Biden Defends Iran Stance: 'We Were The Problem'

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

Atlanta (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden spoke out forcefully against the Iranian government Tuesday at the Rabbinical Assembly Convention meeting, saying actions taken by the Obama White House were preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But the Romney campaign was quick to disagree.

Military assistance, coupled with financial and oil sanctions passed by the U.S. and the European Union, would cripple the Iranian economy, Biden promised.

"When we took office, let me remind you, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem," Biden said. "We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe."

Biden continued, "We were neither fully respected by our friends nor feared by our opponents. Today is it starkly, starkly different."

The other side of the aisle struck back at Biden's comments, with GOP presidential candidate and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's Policy Director Lanhee Chen calling foul on the placement of blame, and stating the vice president's words were "wrong and completely inappropriate."

"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," Chen wrote. "The problem is not America. It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons."

In his Tuesday remarks, Biden referenced his oft-mocked propensity for gaffes, saying, "No one has ever doubted I mean what I say. The problem is sometimes I say what I mean."

Addressing Iran's political status, Biden told the conservative group he guessed sitting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be "gone" in two years.

Calling internal dissention within the country "real," Biden said he believed Ahmadinejad would be forced out, with Iranian parliament Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as his replacement. Biden assured the crowd the White House's commitment to Israel was strong and railed against critics who claim otherwise. He called the pursuit of an Israeli state a goal which was in the "best interests" of the United States.

That commitment, the vice president continued, was demonstrated by a recent request made by President Barack Obama to send $3.1 billion in military assistance to Israel. He touted the request as the largest amount ever asked on behalf of the embattled country.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the international body for rabbis in Conservative Judaism, totals more than 1,600 members. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have been vying for support from the Jewish community, a source of donations and votes in key states.

A long-serving member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden struck a softer tone with the at-capacity room relating childhood stories about his father's affinity for the Jewish community, saying he often expressed disbelief that anyone could oppose the state of Israel.


631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 150668665