Dissension in the ranks between Obama, Biden?

There has been a growing string of gaffes from Sen. Joe Biden in which he seems to question, or otherwise criticize Barack Obama’s judgment or the campaign’s judgment. The latest in this string was Biden’s criticism of the Obama campaign ad which criticized McCain for not using email.

Here is video of Biden making the statement to Katie Couric:

If you haven’t seen it, here is the ad Biden is speaking of:

A couple weeks ago Biden made the statement that Hillary Clinton “might have been a better choice” for VP when speaking at a campaign event. The comment was largely played off but it seems to be part of a longer running issue with Biden speaking off the cuff.

In the same line, here’s Barack Obama criticizing Joe Biden’s quick response to the AIG bailout from Political Punch:

Obama on Biden’s Initial Opposition to AIG Bailout: “Joe Should Have Waited”

September 23, 2008 9:41 AM

“What has been clear during this entire past ten days is John McCain has not had clarity and a grasp on the situation,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told NBC’s Matt Lauer in an interview that ran this morning.

Lauer was talking about how Obama hit Sen. McCain for flip-flopping on the AIG bailout — saying he opposed it one day then announce he supported it the next day.

But, as Lauer pointed out, scarcely three minutes after McCain said he opposed the AIG bailout last week, “in an interview with Meredith Vieira, Joe Biden, your running mate was asked the exact same question, ‘should the federal government bailout AIG?’ And he said, ‘No, the federal government should not bailout AIG.'” (As we noted at the time.) “And I think that in that situation,” Obama said, “I think Joe should have waited as well.”

“But it’s the kind of thing that drives people crazy about politics,” Lauer said. “It sounds like you were trying to score some political points against John McCain using his words, when your own running mate had used very similar words.”

“No, hold on a second Matt,” Obama said. “I think what drives people crazy about politics is the fact that somebody like John McCain who for 26 years has been an advocate for deregulation, for 26 years has said the market is king and then starts going out there suggesting somehow that he’s a populist who’s been railing against Wall Street and regulation — that’s what drives people crazy about politics.”

Plus, here’s video of Biden stating he is against expanding coal plants in America:

However, Obama’s own website states his campaign supports expanding commercial coal-burning as part of job expansion:

Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.

Obama’s Department of Energy will enter into public private partnerships to develop five “first-of-a-kind” commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology.

Report on the coal plant statement from Politico:

Some great rope line video from Joe Biden’s recent Ohio swing, where he was asked by an anti-pollution campaigner about clean coal — a controversial approach in Democratic circles for which Obama has voiced support, particularly during the Kentucky primary.

Biden’s apparent answer: He supports clean coal for China, but not for the United States.

“No coal plants here in America,” he said. “Build them, if they’re going to build them, over there. Make them clean.”

“We’re not supporting clean coal,” he said of himself and Obama. They do, on paper, support clean coal.

The answer seems to play into John McCain’s case that Obama has been saying “no” to new sources of energy.

In the primary, Biden opposed Obama’s push for clean coal, which is seen as a way of maintaining or expanding America’s coal-burning power plants — many of which are in rust belt swing states.

It seems to me that perhaps Biden is speaking a bit from the hip without consulting the campaign on an official “position” to take. That being said, I like a politician who can take a stand on an issue because it is what he or she believes, not something run through a focus group. In this case, however, it just seems to be creating some mixed messages from the Obama campaign.

Not a huge deal but the race is so close that every little thing seems to matter.

Update

This one is just plain funny:

My recollection is that the stock market crash was in 1929. Two problems here: Television did not even exist in 1929, and FDR was elected in 1932, so he wasn’t even the leader at the time of the crash.

Hat tip to Stalin in the comments for the tip.

Update

Michael’s perspective added:

Look– vice presidents and presidents can disagree on things. Palin and McCain are at different sides of the fence on drilling in ANWAR, and in respects to issues such as Creationism and other neo-conservative issues. This is all right. The whole point of putting someone on a ticket is to add the perception of wider representation.

I do not see anything damaging about what Biden has said. Obama should know that Biden talks from the hip– and the only thing he said was that perhaps Biden should have waited. Clearly he would have preferred this– clearly any candidate prefers a united front on issues, but that is not going to always happen.

