Biden Treads Carefully With Palin Comments

By Julia Hoppock

Sep 2, 2008 4:39pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: Barack Obama’s Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., weighed in Tuesday with his first observations about Republican John McCain’s running mate pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but the famously verbose lawmaker treaded carefully with his comments.

"The press has been asking me that question and I have not answered it for two reasons," Biden said at a town hall meeting in Deerfield Beach, Fla. "Number one, first of all, I don’t know the governor. Everything I know about her, there’s no reason not to respect her and believe she’s qualified to be the vice president. I’m not going to make that judgment. That’s for the people –- for you all to make.

"I know people worry about Biden’s style and answering the question, but the truth is, I simply don’t know," he added. "And I take her on face value — she’s the governor, that’s no mean feat, and she seems to have a strong personal story."

The Alaska governor, mother of five, revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five-months pregnant and planning to marry the baby’s father, but Biden, like Obama before him, believes that talking about such a personal issue is inappropriate.

"I have a simple proposition: children are off limits," Biden stated. "Children are off limits. And as my mom would say, we should treat each other — and in this case, we’ve all been through things with our children, and it’s about common decency — just treat people with common decency."

Like many people in politics, Biden acknowledged that he simply does not know much about Palin, a surprise pick by McCain to share the GOP ticket. 

"Quite frankly, I’m sure I’ll know a lot more before it’ over," Biden noted. "But I don’t know much more about her positions on the issues than I’ve heard."

Rest assured, Biden will know much more about Palin by the time the two face off in the vice presidential debate on Oct. 2 in St. Louis, Mo.

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