Biden on the Biden Story

I just got off a conference call with Senator Biden, much of which focused on today’s story.

At first he was asked about the validity of his comments attacking the other candidates in the Democratic Party.

“I believe I was quoted accurately, but they weren’t meant to take shots,” he said. “I was responding to what I thought to be two important things. One — how could you possibly defeat Hillary Clinton? She is so very popular. She has 40 percent of the vote or thereabouts. And my point was that she is known by 100 percent of the people and that she has had the legitimate, understandable, considerable support from her husband and there is 60 percent of the people are still up for grabs. And that’s the only point I was making… And she is clearly qualified to be president. And if I left an impression, that is not an accurate reading of what I intended to say anyway.

“And with regard to the assertions I have just read as I walked over here… about Barack Obama. Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced, at least since I have been around. And he is fresh, he is new, he is insightful, and I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the word ‘clean.’

“So I called Barack,” he added, “and he said ‘Joe you don’t have to explain anything to me.'”

Biden also said, “He is probably, as I said the most exciting candidate this party has had in a long time, that was the only point I was trying to make.”

About his use of the word “clean” to describe Obama, Biden explained by saying, “My mother has an expression: clean as a whistle, sharp as tack. That’s the context.”

Later, he added: “I have spoken to Senator Obama — he knew what I meant by it .”

When pushed again if the quote was correct, he added, “It was exactly what I said.”

Another reporter asked why Biden was running if he thought Obama was so well qualified.

“I think he’s great I think they’re all great I think I’m better,” he said, adding. “Now it’s about ideas, and I think her ideas are incorrect for how to proceed in Iraq.”

–Jason Horowitz