Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden’s campaign said Monday that the former vice president misspoke when he said that he immediately opposed the Iraq War.
“Vice President Biden misspoke by saying that he declared his opposition to the war immediately,” senior campaign adviser Antony Blinken told The Washington Post for a fact-checking piece on Biden’s Iraq stance.
“He opposed the way we went to war and the way the war was being carried out. He has for many years called his vote a mistake and takes full responsibility for it.”
Biden in 2002 voted to give then-President George W. Bush the authority to launch the war.
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Now the Democratic primary front-runner, Biden has said he opposed the Iraq War from the “moment it started.”
The Post catalogued statements from around the 2002 vote and subsequent invasion of Iraq showing that Biden did not clearly oppose the conflict or acknowledge his vote was wrong until 2005, although he was critical of it.
In his statement to Post, Blinken argued that Biden had been misled about the vote.
“The Bush Administration assured then-Senator Biden that the purpose of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was to strengthen our position at the U.N. Security Council to get weapons inspectors back into Iraq, and that diplomacy would be exhausted without a premature rush to war,” he said.
“However, the Bush Administration plunged the nation into war anyway, without allowing the inspectors to finish their job — which was profoundly misguided. Once the war began, then-Senator Biden was immediately clear in his opposition to how we got into the conflict and the way it was being conducted — including the failure to exhaust diplomacy or enlist allies, the reliance on and hyping of faulty intelligence, and the absence of a viable plan to win the peace.”
The Post’s fact check comes days after political commentator David AxelrodDavid AxelrodMark Cuban says he’s decided not to run for president The Hill’s Campaign Report: Senate map shows signs of expanding The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump touts reopening as virus fatality forecasts trigger alarm MORE called out Biden for allegedly distorting his record on Iraq.
Axelrod, who was chief strategist to former President Obama, linked to a story from Slate titled “When Did Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE Start Believing He Had Opposed the Iraq War?”
Biden’s campaign has struggled with verbal gaffes and stories with some misstated facts in recent weeks, but he has remained atop most polls of the Democratic presidential primary.