Sanders Camp Releases Archival Video of Joe Biden Praising ‘Bold Leader’ George Bush Months Into Iraq War: ‘I and Many Others Will Support Him’


On Sunday, Bernie Sanders’ campaign speechwriter released an archival, C-Span video from July 2003 showing then-Senator Joe Biden praising then-President George Bush as “popular” and a “bold leader” and pledging to support the Iraq War effort.

The video of Biden, taken at a Brookings Institute talk several months into the Iraq War, comes amid recent attempts by the Biden campaign to distance the candidate from his war support. Nearly a week ago, Biden, who sat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, characterized himself as an early skeptic of the war, saying he opposed it “from the very moment” it started. A CNN fact-check found Biden’s claim “highly misleading,” however, and, in fact, Biden walked back a very similar, false claim about his war stance that he made back in September.

The Sanders campaign has taken a much more aggressive approach toward Biden of late, having just released a public statement calling it “appalling that after 18 years Joe Biden still refuses to admit he was dead wrong on the Iraq War, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history.” David Sirota, the Sanders’ campaign aide who surfaced the C-Span and who is an aggressive online defender of his boss, attacked what he saw as a pattern of misleading statements by the Biden camp in his tweet publishing the video.

In the 45-second clip, Biden can be seen taking a highly optimistic viewpoint toward the war and he also makes no effort to distance himself from the president who orchestrated it. Instead, he chastises fellow Democrats for their skepticism and pledges support and patience for Bush.

Some in my own party have said that it was a mistake to go to Iraq in the first place and believe that it’s not worth the cost, whatever benefit may flow from our engagement in Iraq. But the cost of not acting against Saddam I think would have been much greater, and so is the cost, and so will be the cost of not finishing this job. The President of the United States is a bold leader, and he is popular. The stakes are high, and the need for leadership is great. I wish he’d use some of his stored-up popularity to make what I admit is not a very popular case, but I, and many others, will support him when he makes the case.

This old video of Biden came out at almost the very same moment that Biden advocate, former Secretary of State John Kerry, appeared on Face the Nation on Sunday morning to push back against the mounting criticism of the former vice president’s Iraq War support. Speaking to CBS News’ Margaret Brennan from the Biden campaign bus in Dubuque, Iowa, Kerry claimed Sanders was “regrettably, distorting Joe Biden’s record,” but did not actually dispute the central facts or the contemporaneous public statements by Biden.

Watch the video above, via C-Span.


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