Entries in Joe Biden (14)


Biden: America’s 'Not Bluffing' on Iran

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tough talk from Vice President Joe Biden Monday, warning that the U.S. is determined to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“Big nations can’t bluff,” said Biden at a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a group that lobbies in favor of Israel. “Presidents of the United States cannot bluff. And President Barack Obama is not bluffing.”

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanhayu, has repeatedly called for the international community, and the United States, to keep Iran from crossing the “red line,” enriching enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon.

The Obama administration has employed a “dual track” strategy on Iran, continuing diplomatic negotiations while imposing harsh sanctions on the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Biden told AIPAC that Iran has a limited time for negotiations.

“We’re not looking for war. We’re looking to and ready to negotiate peacefully, but all options, including military options, are on the table,” he said to a cheering crowd.

In his 40-minute speech he also said the Obama administration’s support of Israel is the strongest in the country’s history.  Biden spoke of how the United States supports the Jewish state militarily, citing the success of the Iron Dome program used in last year’s conflict with Gaza, and other missile defense and radar projects currently in progress.

Biden also said America stands up for Israel diplomatically across the globe. He told the crowd that President Obama makes it clear to all other allies that U.S. support for Israel is, and always will be, unwavering.

“There is only one nation, only one nation in the world that has unequivocally, without hesitation and consistently confronted the efforts to delegitimize Israel. At every point in our administration, at every juncture, we’ve stood up on the legitimacy -- on behalf of legitimacy of the state of Israel,” said Biden.

Wherever Obama goes in the world, said Biden, “he makes clear that although we want better relations with Muslim-majority countries, Israel’s legitimacy and our support for it is not a matter of debate…It’s simple, and he means it.  Do not raise it with us. It is not negotiable.”

Biden joked about his envy at President Obama’s trip to Israel later this month.

“I’m a little jealous that he gets to be the one to say ‘this year in Jerusalem,' said Biden, drawing laughter and cheers. "But I’m the vice president. I’m not the president,” he shrugged, smiling.

“So when I told him that.  I’m not sure he thought I was serious or not.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden Defends Obama on Protecting Israel, Blames Bush on Iran

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Biden on Tuesday told a convention of conservative rabbis that “no president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s physical security than Barack Obama.”

The vice president shared some of his private reassurances to the Israeli Defense Minister about taking military action against Iran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons, predicted the president of Iran would be removed from power by 2014, and asserted that President George W. Bush damaged the ability of the U.S. government to implement a strong set of international sanctions against Iran.

“We were the problem,” the vice president said of reluctance by the international community to support sanctions against Iran during the Bush administration. “We were neither fully respected by our friends nor feared by our opponents,” the vice president said.

Biden said that his late first wife “used to say the greatest gift God gave mankind was the ability to forget. …But when we took office, let me remind you, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem.”

The vice president explained: “We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe. The international pressure on Iran was stuck in neutral. As a matter of fact, Iran‘s influence in the previous six years was growing in the region. Not diminishing, growing in the region. The relationship with Syria was obvious. The use of a staging point for Hezbollah and Hamas was clear. The rest of the region was basically stiff-arming the US and saying, ‘You need to be engaged more in missile defense. You need to be engaged more in…’ And we were being criticized in European capitals for being unilateral. …And Tehran had allies. They were intimidating their neighbors, and America’s leadership was in doubt. We were neither fully respected by our friends nor feared by our opponents. Today it is starkly, starkly different.”

Vice President Biden talked about a possible Israeli military strike against Iran, to take out any nuclear weapons. “We will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon by whatever means we need, period,” the vice president said, pausing dramatically. “Period,” he repeated.

He recalled a private one-on-one conversation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, saying, “I made it clear to him, and I want to make it clear to all of you unambiguously. I told him then…'Were I an Israeli, were I a Jew, I would not contract out my security to anybody, even a loyal, loyal, loyal friend like the U.S.’ I made it clear that the President and me -- for our administration -- that if Israel reached the conclusion based on the facts as they can best determine them that Iran was on the verge of eliminating their ability to respond physically to set that program back two to five years, I understood.”

He continued: “We were not telling him or Israel what they could or could not do, because again, I told him I would not contract out my nation’s security, and clearly, clearly no Jewish state should ever assume that history’s changed so fundamentally that they would do that.”

