On The Trail With Joe Biden
This message comes from n._p._r. Sponsor i._b._m. Smart is open open is smart i._b._m. Is combining their industry expertise with with the open source leadership of red hat. Let's unlock the world's potential. Let's put smart to work learn more at i._b._m. Dot com slash red hat ed. Hey there. It's the n._p._r. Politics podcast. I must call it all summer long. We've been taking you on the road. As we interview the twenty twenty democratic presidential candidates this series is a collaboration with the public radio and new hampshire public radio which is why on labor day. I met up with iowa public radio host klay masters in cedar rapids iowa where former vice president joe biden was campaigning. Hey klay osma. Welcome back to iowa again back here yet again. We're united at a couple of labor day picnic here and explain to us exactly where we are because i see a whole bunch of antique cars in that drake chain <hes> a bouncy house a couple of houses right behind hotdogs and brought worsts inside. We're at a labor day picnic in cedar rapids. Iowa hawkeye downs speedway. This is a chance for iowans to meet some presidential candidates while they're here checking out the antique cars and having a hot dog and this is not one of those events where you're gonna hear. A lot of speeches from candidates just folks what shaken hands meeting voters. It looks like and everywhere you see vice president joe biden. There's a whole bunch of reporters tagging along to meet him. You have a whole bunch of people who just want what to say. Hello to the former vice president. One woman even wanted him to cipher cast sign people. Thanks joe biden has been a top iowa's polls the first iowa poll that came out in december of two thousand eighteen. He was atop that pole a lot of that has to do with name i._d. Even because he was vice president of the united states for eight years so people are here <hes> enjoying the day maybe meet <music> somebody they may might wanna caucus for also just meet a former vice president and then i should not to that joe biden has run for president twice and that of course means that he has spent a lot of time on campaigning in iowa at a second labor day picnic in iowa city clay and i sat down with the former vice president. We asked him about trade and foreign policy. You may have heard the washington post recently reported that a dramatic story biden has been telling about the war in afghanistan conflated and confused facts from multiple different incidents. We asked him about that too. First of all mr vice president thanks for agreeing to be under the happy n._p._r. Politics podcast. This certainly isn't your first time in iowa. You've run for president in the past certainly spent a lot of time in iowa. What have you learned from the pastime when you've run well. I learned you hold the key to the kingdom. You can't get through iowa. You can't go any further and i've learned that the people were really informed and the really concerned about what's going on and i've found very realistic shin between i iowa new hampshire south carolina nevada and everywhere else because i've never seen the party as certain certain of the need to defeat incumbent president i mean that's the overarching. Everyone no matter where am talks about you you talk. Mr buys a lot about the obama biden record the obama biden administration and a lot of your agenda builds on that time and offices pisses well but voters had the chance to choose a third obama term in two thousand sixteen with hillary clinton and what do you mean by that was campaign campaign like the devil for hillary but hillary different positions than the president and she emphasized different aspects of what would have occurred had had. I been the nominee a than me and i would want it. Don't mean that but it is is not the same policy if you don't feel like that was a continuation. What do you feel that you're offering voters. There's now that's different than a continuation of the obama time. The world has changed. There's a great phrase. <hes> from the irish poet all's changed changed utterly. Terrible beauty has been born. Everything has changed not a joke. We're weren't facing anything that we're facing today with this president three years ago. When anywhere we're close the world was still basically nine in the united states still looked up to we had strong alliances. We knew who our enemies were. We knew who our friends were. You're we're in a position where we continue to support labor. We were in a position where we continue to support everything from this whole notion of the white supremacist taking ascendancy in this administration a totally different set of circumstances totally different and the meantime what president isan has done. He's also visceral education and access to education health for education. My dad used to have an expression say when someone compensate. His name was joe and they'd say job. Let me tell value and there's not not not a joke you look and say no. Don't tell me what you value. Tell me what your budget is. I'll tell you what you value i do so it's a fundamentally different set of circumstances. The next president is going to have to be able to pull together. Not a joke literally not not figuratively pull the world back together. Reunite our allies bring us into a situation where after world war two we set up the most oh significant set of alliances in world history of the world and they've been decimated former years or this president there will be no nato former years of this president will continue can you to have this god awful relationship going on with the dictators of the world between president united states tuten and kim jong un and what's going on in china china right now and so i just. I don't think there's anything remotely approaching is a continuation. It's a different set of but the same values bracken. I share the same value set it one of the things i'm proudest of. We went through our talking about it about six months ago. He was asked in a different four than i was but the same question on the same day. What are you proudest of. We went through an entire eight years about one single hint of scandal not what you said that you can work with republicans and get things done but at