I think the only disappointing response from Obama came when he responded to Matt Lauer’s question of scoring political points. Obama should have owned up to that– but instead, changed the topic and attacked McCain. While most politicians do this, Obama presents himself as a different sort, and this fell below his suggested bar.

I generally concur. The ANWR debate has been publicly noted between Palin and McCain, however, it hasn’t made as much news since they seem to have acknowledged the differences. Biden’s differences and comments seem to come out of nowhere catching the Obama campaign off guard.

  • Stalin

    I don’t think a day goes by that Obama doesn’t regret picking Biden. Nothing huge here, but pretty entertaining to see the same ticket taking shots at each other. I know I’m loving it.

  • Stalin

    Another Biden gaffe:

    Biden garbles Depression history

    Joe Biden’s denunciation of his own campaign’s ad to Katie Couric got so much attention last night that another odd note in the interview slipped by.

    He was speaking about the role of the White House in a financial crisis.

    “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed,” Biden told Couric. “He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.'”

    As Reason’s Jesse Walker footnotes it: “And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, ‘Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?'”

    Too funny. I bet the Obama campaign is secretly looking at the possibility of replacing Biden…

  • Robert

    Well, Obama did claim that he picked someone who would challenge his own views when appropriate. Is this what he had in mind?

    At any rate, I don’t see much of a contradiction on the coal issue. The campaign site advocates clean coal energy, and Biden is opposed to dirty coal. Unless I’m missing something, that seem consistent.

  • Stalin

    Robert,

    Biden clearly states that they are not supporting clean coal. This is a contradiction to what the Obama campaign has said.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rXyTRT-NZg

    Obama needs to shut this guy up pretty quick.

  • Fred

    Biden has some well-known speech problems, and I don’t think they’re entirely related to content. He does speak faster than he thinks, which can be a big problem when parsing his sentences. It seems to be a coping mechanism related to his earlier stuttering problems. The over-use of phrases like “ladies and gentlemen” and words like “literally” seem to be similar coping mechanisms gone wrong.

    Taking this into account, I don’t think he meant to say that he entirely disagrees with Obama on either point. They might have signed-off on the script, but I think Biden disagrees with the sarcastic tone of the ad, not the content per say (how can you disagree with using direct quotes?). I don’t think he’s entirely against clean coal either. I think he just stumbled through saying that in a better world, he would have no coal in the US, but because we share the world with places like China, there’s a real need for clean coal development, so that might as well start here.

  • KG

    Flat out as a Democrat Biden was a bad pick! I bet he kicks himself in the ASS everyday for not picking Hillary! She would have had Sarah for lunch. But if Hillary had been picked Sarah would have never made the ticket!

  • OBAMA_SUCKS

    Not only would there be no palin, there would be no Republican ticket in the election because the libs would have one in a huge landslide. Thank you Barack for not picking Hillary.

  • Look– vice presidents and presidents can disagree on things. Palin and McCain are at different sides of the fence on drilling in ANWAR, and in respects to issues such as Creationism and other neo-conservative issues. This is all right. The whole point of putting someone on a ticket is to add the perception of wider representation.

    I do not see anything damaging about what Biden has said. Obama should know that Biden talks from the hip– and the only thing he said was that perhaps Biden should have waited. Clearly he would have preferred this– clearly any candidate prefers a united front on issues, but that is not going to always happen.

    I think the only disappointing response from Obama came when he responded to Matt Lauer’s question of scoring political points. Obama should have owned up to that– but instead, changed the topic and attacked McCain. While most politicians do this, Obama presents himself as a different sort, and this fell below his suggested bar.

  • IndiMinded

    Biden may seem to disagree with the tone of that commercial, but is that any worse than listening to McCain talk about his own commercials at the 9/11 forum? He sounded downright apologetic about them himself.

    I think both campaigns are made up of good and decent people, and they’ve both gone shamefully negative and deceptive in the last few weeks. It’s at least a small comfort for me to hear the shame in their voices when they’re confronted on that.

