Biden: No ‘Real Gaffes’ as VP

Nov 3, 2008 6:35pm

ABC News’ Matt Jaffe reports: On Election Eve, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said that in the past two and a half months since Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., selected him as running mate, he has been "value-added" to the Democratic ticket and never made any "big gaffes."

"I think we’ve run a really good campaign," Biden said today. "And for all the stuff about gaffes, I don’t think there have been any real gaffes. I mean, I don’t see anything in your polling data demonstrating any of that stuff you guys love to write about."

"I never make any big, big gaffes," he added. "I mean, you guys love saying that about me, but I tell you what, just look at the numbers. I don’t have any problem with what I’ve said and there’s nothing I’ve said that I would back off of."

Republicans have ripped numerous Biden remarks over the past few months, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at one point calling him "the gift that keeps on giving." The GOP nominee also used Biden’s words against Obama, airing a Republican campaign ad featuring Biden’s guarantee at a Seattle fundraiser that if elected, Obama would be "tested" by an international crisis.

Aboard his afternoon flight from Kansas City, Mo., to Columbus, Ohio, today, the Democratic vice presidential nominee came to the back of the plane to speak with reporters for the first time since an off-the-record session with reporters on a flight Sept. 9 from Chicago to Boston. Various comments from Biden’s 45-minute session that night leaked to The Associated Press, which did not have a reporter on the plane, and the news agency later reported some of Biden’s off-the-record remarks.

"You may remember my saying to you all at the very beginning — in the off-the-record meeting we had, which turned out not to be off-the-record, which is why I haven’t been back to see you in a long while, is John is a genuine economic conservative," Biden told reporters.

"John genuinely believes in this economic policy, which we in somewhat derisive terms call trickle-down," continued Biden, before criticizing McCain’s foreign policy approach of "American exceptionalism."

"John’s basically a go-it-alone guy," said the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. "You know, it is John’s fervent, and I admire it, fervent belief in sort of American exceptionalism, I mean, you know, ‘Just gonna, we just go out and do it.’"

"John is the guy who lectures our Europeans friends, you know what I mean, and says ‘Hey, let me tell you’," Biden said. "You know, and so diplomacy isn’t a big piece of John. So in those two ways, John has been completely in my view, consistent with who John was."

In recent weeks, Biden has blasted McCain’s campaign tactics and today he acknowledged that he was "disappointed" in GOP attacks and believed McCain had to be "uncomfortable" with them, too.

"I don’t have any regret about it on our side," Biden said. "I really am a little disappointed in John. You know, I don’t think John consciously sits down and says, you know, ‘Let’s go do the stuff that…’ — I can’t believe he’s not uncomfortable with it. You know what I mean? I just think John’s like, ‘I just gotta put on these combat boots, man, I gotta sludge through this, I got one shot, I gotta punch through and guys, you got the campaign, do what you think you gotta do and I’m gonna go out there and make my case about not quitting it and what it is.’"

Perhaps not to get drawn into any partisan digs, Biden refused to comment on a McCain adviser calling Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "a whack job" and "a diva."

Citing the heated battles of the campaign trail, the Delaware lawmaker emphasized the importance of bridging the partisan divide in the country, no matter who wins on Election Day, but he expressed optimism that Americans are so focused on getting the nation "back on track" that the days of bitter partisanship are coming to an end.

Biden noted that he does believe that the president-elect has to win by such a substantial margin on Tuesday night to gain "an electoral mandate" to accomplish things in Washington.

"There is, there is this sense across the board — big things are happening, man," he said. "This isn’t small-bore stuff. This is not small-bore stuff, whether you view it as crises or not, it’s not small-bore stuff.  And uh, I think that, so I think that there is at a minimum a mandate for — trite phrase — for change. I think the debate’s gonna be what is changing. Nobody, nobody out there can look at the status quo, you know, so it really is top-down, bottom-up."

Heading into Election Day, Biden predicted a victory in the state of his birth, Pennsylvania, but was not as optimistic about two other key battleground states that he is visiting in his last day on the trail — Ohio and Missouri.

"I still think we win Pennsylvania, to be honest with you," he predicted. "I’ll be surprised if we do not. I’ll be disappointed if we do not. I feel good about it."

"If I had to I’d bet you on Pennsylvania," said the Scranton-born senator. "I don’t want to bet you on Ohio or Missouri."

But Biden cautioned that the Keystone State is always a closely fought race and that former POW McCain does have a certain appeal to voters there.

"We have never won it by more than 51 percent of the vote, so no matter how you cut it, no matter how good you are, it’s always close when you win, number one," he said. "And I expect it to be close again. And number two, I think John has a — an appeal as a war hero. I don’t — I mean that in a complimentary way."

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