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Biden's Buddy Hagel: Um, Which Party Is Mine?

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) returned the love last night to his good friend Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), helping the underdog Democratic presidential hopeful kick off his book tour.

Biden, during the CNN-YouTube debate last month, said he would pick Hagel if he had to choose any Republican to be his running mate. So it was fitting that last night Hagel introduced Biden at a book party hosted by a nominally bipartisan group of senators.

Looking out over a sea of Democratic faces, Hagel, according to attendees, joked, "Hell, I don't know what party I belong to any more."

Biden, who skipped most of his own party due to a series of votes on the Senate floor, reiterated his pick for a fantasy Republican running mate.

Hoping his new book "Promises to Keep" will be a runaway bestseller -- or at least jumpstart his lackluster campaign -- Biden said he answered "Chuck Hagel" to the question posed to him during the debate even though he knew it might bring his GOP pal enemies within his own party.

Besides Hagel, the bipartisan book party host committee included Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

According to sources who stood in line to get their books signed by the author, Carper worked the line, thanked folks for coming and told a few of them that he thinks the book is going to send Biden to the front of the Democratic field. "I think this book is the thing that's going to do it," he said.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  August 2, 2007; 3:13 PM ET
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JB is the obvious D choice for a moderate like me. Then again, the party faithful seem not impressed by moderation, experience, ability to work across the aisle, and foreign policy chops.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 2, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, I like Biden, too. (Gee, I'm agreeing with you on too many things!) It's too bad that he doesn't have a prayer.

That said, I think Hillary is every bit as moderate and has gained the respect of even the most faithful Republicans in the Senate, demonstrating her ability to work Washington. In case you missed it, I think you'll find this article about her interesting:

I wonder if Hagel will switch sides someday. He'd certainly have more friends among the Dems!

Posted by: Skeptic in CA | August 2, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Me too. It's really odd that nobody in the party really seems to understand that you don't just choose presidents based on popularity... Biden seems like one of the few guys who knows his stuff, thinks outside the box, and is still not boring or repetitive (Hillary's ability to stay on message sounds too programmed for me). There are still 6 months to go, so maybe things will change.

Posted by: freeDom | August 2, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm a moderate Democrat here in California. JB is my choice! Unlike Obama and Edwards, this guy DOES know his stuff. It is still early and we shall see what happens.

Posted by: Brett | August 2, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Join the campaign guys. Jump on the bandwagon early. Obama is imploding quicker than I thought he would, I don't think Edwards is going to get past Iowa, and Richardson has lit anyone's fire. Biden did great in all three debates. Buy the book - host a book-club reading - have a real debate. You would be shocked how many people out there (although they don't have a huge problem with Sen. Clinton) would like the idea of an election that didn't have a Bush or Clinton in it. Biden would wipe the floor with the Republicans - and the only way for Sen. Biden to win the nomination is for people talk about the merits of Biden's positions and character.

I posted why I supported Biden on one of the articles covering yet another misstatement by Obama on foreign policy:

Besides having the experience to execute a foreign policy agenda with diplomacy and nuance, he has much to be proud of.

• He has stood up for battered women and passed landmark legislation to prevent and assist victims of a shameful crime.
• He was at the forefront to add 100,000 law enforcement personnel when the crime rate was out of control in the late 80's and early 90's, and has consistently stood up to the gun lobby to fight for sensible legislation on gun control.
• He hasn't used his position to gain personal wealth but has always been focused on the public good.
• He has been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Bosnia, Kosovo and many other troubled regions and has never given legitimacy to a butcher like Milosevic by meeting in public with him.
• He has urged all of his colleagues to stop the endless debate, and to use our armed forces to prevent genocide from occurring in Darfur - NOW! If we can afford two brigades to further destabilize countries like Pakistan, we can put a few thousand troops to provide the security for aid workers and the US air force to get the humanitarian supplies to people who need it, and let the African congress provide the troops necessary to defeat the Janjaweed.
• And he has a proposed plan, modeled on the Dayton Accord, to provide some stability in Iraq with a loose federation, bringing the international community and NGO's who have the expertise to rebuild war torn countries infrastructures, and would have our state department work with regional powers to prevent the sectarian violence from spreading in the region. He rightly put soldier's lives ahead of political statements by voting for the supplemental bill and fund the needed MRAP's that can prevent the horrific effects of IED's. (not to mention he has a son who is preparing to deploy to Iraq, so he not only can empathies with the few families whom have been asked to make a sacrifice after 9/11, but he is one of them.)

There are many other reasons in my mind to support Senator Biden.

Posted by: clawrence35 | August 2, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I think this nation could use some time in recovery from alpha male blowhards, which Biden kind of is.

