Democratic vice president candidate Sen. Joe Biden has created a furor with his implication to a crowd of deep-pocket donors that presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s lack of experience would create an appearance of weakness that would encourage opponents to challenge the U.S.
But he was only repeating what Obama himself said as he prepared to serve the first day of the Senate term he’s now a little more than halfway through.
According to news reports, Biden told the crowd of donors, “Mark my words: It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.
“The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy,” Biden said.
“He’s going to have to make some really tough – I don’t know what the decision’s going to be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it’s going to happen,” Biden said.
Obama himself expressed the opinion that he wasn’t qualified to run for the presidency after he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois in late 2004, less than four years ago. His statements have been preserved on a YouTube video, which can be seen here:
After his election victory, Obama was asked why he had ruled out running for national office.
“I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job,” he responded. “And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there may be people comfortable doing that. I’m not one of those people,” Obama said.
Even some 800 days later, on Feb. 10, 2007, when he announced his presidential bid, in remarks published by the Washington Post as prepared for delivery, he admitted, “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington.”
Obama’s lack of experience also came up during the Democratic primary, when Biden expressed worry that Obama’s inexperience could cause difficulties.
Another YouTube video shows Biden warning that being president does not lend itself to on-the-job training and affirmed that he had described Obama as lacking the necessary experience.
“I stand by the statement,” he said.
The GOP campaign of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin jumped on Biden’s latest remarks.
“The next president won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain said at a southern campaign stop. “We face many challenges here at home, and many enemies abroad in this dangerous world. If Senator Obama is elected, Senator Biden said, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new president. We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars.”
Continued McCain, “What’s more troubling is that Senator Biden told their campaign donors that when that crisis hits, they would have to stand with them because it wouldn’t be apparent that Senator Obama would have the right response. Forget apparent. Senator Obama won’t have the right response, and we know that because we’ve seen the wrong response from him over and over during this campaign.”
The Obama campaign explained Biden simply was noting that presidents face challenges starting from day one.
In a forum at the Christian Science Monitor, one participant said Biden is right, “Obama looks weak to the rest of the world, which will start an international crisis.”
“McCain is strong and, like Ronald Reagan, would be respected,” the participant continued. “Remember how our U.S. Embassy hostages were freed on Reagan’s inauguration day after being held captive 444 days by Iran? They were held 444 days due to Jimmy Carter’s weakness. Obama would be Jimmy Carter’s 2nd term!”