Biden downplays Russian threat: ‘This is not 1956’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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On Sunday’s “Face the Nation” on CBS, Vice President Joe Biden took on the chief critic of President Barack Obama’s open-microphone moment last week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Biden said Romney’s criticism of Obama’s flexibility falls on deaf ears because the president was just stating the obvious.

“Speaking of flexible, Gov. Romney is a pretty flexible guy on his positions,” Biden said. “But look, and by the way, I know a little bit about unguarded moments with microphones. But look, here [the] president just stated the obvious. The idea that in this election year, we’re going to be able to deal with an agreement with the Russians on further reducing our nuclear arsenals, and the environment that we have in the United States Congress now, is difficult. And what the President was doing is stating the obvious, that it’s going to be difficult.”

Biden also blasted Romney’s “Cold War mentality.”

“We’re going to have — we’re not going to the flexibility to sit down and talk with people in this Congress that are going to be able to listen and be able to work with this probably between now and Election Day,” he continued. “So — and the second thing is, Gov. Romney’s answer, I thought, was incredibly revealing. He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on, Russia is still our major adversary. I don’t know where he has been. I mean, we have disagreements with Russia, but they’re united with us on Iran. The only way we’re getting one of only two ways we’re getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia. They’re working closely with us. They have just said to Europe, if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they’ll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. That’s not — this is not 1956.”

He also criticized Romney’s foreign policy credentials, telling “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer that Romney demonstrated a lack of knowledge on the issue.

“Look, every opportunity they get to try to seed that argument, they do,” Biden replied. “So, I agree with you that anything that is said that allows them even — you know, the patina of saying that’s what he is doing, they use it. But what I think is most revealing about it is the governor’s response. The governor talking about this hurts Israel. He either hasn’t been informed yet or doesn’t know that this missile defense system we put in, and I was responsible as you remember for going to Europe and selling the new system which better protects them, also better protects Israel and in terms of the early warning capability. I mean, he just seems to be uninformed, or stuck in a Cold War mentality. So, I think what the exchange did, it exposes how little the governor knows about foreign policy.”

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Jeff Poor