ABC News’ Brian Wheeler and Teddy Davis report: New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has made experience in world affairs a mainstay of her presidential campaign. But the former first lady was swiped Tuesday by Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, her more seasoned Democratic rival, for what Biden portrayed as an elementary error in Pakistani politics.
"We have a number of candidates who are well-intentioned but don’t understand Pakistan. One of the leading candidates — God love her," said Biden, provoking laughter from the audience. "No," he added, there are "good people running. But to say Musharraf is up for election! Musharraf was elected — fairly or unfairly — president six months ago. It’s about a parliamentary election."
During a recent interview on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Clinton described Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as a candidate who would be "on the ballot". Musharraf was reelected as president in the fall. But in Pakistan’s upcoming elections are for parliament, while Musharraf’s party will be facing off against opposition parties, the president himself is not a candidate on the ballot.
Asked by ABC News following his speech if he was referring to Clinton, Biden flashed a knowing smile but resisted invoking her name.
"Some of the candidates have not spent as much time on foreign policy as I have," said Biden. "Some of my opponents they just don’t have the experience that I have."
The Clinton campaign responded to Biden’s criticism by saying that the former first lady was referring to Musharraf’s party, not the president himself.
Biden made his oblique swipe at Clinton during a noontime speech at the Raccoon River Brewing Co., a bar in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.