Having said that, I'm one of those voters that doesn't want a Bush or Clinton, the family dynasty thing is abhorrent. Abhorrent!

See the first paragraph again, but then, we could do worse than Joe Biden. I think he can beat anyone from the republican party, and calculated and tiresome as that is, it ain't all bad. Say " universal health care" Joe, and you might get a convert.

I'd rather have Edwards, but Americans may still need that alpha male thing, and Joe has some serious expertise to offer, no one can deny. The potential for grandiosity bothers me though. I'm sick of that, but I think I'm in the minority. Most Americans lick it up.

Posted by: otter357 | August 3, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

freeDom, I make my living helping people "stay on message." Why is this important? Because in a 24/7 media environment, journalists no longer have the time to do the necessary research. No time to verify. And because I make my livelihood working with the media, I assure you that you have to be careful about what comes out of your mouth. These days, most come at a story already knowing the angle they'd like to take, and by god, that's the story they'll pursue, so words are plucked and reported out of context. So if you're smart (and Hillary is no dummy), you watch what comes out of your mouth.

Biden isn't so careful, so despite how qualified he is to become president, words come out of his mouth that shouldn't. He's not a racist, but because he doesn't have a good communications consultant, stuff comes out of his mouth that is easily misinterpreted.

And OTTER 357, I liked John Edwards when he was a veep pick -- there seemed something Kennedy-esque about him. But I haven't been impressed this time around. Other than the fact that his wife seems smarter, there's something rather disingenuous about him. And while poverty is an issue in this country, I have a hard time with that being his primary campaign focus. Foreign policy is, I think, the most important issue facing us today. So to me, that means Biden, Hillary, Richardson, or Dodd. And since of the four, only Hillary has a chance, I'm a Hillary supporter.

I like Obama a lot, and in 2016, I think he'll make a fine president. But for now, two years in the U.S. Senate isn't enough for me to elect him. And Edwards? He's been out for two years -- and a lot happens during that time. Only Hillary, Biden, and Dodd get classified information. And given that Hillary is on the Armed Services Committee, and Biden in the Foreign Relations committee -- only one of them make any sense.

Posted by: Skeptic in CA | August 3, 2007 2:14 AM | Report abuse

I would love to vote for a Biden/Hagel ticket, but would choose Ron Paul and Hagel as a first choice~

Posted by: TK41 in Georgia | August 3, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Biden is great on Foreign Policy, but what else does he stand for? There is no doubt in my mind that Biden has the best plan for Iraq and that he has the political and leadership skills to execute it. Maybe because I'm not from DE, but I don't have a clue what else he stands for and neither do most people nationally. Think about the last story you read about Biden that wasn't about Iraq. Anyone?

Biden will be a great Secretary of State and will restore prestige and honor to our diplomatic corps but he has yet to show the cross-issue appeal to run a successful National Presidential campaign.

Posted by: Drew | August 3, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse


To paraphrase the main points Senator Biden is making on healthcare...

Number one...fixing the healthcare system is an infinitely monumental and exceedingly complex dilemma. You are not going to get from where you are now to where you want to be by proposing a monstrous piece of legislation to provide universal healthcare. In other words, and to mix metaphors, you just can't move mountains in one fowl swoop!

However, Senator Biden has said that there are things that he would do immediately, including BUT NOT LIMITED TO, providing catastrophic health insurance and coverage for the 9 million kids who are currently uninsured. He also clearly states how these programs would be funded.

Number don't yet have a "critical mass" of states who are moving toward universal healthcare plans for their own jurisdictions. You need to give incentives to those states who have not yet moved in this direction. When you reach the point where you have 30 - 35 states on board, then you have established an important national consensus of support for universal healthcare. You can then pick and choose what will work best at a national level and begin to fashion legislation,accordingly.

Senator Biden's step-by-step, methodical approach seems to me to be the most reasonable, practical and common-sense way toward moving a national universal healthcare program through the tricky legislative process. He believes much of this can be done in four years...I'd be willing to give him eight!

By the way...if you are a Biden supporter, and even if you are not - especially if you are not, you must check this out - JOE BIDEN: AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT...a video produced by James Di Salvatore, a Biden supporter...

Posted by: Elizabeth Miller | August 5, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Biden is the best, most qualified person for the job. The media should hold off on the horse race stuff and give him a fair shake. We're still a long way out. If he doesn''t have a chance, it's only because people keep saying so.

Posted by: isaac | August 7, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I've always had a lot of respect for Joe Biden...but I DO wish he'd maintain some distance from Hagel...a republican is, after all, a republican and one may be judged by the company one keeps...

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