That said, the U.S. and Israeli government’s share “the same assessment that Iran does not have that capacity, and that it is some distance away, and that we need to be exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program and sharing information…The bottom line is Ehud and I agreed that there remains space for diplomacy,” he said.

The vice president said that internally in Iran, there is great “palpable” dissension between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “They will not both be around two years from now, and my bet is Ahmadinejad is gone,” Biden predicted.

“I’ll forgive you if you think I’m just obviously prejudiced about the guy I work with, "the vice president said, “but you don’t have to take my word for this. Bibi Netanyahu has rightly said that our security cooperation with Israel, as he refers to it, is unprecedented, and as importantly these efforts have not gone unnoticed by our Israeli opponents, which brings me to Iran.”

Describing efforts to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the vice president said, “to state the obvious, these actions have not been taken without cost, and quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what frustrates me is that some who have asserted, particularly some of my friends in the Jewish community, strong supporters of mine, have asserted that we’re not fully committed to the preservation and security of the state of Israel.”

Romney campaign policy director Lanhee Chen “All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden’s reckless statement today blaming America for – of all things – the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low. The problem is not America.  It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons. President Obama’s naïve approach to Iran has given the regime valuable time to get closer than ever before to a nuclear weapons capability. Vice President Biden’s comments are wrong and completely inappropriate. Mitt Romney will stand up for America and our allies, and he will not apologize for America’s leadership role in the world.”

The vice president began his remarks by asking for a moment of silence “to honor the passing of Benzion Netanyahu, a historian, an activist, a steadfast defender of the state of Israel, and of course the father of Bibi, a friend for mine for the last 40 years.” He recalled the beginning of the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008 when he told voters in South Florida that he would never be No. 2 to a “president that did not share my view on Israel, which begins in your gut, works through your heart, and then gets to your head.”

Biden spoke about how his father was befuddled as to why in World War II the U.S. didn’t bomb the train tracks on the way to concentration camps, he recalled sitting with then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir as she chain-smoked and flip maps while talking about the Six Day War, he talked about how President Obama had fought the “insidious” efforts to question the legitimacy of Israel

Quipped the vice president, “no one’s ever doubted I mean what I say. The problem is I sometimes say all that I mean.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Rebuffs Romney on Iran Foreign Policy

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Vice President Joe Biden channeled Teddy Roosevelt Thursday in an attempt to debunk Mitt Romney’s claim that the administration is not credible when discussing a “military option” toward Iran.

During a campaign speech on foreign policy at New York University, Biden said President Obama was following a “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach.

“I promise you,” Biden said, “the president has a big stick. I promise you.”

The comment drew laughter from the crowd of 500, mostly college students.

“President Obama understands what Gov. Romney apparently doesn’t:  It is possible -- it’s indeed necessary -- for America to be strong and smart -- and smart -- at the same time,” Biden said.

The presumptive GOP nominee has called for a more aggressive stance toward Iran, which is accused of pursuing nuclear weapon capabilities in defiance of international mandates.

“I think it’s fair to say -- the only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran.  If that’s what Governor Romney means by a very different policy, he should tell the American people,” Biden said. “He should say so.  Otherwise, the governor’s tough talk about military action is just that -- talk.  And, I would add, counterproductive talk.”

Romney adviser Dan Senor told reporters before Biden’s speech that the former governor was “not suggesting the military option should be used” against Iran. “We are simply saying the threat needs to be credible for the Iranians to take us seriously,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Visits Earthquake-Ravaged Japan, Offers Condolences

The White House/Pete Souza(SENDAI, Japan) -- Vice President Joe Biden traveled to earthquake  and tsunami-ravaged Northeastern Japan Tuesday, where he offered condolences for the lives lost in the March tragedy, and praise for the resiliency of the Japanese people.

“My dear mother, an old Irish lady, used to say in the most difficult moments -- including when I lost my wife and daughter -- she said, ‘Joey, out of everything terrible, something good will come if you look hard enough for it,’" Biden told a crowd of Japanese families, business leaders and local government and military officials in remarks at Sendai Airport.

"It’s hard to look for it.  It’s hard to accept that.  But it’s true,” he said.  "And the DNA of the Japanese people is riddled with the notion that it’s true."

The airport, closed in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, quickly reopened with help from the U.S. military which cleared the runway, allowing relief flights to deliver more than two million tons of supplies.  In April, the airport reopened to commercial flights.