the same time i've heard you on the stump talking about how this isn't your father's republican party hardy. What makes you think that you can operate with the current republican party. When many of the people that you worked with in the senate are no longer there. A lot of them are still there. Though that's number number one number two you can work on things that did not have <hes> this sort of ideological edited for example on healthcare. Look what happened last time out. I was told that i went into twenty four states or sixty state sixty-seven whatever the number was candidates and we ran against him straight up on in healthcare. We ran flat against them. We won. We won back forty. One seats tom two thousand eighteen twenty eighteen cycle so look there are places where we can cooperate and there are places where in fact we're going to have to just go out and campaign on in the off year against the republicans who in fact disagreement agree with our approach. I wanna ask you about foreign policy. Because this is something that you have a lot of experience on it. You could say you have more experience than anyone of your democratic opponents in foreign policy policy from colin combined but some of your critics some of your rivals have said that the question your judgment on foreign policy and we'll point specifically mr vice the president to some of the decisions you made and in going to war with iraq but also in terms of handling withdrawal out of iraq. I am curious how you respond to questions about your judgment commended that space my record stand. I think my record has been a good. I think the vast majority of foreign policy community thinks it's been very good for example. I got a commitment from president. Bush was not going to go to war in iraqi. Look me in the eye in the oval office. He said he needed the vote to be able to get inspectors vectors in into iraq to determine whatnot <hes> saddam hussein was engaged in dealing with a nuclear program he got got demand and before we know we had shock-and-awe immediately that moment started. I came out against the war at that moment now the judgment of my <hes> trusting the president to keep his word on something like that that wasn't mistake. I apologize snap. We'll look what happened in the first meeting in the oval office. After after this occurred when we won when the president i president obama and i want we sat there and the entire national security team came in and said well we have a plan for iraq and the the president tournus enough johann lack work with joe so from that point on he gave me the objective of getting american combat troops out of iraq which we did and it was the right decision and but we also i was asked to help put together a coalition of sixty five countries to deal with al qaeda and i was able to do that that and so the point is that i'm not sure exactly what they're talking about. I know virtually every major world leader known by their first. I names are met with them with notable exceptions the new prime minister of england. I've never met look the next presence can have two on day one able to rally rally the world to deal with climate change. I came back and told the president after my long meetings were xi jinping in china that he's ready to join effort. Everybody thought i was crazy. It turns out. I wasn't crazy at all but the fact of the matter is that we have over one hundred eighty nations thereabouts. If you've got the final tally hundred ninety seven or whatever it is but we have upped the ante because we learn every day we learn more about the crisis we don't have the time we thought we had and so you have to be able to call all those nations together and president squandered his credibility with the vast majority of those nations and so we have to have someone who knows how to bring nations together and begin to change the attitude about how your climate change with much urgency for example or reconstructing nato it putting it back together idea that i show up at the munich conference. Angela merkel stands up and says to her european colleagues all the heads of state there. We gotta go too long. You can't count in the united states shortly after that pence gets up and says i'm here for the president dead silence. Now a single response i get up to speed you can talk to buy was asked by european leaders to talk about whether or not there's a different view on foreign policy in america and i gave my view on. It got overwhelming response so i mean i've dealt with these people. I i know them. I've done this before. It's <hes> it will be the first time for me. We're in iowa right right now. There's some bipartisan anxiety right now about the trade war with with china and tariffs what would a biden administration trade plan look like well number one the idea that we would have another trade agreement without environmentalists and labor sitting sitting at the negotiating table with us while not happen in a biden administration. They'll be required to be their number one number two. We should make a distinction between those things which are markets that we need and we've then our folks have developed like the iowa farmers for years and years developing the chinese market for grain and other things for a long time and china engaging activities are in violation of the w._t._o. In terms of dealing with dumping steel dumping products on american market and so you might very well conclude that you have to engage in a tariff for a a on steel but not a tariff on wieght and a and a cultural products but the bottom line is we're either going to write the rules for the international community on trade or they're written by china. I wanna ask you about something that you have been criticized for lately and that is sometimes putting your foot in your your mouth. You knew what i was going to say before. I ask the question and i was out with you last week. In south carolina speaking to a number of voters at your rallies and i will say most of your supporters that i talked to they don't seem to mind. They say that it's just happens to all of us. We all put our foot in our mouth. Do you not feel that the details details not just the intentions matter when you're making decisions as president or two fundamentally different questions