During a campaign event on Saturday, an interesting exchange took place between Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and an audience member. “I’m with you 90 percent of the way,” the potential voter told the former vice president. “You were for the second Gulf War, which was a mess,” they noted.
In an apparent effort to persuade the potential voter and defend himself from criticism, Biden responded that he had opposed the war in Iraq “from the very moment” it began in 2003. According to CNN‘s fact-check, however, Biden was an enthusiastic backer of the Iraq war and “repeatedly spoke in favor of the war both before and after it began.”
“Right after” former president George W. Bush launched his “shock and awe” military campaign against Iraq, Biden “opposed what he was doing, and spoke to him,” he told the uncertain voter. That is not true either, according to CNN, which complied a list of Biden’s statements demonstrating that he was a vocal supporter of Bush’s war.
In 2003, for instance, the former vice president — who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq — expressed unequivocal support for Bush.
“We have one single focus. And that is, we’re about to send our women and men to war. The president is the commander-in-chief. We voted to give him the authority to wage that war. We should step back and be supportive.”
Similarly, in a 2003 interview, Biden told Charlie Rose that he had believed “all along” that Saddam Hussein needs to be forcefully taken down and separated “from his weapons.”
Biden not only supported the Iraq war, he was one of its most vocal proponents in the United States Congress, according to CNN. His latest statements, according to the fact-check, are “highly misleading even under the most generous interpretation.”
This is not the first time Biden has made a false claim pertaining to his support for the Iraq war. The former vice president has previously made false and misleading statements about his record, repeatedly contradicting himself and his campaign team.
Joe Biden on 10/10/02 explaining his vote in favor of the Iraq War. pic.twitter.com/m1XXIsLQeu— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) March 1, 2019
On the campaign trail, Biden has alternated between acknowledging that he supported the war and claiming to have never supported it. When asked about the candidate’s responses, his team said he “misspoke” when discussing his record.
Biden has also maintained that he was opposed to “the way in which the war was conducted,” which — according to the fact-check — is not true either. Biden’s opposition to the war was minimal, as he had only criticized the Bush administration for the way it handled diplomacy.
Biden’s record has come under scrutiny since the beginning of the Democratic primary race. The former vice president’s closest competitor, Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — whose record shows he staunchly opposed the Iraq war — recently suggested that Biden has too much political baggage to win in 2020.