  • Todd

    Ok guys

    A lot of you have stated that you held a great deal of respect for Biden (as do I) so when do we at least think about the problems here ? Biden is showing himself to be an experienced politician, answering from his belief system–Obama on the other hand is just carrying the tag line. This will be an issue as the result is obvious to me.

    The Clinton wing of the party has held power and serve despite the fact Obama is the nominee. Obama is/was unable to claim the party as his with Hillary on the ticket. This left his flank open to the experience attack. Obama had to pick someone who could prevent that attack. Problem was that Biden was the best known independent minded democrat who was not owned by Clinton. By taking him Obama may have opened himself up to highlighting his lack of experience when compared to his own VP. and the attack, unintended as it may be is coming from his own VP.

  • Grey

    Pertaining to FDR’s role in the stock market crash of 1929:

    The crash may have happened in 1929, but the effects of the crash stretched well on into the 1930s. In truth, Hoover was very adept in the realm of economics, and the programs he instituted were saavy, but he failed to remedy the effects of the stock market crash and we plunged into the great depression. Although he was elected in 1932, FDR is widely seen as the man who was able to pull us out of the depression, even though his programs were almost exact replicas of Hoover’s. Now, we arguably didn’t escape depression until the start of WWII, but FDR did have a positive impact on the great depression, and it wasn’t economic policy or any new program that did it- the economy grew because FDR was able to reassure the people with his charisma and his notorious “fireside chats”. It is true that economic recessions are mental in part, in that insecurity leads to less investment which leads to recession overall. By reassuring the people and instituting what were essentially Hoover’s plans, FDR was able to positively impact the U.S. market.

    So when Biden talks about the need of a president to come out and reassure the people, the example is quite an apt one- the case of FDR and the stock market crash is one of the most solid instances of what simple reassurances and charisma can achieve.

    It’s understandable why someone would assume Biden gaffed from his wording and a surface level knowledge of political history- I don’t blame anyone for making that mistake with this. However, for your own sakes, I would advise that you look into such topics a little more deeply- when you mock someone based on ineptitudes born solely of an incomplete understanding of the situation, it only makes you look like a total douche.

  • Pats

    Thanks Grey

  • Babs

    Grey, you’re argument doesn’t hold water. Biden’s statement was “WHEN THE STOCK MARKET CRASHED Franklin Roosevelt got on television……”.

    No such thing happened. He gaffed. Period.

  • True, but the gaffe is inconsequential. The context holds water, as Grey clearly demonstrated. I think we can afford our politicians luxuries like this when it comes to extemporaneous references to 1920/30s history with a reporter.

  • Babs

    Well, Michael, it’s either the truth or it’s not. And it wasn’t. And we don’t afford politicians the luxury of not telling the truth without nailing them to a cross. Do I care that he made the gaffe? No, he’s old, out of touch, and has a very bad memory. *LOL*

  • Grey

    I have no interest in arguing over minute differences in wording. What Biden was referring to was crystal clear, and it’s understandable why he would want to avoid words such as “depression” at this stage, let alone referring to the great depression. If people are so finicky as to criticize politicians for minute variances in wording even when intentions are clear, that’s their prerogative- personally I think it’s just stupid, and I have better things to do.

    Just as a sidenote, I’m unbiased with regards to “gaffes” like this- I detest the fact that people actually make these things into issues. Similarly, I think that people who criticize McCain for his “100 years” remark or his “5 million dollars” are just searching for any means to vent their leftist bias.

  • Babs

    Grey, things like this are made into issues by the media – which is another discussion we’re having over on the Sarah Palin media thread. We agree, it’s ridiculous. Who cares who misspoke today? The media gods care, and they use these things to mask the issues with us and try to sway us as if we have no brains of our own.

    I think Biden’s words could be interpreted in any of several ways by individuals. It’s a quesiton of whether you’re prone to interpretation, or you accept a person’s words at face value as they’re spoken. No harm on either side.

  • Dreadsen

    Fox and Friends have compiled all of Joe Biden’s goofs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYW5OQO5ZDQ

  • I’m not seeing the big deal here. Just because someone doesn’t agree with what somebody else syas, why does it make it a gaffe?

    If Palin and McCain were joined anymore at the hip they’d be wearing the same skirt.