“Within hours, our military launched what we refer to in English as ‘Operation Friend’ -- the single largest humanitarian relief effort in American history,” Biden said.  “And it was done without having to convince the American people of anything.  It was spontaneous.  It’s because of the affection for the people of Japan.  That's the building block upon which this partnership and alliance of ours is built.”

Biden said U.S. assistance to Japan in the wake of the disaster would continue indefinitely because of mutual economic and security interests, and a longstanding history of friendship between the two nations.  He said there was little that could break those ties.

“There are some around the world who are betting on the decline of America and the inability of Japan to rise again.  They are making a very bad bet,” Biden said.  “Both of us -- both of us will continue to grow and prosper.  And together -- together we are a significant part of the engine that will allow the world to recover."

Biden is in Japan on the last stop of his week-long, three country swing through East Asia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Greeted in Mongolia, Gifted with Horse

GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images(ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia) -- Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Monday where his hosts celebrated the first visit by a U.S. vice president since 1944 with performances of traditional music and dance, a Mongol-style wrestling competition and a gift: a Mongolian horse.

"The horse is the most important animal in Mongolia,” an aide traveling with Biden told reporters.  “It is the lifeblood of the country (nomadic history), so giving a horse is one of the most meaningful gifts that can be given."

During the presentation ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Addleton placed a blue ribbon around the horse’s neck, and Biden tied two knots in it -- a symbolic display meant to signal importance.  Biden said that he named the horse “Celtic.”

But the horse apparently did not respond in kind.

Press pool accounts of the moment said the horse “got a bit excited” by Biden’s gesture and had to be taken away.  Aides said it would not be returning to the U.S. on Air Force 2.

When asked later to explain what happened, Biden said the animal "reared up" on him and concluded that it must not have liked "the Irish epitaph."

After the ceremony, Biden posed for photos with two Mongolian camels and tried his hand at archery.  He later departed for Tokyo, Japan -- the last stop on his week-long swing through East Asia. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Tells Chinese Students of His Troubles with Stuttering

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(CHENGDU, China) -- Vice President Joe Biden was praised as an "accomplished public speaker" by Chinese university students on Sunday during a Q&A session in Chengdu, China.

In response, Biden told the audience his ability to communicate clearly and sincerely hasn't been without challenges, likening his personal journey to that of Britain's King George III, whose struggle to overcome a stutter was recently profiled in The King's Speech.

"But for the royal blood and the money, that could have been me," Biden said of the monarch.

"I was a serious stutterer when I was in school as a child, as a high school student, and even into college," he said.  "And I practiced very, very hard by myself, standing in front of a mirror, trying to enunciate without contorting my face."

Biden discussed speech impediments and the stigmas they carry as examples of communication barriers that can exist between political leaders and peoples, sometimes creating unintended conflict.

"The thing that I’m most embarrassed about in my career of 38 years of having an opportunity to literally meet every major world leader in the last 38 years ... is -- and in the back of my head, I’m embarrassed in front of you -- I’m embarrassed I can’t speak to you in Chinese," Biden confessed to his audience.

"I would -- seriously -- I would rather be able to honor you and show my respect for you by speaking your language, as you honor me by speaking mine," he said.

Biden said Chinese and American students who are studying to become bilingual will help bridge the language gap between the two countries and build continued goodwill.

"I have great faith in all of you," Biden told the young crowd.  "The fact there’s a hundred thousand students here at this great university, the fact that there are millions of Chinese at universities throughout this country; the fact that there’s 130,000 Chinese nationals ... going to American universities is the stuff which gives me faith."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vice President Biden Bonds with Chinese Counterpart

ABC News(BEIJING) -- Vice President Joe Biden was formally welcomed to China Thursday morning by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in an elaborate ceremony at the Great Hall of the People.

Biden is on a week-long mission to East Asia that includes four days in China, where the administration says he will invest in the future of Sino-American relations by trying to get to know Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping better.  Xi is expected to become China’s next leader.

In opening remarks, both Xi and Biden recognized the increasing interdependence between the two countries, as well as their common challenges -- the economy in particular.  They both stressed that cooperation was imperative; that's pretty much a given considering how much U.S. debt China owns, and how many products from China are imported into the States.

The two men will be spending a lot of time together during Biden’s China visit, which was described as a unique opportunity to “regularize and personalize” a relationship with the future Chinese leader.

