Biden Not Surprised by Giffords’ Progress, Recounts His Own Recovery from Two Aneurysms in 1988

By Jaketapper

Jan 21, 2011 4:46pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: Speaking today to the House Democratic caucus about their colleague Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ progress, Vice President Joe Biden candidly recounted the care he received from his own neurosurgeons after suffering two aneurysms in 1988. “I remember asking the doctor — thinking that I would never be able to function very well again – and I said:  This has happened to me.  Why?” Biden said. “He said:  I don’t know why it’s happened, but I can tell you from experience what we do know.  We do know in X percentage of the cases it gets better.  We don’t know why it gets better.” Biden said that as devastating as Giffords’ injury is, he is not surprised by her progress “There’s no empirical data to sustain this, but I’m absolutely convinced that attitude and — not character, but I don’t know what the right phrase is, but attitude, determination is an incredible,  incredible weapon in dealing with what you’re facing,” he said. “From my own personal experience with no ability to give you any data to sustain what I’m saying.  I just looked at how quickly she’s moved, and I’m hopeful.  I am really hopeful.” Biden said he did not want to get into a debate about assigning blame for what happened in Tucson but said there is a recognition that “we’ve got to change the way we talk to one another.” “Tone matters.  Words matter,” the vice president said. “And I’m not saying they matter necessarily in terms of whether some guy who’s already deranged would do something like this again.  But it matters in terms of how we’re going to deal with the problems of this country, whether we’re really actually going to respond to the needs of the American people.  And they’re significant.” As for the plans for some Members of Congress to sit with their colleagues from the other party during the State of the Union, Biden said he was all for it. “Hopefully it has the effect of generating the beginnings of a slightly different atmosphere because, folks, if we don’t change it, if we don’t begin to get some kind of cooperation among us, I’m not sure how we deal with the dilemma the American people insist and have a right to insist on us dealing with,” he said. The Vice President spoke for another 45 minutes about foreign policy – specifically focusing on his recent trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. He covered familiar territory and at times seemed to be regaling the Democratic House members with anecdotes of his years of foreign policy experience, rather than reading prepared remarks. One interesting note – Biden said that there are “rumors of discontent” between him and Afghan President Karzai, but that his visit last week was “actually productive.” But he acknowledged that you don’t get to choose who you work with but they want to continue to build the relationship with Karzai and his government.

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