Biden’s boo-boos: Misstatements mar debate performance

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: October 7, 2008
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The findings of fact-checking groups that monitor the two presidential campaigns aren’t surprising: Both stretch truth and utter falsehoods. We’re not keeping score, but the net result probably is a wash.

Still, it’s worth noting some of Sen. Joe Biden’s boo-boos during last week’s vice presidential debate with Gov. Sarah Palin, because a number came on foreign policy questions — Biden’s strength — leading to impressions he outpointed Palin.

Perhaps Biden misspoke. But it’s disconcerting from a guy whose knowledge and experience are his chief qualifications for higher office. Imagine the howls if Palin committed similar errors:

→ Biden said the United States kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. As far as anyone knows, no one forced the terror group’s exit. It’s still there and pretty much runs the country.

→ Biden said Pakistan can hit Israel with a nuclear weapon. Experts note the top range of a Pakistani nuclear missile is about 1,000 miles or about half the distance to Israel.

→ Biden said presidential nominee Barack Obama didn’t promise to meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. But that was the clear implication of Obama’s statement at a 2007 Democratic debate — and Biden criticized Obama for it at the time.

Palin certainly wasn’t flawless during the debate, but she hasn’t been at it 35 years like Biden. His bar was higher, and it appears he didn’t clear it cleanly.


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