What Obama’s short list thinks about the world

Any minute now, Barack Obama may announce his running mate. It could easily be somebody off the media radar (e.g. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Texas Rep. Chet Edwards), but these are the four names that have been batted around most often by the cognoscenti. So, my colleagues Joshua Keating, Patrick Fitzgerald, and I put ...

593075_080822_biden5.jpg
593075_080822_biden5.jpg

Any minute now, Barack Obama may announce his running mate. It could easily be somebody off the media radar (e.g. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Texas Rep. Chet Edwards), but these are the four names that have been batted around most often by the cognoscenti.

So, my colleagues Joshua Keating, Patrick Fitzgerald, and I put this handy list of quotes together to help you get a read on how Obama's veep choice views the world. Feel free, of course, to chime in via comments with your own citations.


Joseph Biden, Jr., Delaware senator, 65

Any minute now, Barack Obama may announce his running mate. It could easily be somebody off the media radar (e.g. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Texas Rep. Chet Edwards), but these are the four names that have been batted around most often by the cognoscenti.

So, my colleagues Joshua Keating, Patrick Fitzgerald, and I put this handy list of quotes together to help you get a read on how Obama’s veep choice views the world. Feel free, of course, to chime in via comments with your own citations.


Joseph Biden, Jr., Delaware senator, 65

Biden on Iraq: “The president should begin a responsible redeployment of our combat forces from Iraq so that we can meet the many other challenges we face around the world, starting with taking the fight to Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the people who actually attacked us on 9-11.”

Press release, July 18, 2008

Biden on Afghanistan: “Afghanistan is slipping toward failure. The Taliban is back, violence is up, drug production is booming and the Afghans are losing faith in their government. All the legs of our strategy — security, counternarcotics efforts, reconstruction and governance — have gone wobbly…. If we should have had a surge anywhere, it is Afghanistan.”

New York Times, Mar. 2, 2008

Biden on Russia: “Ever since President Bush infamously gazed into Mr. Putin’s soul in 2001, Washington has used photo opportunities as a proxy for a serious Russia policy. The administration has airbrushed Russian belligerence and rebuffed some sensible Kremlin proposals, such as legally-binding extensions to arms control treaties…. Our top priority should be nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, including a common approach to Iran and the security of Russia’s own weapons and nuclear materials.”

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 24, 2008

Biden on trade: “Every new trade agreement should have built into it… [e]nvironmental standards and labor standards. But we talk about it in terms of preserving jobs here, but it’s also about human rights. Signing an agreement knowing they’re going to exploit workers either by polluting their lungs or their drinking water and/or putting them in a position where they’re getting paid a couple bucks a week. So it should be a condition to every trade agreement that we engage in.”

2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate, Dec. 13, 2007


Evan Bayh, Indiana senator, 52

Bayh on Iraq: “To those who say the threat is not imminent, after 9/11, how long can we afford to wait? To those who say regime change is not an appropriate reason for acting, I say weapons of mass destruction and the regime of Saddam Hussein are one and indivisible. To remove weapons of mass destruction, we must remove that regime. To think anything else is to delude ourselves.”

Senate floor, Oct. 8, 2002

Bayh on Afghanistan: “We have five times as many troops stationed in Iraq as we do in Afghanistan currently. How do we — how do you square that, when the threat currently is greater in terms of a terrorist strike from one place and yet we’re devoting five times of the amount of resources and troops to a different place?”

Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq, Apr. 8, 2008

Bayh on Russia: “[T]he continued participation of the Russian Federation in the Group of 8 nations should be conditioned on the Russian Government voluntarily accepting and adhering to the norms and standards of democracy.”

109th CONGRESS, 1st Session, S. CON. RES. 14, Feb. 17, 2005 (a Senate resolution cosponsored by Sens. Bayh, Lieberman, and McCain)

Bayh on trade: “America must commit itself… to doing those things that are necessary to succeed in the global marketplace. Nothing else will do. We cannot wall up our country. We cannot shut out those with whom we would compete.”

Senate floor, Apr. 27, 2005


Tim Kaine, Virginia governor, 50

Kaine on Iraq: “Our troops are doing a great job over there. That doesn’t change the fact that the rationale we were given is wrong and we need to have a plausible strategy for withdrawing from Iraq, and I think that is something that Prime Minister al-Maliki has said.”

CNN, Aug. 6, 2008

Kaine on Afghanistan: “The story of what the United States is accomplishing in Afghanistan is remarkable in many ways, more noble and less morally and operationally complicated than our efforts in Iraq… In just a few short years, the Afghans have written a constitution, elected a president and now seated a parliament… [M]ost Afghans appreciate what we are doing and want us to stay.”

Kabul, Afghanistan, Mar. 17, 2006

Kaine on Russia: “[T]he goal is to use diplomatic means to get Russia to live by the cease-fire. And if diplomacy is the strategy at this point, measured tones is the way to go. And I think that kind of balance is what the situation needs.”

Meet the Press, Aug. 17, 2008

Kaine on trade: “The only way you’ll succeed is by being an aggressive competitor rather than trying to hoard your dwindling assets.”

Bloomberg, May 30, 2008


Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas governor, 60

Of all the contenders, the Kansas governor’s beliefs about foreign affairs are the least well known. She has made few specific comments on U.S. policy, focusing instead on how America’s overseas engagements have sapped the country’s resources and morale:

“Well, states all over the country are not only missing personnel, National Guard troops are — about 40 percent of the troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan — but we’re missing the equipment. When the troops get deployed, the equipment goes with them.”

CNN, May 7, 2007

“The last five years have cost us dearly — in lives lost; in thousands of wounded warriors whose futures may never be the same; in challenges not met here at home because our resources were committed elsewhere. America’s foreign policy has left us with fewer allies and more enemies.”

State of the Union response, January 28, 2008

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