Biden Contradicts Himself on MTP; Unchallenged By Brokaw

September 7th, 2008 9:39 AM

Joe Biden appeared this morning on Meet the Press, moderated by Tom Brokaw. In the opening series of questions, Brokaw probed Biden about the effect of Governor Sarah Palin's inclusion in the presidential campaign.

Brokaw asked generally how Biden would handle his upcoming debate with Palin, underscoring his question with the premise that it might be a delicate situation debating a woman. Biden responded with a rambling answer in which he stated that he debates women all the time in the U.S. Senate and had previously run against a formidable female opponent in one of his Delaware Senate races. Biden went on to say that he would have an easier time debating vice presidential runners-up Tom Ridge and Mitt Romney since he was familiar with their policy positions. Biden said he did not know Governor Palin's policy positions (video here).

BIDEN: ... what is new is I have no idea what her policies [are]. I assume they're the same as John's. I just don't know. 

Biden further claimed he had not seen Palin's entire RNC speech (only the ending).

Literally seconds later, the questioning turned to Palin's immediate ability to energize the Republican base - and in particular to draw women to the campaign. Biden repeated the standard party line that Palin's policies were generally out of touch with many women, and in particular she was opposed to the policies of Senator Hillary Clinton.

BIDEN: ... I think it's kind of ... um ...demeaning to suggest that all women are going to vote for a woman just because she's a woman even when she is diametrically opposed to everything Hillary stands for. I mean ... I hear this talk about, you know, is she going to pick up Hillary voters. Well ... I ... so far I haven't heard one single policy position ... one single position that she has in common with Hillary.

Two points. First, it is implausible (and in fact political malpractice, to borrow a term) to consider that Joe Biden does not know Sarah Palin's policy positions nine days after she was tapped by John McCain. Has Biden not watched any television in the meantime? And if he has not yet boned up on his counterpart's policy positions, then when is he going to get around to it?

Secondly, Biden contradicted his own alleged ignorance about Palin's policy positions by almost immediately claiming that those same policy positions were "diametrically opposed" to those of Senator Hillary Clinton.

And most significantly, Brokaw did not challenge Biden on either point.