In a background briefing, senior administration officials described Thursday's meetings as “candid”  but readng through the diplomatic speak could mean "heated" or "argumentative."

They described the two men as having a genuine back and forth, talking about a huge range of issues, from security issues like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan to the economy.  The American official found it "frankly unusual for leaders to engage so deeply on such a broad spectrum."  They engaged so deeply that the smaller, closed press meeting between Biden and Xi ran 45 minutes into "overtime."

The senior administration officials said that in stark contrast to what is being said in the Chinese media about the U.S.’s economic prospects, Xi and his delegation are actually bullish on the U.S. economy, especially after the debt deal that the officials said that Biden was instrumental in ushering through.

As for Xi himself, the officials found him to be a “cool,” “deliberate,” ”confident,” and “extremely engaged” leader, who was “clearly relishing the opportunity to sit down with a global peer.”

On Friday, Biden will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Biden Catches Georgetown Hoyas Basketball Game in China

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- Vice President Joe Biden, fresh off a 21-hour flight to Beijing, made a surprise visit Wednesday to a Chinese gymnasium to cheer on the Georgetown University men’s basketball team in an exhibition match with the Shanxi Brave Dragons.

An animated Biden sat in the front row behind the American bench, according to press pool reports, where he was joined by new U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and Georgetown University President Jack DeGoia.

Biden told reporters many Hoyas had asked him to attend the “friendship match” given the coincidental convergence of their schedules.  

The vice president is starting a week-long, three country swing through East Asia, just as the Georgetown team begins its 10-day cultural and athletic tour of China.

Biden stayed through the first half of the game, leaving for the hotel with the Hoyas up by double-digits over their opponents, but facing a resurgent challenge from the Chinese team.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Treasury Department: More US Bonds for China

Getty/George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- A day before Vice President Biden arrives in Beijing, new data from the U.S. Treasury Department shows that in June, despite the prolonged debate over the debt ceiling, China bought another $5.7 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds. Beijing now has more than $1.17 trillion in holdings.

Japan, on the other hand, cut its holdings in June by $1.4 billion to $911 billion, while Hong Kong, which is counted apart from China, also reduced its holdings by $3.5 billion to $118.4 billion in June.  

This, however, was before S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating earlier this month, a move that has many Chinese analysts concerned and urging China to diversify its holdings.

So one of Biden’s main goals in this week's Asia trip, besides getting to know future Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, is to convince the Chinese that the U.S. remains a safe bet. Biden is expected to arrive Wednesday evening Beijing time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


VP Biden Embarks on Mission to China, Mongolia and Japan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden embarks Tuesday on a week-long trip to East Asia, where he’ll spend more than half his time developing a rapport with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jingping.  

The visit, billed by officials as a chance to “get to know China’s future leadership,” signals a new stage in the Obama administration’s effort to expand U.S. influence in the region and build on progress made during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit in January.

“Simply put, we’re investing in the future of the U.S.-China relationship,” said Biden national security advisor Antony Blinken on a conference call with reporters Monday.   

Biden’s four days of meetings and photo-ops in the Chinese capitol Beijing, and a first-ever visit by a U.S. official to Chengdu, will likely be overshadowed by the U.S.-China financial relationship.

China, the largest foreign holder of American debt, recently lashed out at the U.S. “addiction to debts” following S&P’s downgrade of the nation’s credit score, and exhorted American leaders to “address [the country’s] structural debt problems.”

“The Vice President will be in a good position to talk about the very strong deficit reduction package that we concluded here recently,” said Treasury Department Undersecretary Lael Brainard of the bipartisan agreement to curb spending by $900 billion over the next decade, with an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts expected later this year.

“Obviously, the U.S. has the capacity, the will, and the commitment to tackle our major fiscal and economic challenges,” she added.   

Officials say Biden will also push the Chinese to address “challenges” of their own, including the need for greater protection of intellectual property rights and ending Chinese currency manipulation -- both which have reportedly hampered American firms.    

Administration officials said they expected the vice presidents to discuss regional security issues, including North Korea and Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, the status of Taiwan and Tibet, and human rights.

Biden will spend one day in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which the administration has praised for taking an “activist approach to strengthening democratic principles” in the region. Mongolia has also contributed troops to the international coalitions fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The vice president will spend the last two days of his trip visiting the close U.S. ally of Japan, where he is expected to meet with Prime Minister Kan and tour the northeastern city of Sendai, which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio