White House spokesman Jay Carney carefully deflected Vice President Joe Biden’s Monday night declaration that the successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout was the most audacious military strike in 500 years.
“He meant the decision the president made… was a very difficult one,” said Carney, when asked about Biden’s gaffe. “When you’re president, you have to make the tough decisions.”
Carney kept a straight face amid laughter from journalists attending the press conference.
But Carney stepped back when asked if the bin Laden raid was more audacious that the D-Day landings on the Nazi-held Normandy coast in June 1944.
“Well, the historical assessments, I’ll leave to him and others,” Carney said.
Biden’s assessment of his boss rates Obama above other leaders, including President Abraham Lincoln, F.D.R., Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and George S. Patton, or Gen. James Doolittle, who flew ground-based bombers off an aircraft carrier in 1942 on a one-way mission to attack Tokyo targets.
Biden newest gaffe was made at a March 19 fundraiser, declaring “you can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.”
However, Biden’s focus was related to Obama’s political prospects, not the lives of the soldiers or the military significance. (RELATED: More on Joe Biden)
“Do any one of you have a doubt that if that raid failed that this guy would be a one-term president?” Biden asked. “This guy is willing to do the right thing and risk losing.”
Biden’s comment prompted derision from the right and left.
“By the time the election season is over, Biden will be calling the bin Laden raid the ‘single most incredible feat performed by a sentient being, here on Earth or throughout the cosmos, at any time in the last 15 billion years,’” claimed a writer at New York magazine. (SEE ALSO: De Niro fundraises with FLOTUS: ‘Do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?’)
Biden’s emphasis on the danger to Obama’s career showed Biden’s political focus, said one of the authors of the Blackfive.net blog, who wrote: “That supposedly risking your political future is akin to actually risking your life in the raid… is an attempt to frame a decision that really wasn’t very tough at all into an agonizing, courageous and risky choice.”