Biden shares thoughts on campaign at forum

Tim Miller

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., attended a question-and-answer forum Friday morning at the Iowa State Historical Building in Des Moines.

Approximately 250 people showed up to hear what Biden had to say about several issues, namely the war in Iraq.

The first question Biden answered was about the bill passed Thursday that would pull most troops out of Iraq by 2008. Biden said he supported the bill and hoped Congress could get a two-thirds majority to override a possible veto.

He said there isn’t much support for the president’s point of view on Iraq in the Senate.

“I don’t believe that there are 12 senators that agree with the president,” Biden said.

Biden said he completely supports leaving Iraq.

“We have to get out, period,” he said.

He talked about his own plan for leaving Iraq. Some of the points were to get Iraq to police itself, give Shiites autonomy and Sunnis a stake in the oil.

“I refuse to keep another soldier in harm’s way just to keep the situation from getting worse,” Biden said.

He said he could have handled the war better than the current administration.

“I could have ended the war three years ago,” Biden said.

Biden said America is no safer now from al-Qaida than it was after Sept. 11, 2001.

“We are creating more terrorists than we are destroying,” Biden said.

The national intelligence community has estimated that al-Qaida is stronger than ever, Biden said. He said the current administration has been irresponsible with this information. The idea that the Republican Party has a credible argument on national security is laughable, he said.

After questions about the war, Biden addressed concerns about being a fringe candidate. He said he even though he has a fraction of the money other Democratic candidates have, he still thinks he has a chance to win. He said he is outraged about the amount of money it takes to win the Democratic nomination.

“It’s obscene that you can’t compete in a Democratic primary if you do not raise $100 billion,” Biden said.

Ideas are worth more than money, Biden said.

Biden said he was calling on the primaries in Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire for support.

Biden answered one question about health care and social security.

Biden said he was a strong believer of national health care and keeping social security the way it is.

There were some issues Biden would not compromise on, he said. These were global warming, education, national health insurance and foreign policy.

“If I lose, I will lose on my own terms,” Biden said.

Suzanne Holden, of Des Moines, said she was pleased with what Biden said.

She said she thought his foreign policy opinions were well-versed and was happy to hear he supported national health care, although she said she would have preferred more depth on the topic.

“I thought it was very informative,” Holden said.