Biden: Bush & Murtha 'Not That Far Apart', Katie Questions Clinton Electability

March 14th, 2006 7:44 AM

Bush and Murtha: same struggle! At least, that's apparently how Joe Biden sees it. The senator from Delaware, interviewed by Katie Couric on this morning's Today show, criticized the administration's withdrawal of 30,000 troops from Iraq, and claimed the president "is determined to get it down under 100,000 troops this year. He will be down to 30,000 next year."

Biden - bidding for headlines? - continued: "his plan and Murtha's plan are not that far apart."

Of course there's a world of difference between Bush's plans and those of Murtha. As recently as in a speech given yesterday, Pres. Bush reaffirmed the US committment in these terms: "Our goal in Iraq is victory, and victory will be achieved when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks against our nation."

In contrast, Murtha called for immediate withdrawal, which as a matter of logistics he estimated could be accomplished within six months.

But Couric took Biden at face value. Rather than focusing on the glaring differences between the two men's plans, Katie merely inquired whether Biden had "any squabbles" with a quick withdrawal.

In fact, Biden did. He plugged the plan he's been promoting for a while now pursuant to which Pres. Bush should "be on the plane" to foreign capitals. The idea is to have a number of unspecified countries put unspecified "pressure" on the Shiites and Sunnis to play nice. Yup, that's the ticket to resolve things in Iraq. At least according to Sen. Joe.

At the end of an interview, Couric voiced her apparently persistent anxiety as to Hillary's presidential chances, asking: "Do you believe she is electable?"

Biden professed to believe she is, "Oh yeah," he claimed "she is a first-rate person, I think she is electable,"  then added what might be interpreted as a back-handed compliment: "[she] could surprise people." If Hillary is such an appealing candidate, why should her electability come as a surprise?

Riposted Katie: "[If she's electable] then why are you running?"

Biden: "Because I would be a better president."

Couric, bluntly: "Why?"

Biden: "Because I have much more experience." He didn't add "and besides, I want to get on that big plane and have people salute me when I come down the stairs." But you sense the idea has crossed his mind.

Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY. 'Right Angle', the TV show he hosts, was recently named 'Best of the Best' among public-access shows in his area. Contact him at: