Biden's evolving position on the Osama bin Laden raid – Washington Post
Vice President Biden and Hillary Rodham Clinton appear onstage at the Vital Voices Global Partnership 2013 Global Leadership Awards gala on April 2, 2013, in Washington. (Cliff Owen/AP)
Vice President Biden seemed to change his account on Tuesday of the role he played in the White House debate surrounding the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. This time he recalled telling President Obama that he strongly supported sending in a team of Navy SEALs into Pakistan to kill or capture the al-Qaeda leader.
“As we walked out of the room, walked upstairs, I told him my opinion: I thought he should go, but follow his own instincts,” Biden said Tuesday at a George Washington University forum.
With Biden mulling a run for the presidency, his latest account seems designed to buttress his qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief. But the vice president, who has a reputation as a voice of caution when it comes to committing American forces, seems to have contradicted his earlier memories of the final meeting before the bin Laden raid.
Biden’s revised account puts him in the same camp as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state and Biden’s chief rival if he runs, who has long said that she supported sending in special operations forces to raid bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in Pakistan.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to answer questions about whether Biden had changed his story. “I’m going to leave the dissection and the oral history, if you will, of those days to those who were actually there,” Earnest said.
Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley backed up a key element of Biden’s account. “I think the way he articulated it was absolutely the truth. I was in the room and I saw him walk out with the president,” said Daley, who wasn’t part of their private, post-meeting conversation.
In 2012 remarks at a Democratic congressional retreat, Biden suggested that he had been against launching the raid until there was better intelligence about bin Laden’s whereabouts. “Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta,” Biden said, according to 2012 ABC News report. “He got to me. He said, ‘Joe, what do you think?’ And I said, ‘You know, I didn’t know we had so many economists around the table.’ I said, ‘We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. …Read More
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