought the ad was silly, below the belt, and would have stopped it had he known about it. That's actually commendable.

Of course, it created a problem in that the ad ended with "I am Barack Obama and I approve of this message". Yet Biden just went on record saying ... well avoiding the question as to who approved the content of the ad. Which begged the question of course as to who is running the campaign--Obama and Biden or some group of advisers?

Damage control was needed and shortly thereafter, Biden released the following statement:
I was asked about an ad I’d never seen, reacting merely to press reports. As I said right then, I knew there was nothing intentionally personal in the criticism of Senator McCain’s views which look backwards not forwards and are out of touch with the new economic challenges we face today. Having now reviewed the ad, it is even more clear to me that given the disgraceful tenor of Senator McCain’s ads and their persistent falsehoods, his campaign is in no position to criticize, especially when they continue to distort Barack’s votes on an issue as personal as keeping kids safe from sexual predators.
What a crock of bullshit (excuse the expression). Suddenly he hadn't seen the ad? And now that he took the time to watch it, his argument is some non sequitur about new economic challenges and how McCain is sleazy in his ads too.

I'm not claiming that all of McCain's ads have been appropriate. If the campaigns weren't so heated, both sides would probably be better served by coming forward and apologizing for being overzealous. But Biden actually did stand up and, while he didn't apologize, at least admitted a suspect ad was inappropriate only to turn around and retract everything.

The above should be remembered as documented proof of what is wrong with politics. For a brief moment a politician was honest and did the right thing. That couldn't be allowed so an honest statement was retracted and replaced by a steaming pile of campaign propaganda. You were so close, Joe. How sad.

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