Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden pushed-back against allegations he misstated multiple facts regarding his visit to Afghanistan this week; saying the details of the trip “are irrelevant.”
“That has nothing to do with judgment of whether or not you send troops to war, the judgment of whether you bring someone home, the judgment of whether you decide on a healthcare policy,” Biden told NPR following a series of speaking gaffes on the campaign trail in recent weeks.
“The details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making,” he added.
“I campaigned like the devil for Hillary, but Hillary had different positions than the president had, and she emphasized different aspects of what would have occurred had I been the nominee,” said Biden. “That doesn’t mean I would’ve won. I don’t mean that.”
The controversy began at a campaign stop in Hanover, New Hampshire, where the democratic presidential hopeful captivated an audience of more than 400 attendees; sharing with them a personal story about his trip to the Kundera province in Afghanistan in 2008. The only problem? The story wasn’t true.
“The Navy captain, Biden recalled Friday night, had rappelled down a 60-foot ravine under fire and retrieved the body of an American comrade, carrying him on his back. Now the general wanted Biden to pin a Silver Star on the American hero who, despite his bravery, felt like a failure,” according to CTPost.
“He said, ‘Sir, I don’t want the damn thing!” Biden said, his jaw clenched and his voice rising to a shout. ‘Do not pin it on me, Sir! Please, Sir. Do not do that! He died. He died,’ adds the report.
Biden continued, “This is the God’s truth. My word as a Biden.”
“Almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened,” reports the CTPost.
On numerous occasions Biden has told this story, and it appears he plays loose and fast with the facts. The time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch, the rank of the recipient – even his own role in the ceremony – all subject to change.
Read the full report here.
AXELROD ON BIDEN: ‘He Either Can Cut It, Or He Can’t’
Democratic strategist David Axelrod weighed-in Thursday on Joe Biden’s potentially reduced campaign schedule; saying “this is bad advice” and claiming the former Vice President can “either cut it or he can’t.”
“This is bad advice. You can’t cloister the candidate and win. He either can cut it or he can’t, and the only way he can prove he can is to be an active and vigorous candidate. He’s running for president of the United States, for God’s sake!” posted Axelrod on social media.
This is bad advice. You can’t cloister the candidate and win.
He either can cut it or he can’t, and the only way he can prove he can is to be an active and vigorous candidate.
He’s running for president of the United States, for God’s sake!https://t.co/SCZmqVYapF
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 15, 2019
Allies and political insiders close to Joe Biden are reportedly telling the former Vice President to scale back his campaign stops and speaking events; hoping the reduced schedule will minimize future speaking gaffes.
“Allies to Joe Biden have been floating the idea of altering the former vice president’s schedule in an effort to reduce the gaffes he has made in recent days,” reports The Hill. “The allies, growing increasingly nervous about Biden’s verbal flubs, have said it’s an approach that’s been suggested to campaign officials on the heels of the former vice president’s stumbles.”
“He needs to be a strong force on the campaign trail, but he also has to pace himself,” said one insider.
“I think you’ll see the same schedule and maybe even more Joe Biden,” one ally said. “Everyone wants to see Joe Biden be Joe Biden. If he’s held back in any way, that’s almost the antithesis of who he is.”
“I think it’s the wrong approach,” they added.
“Joe Biden has spoken his mind his entire life, which voters know and love about him,” said Biden’s deputy campaign manager. “He’s a real person, he’s authentic, and that will never change. He’s going to keep taking on Trump and making the case to voters about the stakes we face in this election, regardless of how the press chooses to cover him.”
President Trump routinely refers to Biden as “sleepy Joe.”
BIDEN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: ‘I’ve Been to Vermont a Number of Times, I love This Place'
Former Vice President Joe Biden continued his gaffe-riddled campaign over the weekend; telling supporters in New Hampshire he’s been to Vermont a “number of times” dating back to 2014.
“I’ve been here a number of times…I love this place. Look, what’s not to like about Vermont in terms of the beauty of it?” Biden told reporters.
Biden, who is in New Hampshire, thinks he is in Vermont
At some point, the media is going to have to stop calling this "gaffes" https://t.co/Dhno1WN2rU
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 24, 2019
Biden made a similar mistake just days ago, telling a packed audience the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr occurred in “the late ‘70s.”
“Just like in my generation, when I got out of school, when Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had been assassinated in the ’70s, the late ’70s when I got engaged … ,” Biden recalled.
The two leaders were killed two months apart in 1968.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 21, 2019
Biden is facing more campaign issues this week; with analysts saying his fundraising efforts have “tumbled” since a series of gaffes on the campaign trail.
“Joe Biden raised $4.6 million online on his first day in the 2020 presidential race, surprising doubters who thought the former vice president couldn’t run a modern campaign. But since then Biden’s online fundraising has tumbled — looking more like flash-in-the-pan opponent Beto O’Rourke than top-tier rivals like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren,” reports Politico.
“More than 60 percent of the $13.2 million Biden has raised online came in the first week of his campaign, which launched in late April, according to a POLITICO analysis of data from the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue. While other top candidates spiked early and then gradually raised more money online as the 2020 campaign has carried on, Biden’s pattern is similar to O’Rourke, who roared into the race with millions raised in his first day but has trickled off since then,” adds the website.