you're asking me when i stand you guys love to conflate slate these things number one is i stood up and talked about pinning the medal on a young man who did not want the mental with a brave brave young man i also talked talked about up in the upper valley of a another young man who engaged in a very brave ac turns out. I'm leaving general rodriguez. Riggan was up on that for the ford operating base with only six or eight people up there and he pinned the bronze star on the young man up. There wasn't the young man who got the the medal of honor from president who in back was in a different place that was in afghanistan but not where i was and so the fact that the whole purpose what i was saying saying that not in any way affect my my point. They're incredibly brave. Decent honorable men and women in the military who in fact are like any other generation only even have done more. They've been they've settled up. They've gone out. They've wiped the blood off these humvees. They've got back out. Don't think out again they go out again and again again. I was making a point about a generation that has nothing to do with the judgment of what not you send troops to war the judgment whether you bring someone home the judgment of whether or not you decided to healthcare policy to pass judgment but details something i've heard from some voters. Maybe not at your events <music> details. The details are irrelevant in terms of decision. Making if in fact i forget that it was rodriguez of all the times i've been in and out out of afghanistan on iraq in bosnian coastal as much as anybody except maybe my deceased friend john mccain and maybe lindsey graham and so the fact that i would would forget that it was rodriguez who was pinning. I believe this is the case pending a bronze star on a young man. <hes> was a it's a relevant to the point is like saying i had this very bright reporter and i think our eyes were blue. What difference would it make about whether you were a bright reporter. Your is your brown irrelevant and you know it okay oregon and take a quick break but first some context those iraq war comments biden told us that he opposed the war in iraq from the moment it started but the reality is murky his campaign clarifies that he was critical of the bush administration strategy and intelligence ends failures early on but biden stood by his vote authorizing force in iraq for a while after the war began in public comments made months after the invasion. He said he would have voted the same way again. Biden publicly said his vote was a mistake as early as two thousand five but not immediately when the war began in two thousand three vaccine with more from our interview with former vice president joe biden support for this podcast and the following message come from the walton family foundation where opportunity takes root more information is available at walton family foundation dot org. There's more to watch and read these days than any one person can get too. That's why why we make pop culture. Happy hour from n._p._r. Twice a week we sort through the nonsense sherry actions and give you the lowdown on what's worth your precious time. Listen subscribe to n._p._r.'s pop culture happy hour and we're back and this is the point in the podcast when we generally ask candidates about their personal life years the rest of our conversation conversation with joe biden personally. What is a time when you have realized you were wrong about something and then had to own up to it well i. I think maybe when good question i think maybe when i met with all uh-huh parents survivors of sandy hook when that man took his mother's guns and gunned down those little babies asian children and they all came to washington. I met with him then as well. I was vice president then by the way i did meet with the folks from parkland up in the capital like i said but i was sitting. I wasn't sitting vice president. Who was the former vice president and it was up in the capital said so okay but the point is that they all came down. I realized what courage it took for them to show up just after having dealt dealt with burying their children and how i didn't have the courage after my wife in daughter were killed on my to spoi- your badly injured when a tractor trailer broadsided talk about highway safety i was on a committee that had to do at highway safety the size of trucks and so on so forth and i didn't have the courage i could not bring myself. I've only twice in my life seen the vehicle and both accidentally. I didn't ever want to look and see what the vehicle look like and i realized that i made a mistake. I wish i had the courage. I wish i had stepped up at a time. When maybe i could have done something to increase the safety on the highway because i remembered hitting me how just how much courage takes because every time something terrible has happened to you. Every time you talk about it. You relive it as if it happened yesterday and these parents are there just incredible mr vice president talking there about some of your family's tragedies. I know you're a man of faith and you've i've spoken about your faith quite a bit over the years. Has your faith ever been tested by your family's tragedies. I have to admit that right after after it happened when i got the phone call in washington <hes> that <hes> and the poor person the line headed tell me that my my wife and daughter dead and the poor kid didn't wanna do it. She didn't mean do is just remember walking out who is sitting in ted kennedy's office in the capital interviewing people he was a whipping the senate and i had to walk out and i walk through the rotunda and i remember looking up tennis our god why i got really angry. I shouted out in for the longest time. I had difficulty in our difficulty. Call you believe me. I <hes> i wrongly in my view. Everybody's different wrongly thought that <hes> i didn't know how why me why would he do this to me. How can it be a god. Let this happen but i remember one day years later i was i guess the point point. My dad was over at my home and i was talking about <hes> guess. I sounded like i must have been something must remind me in that moment. <hes> and i guess i was sounding like why may again and my dad went up to <hes> i think it was a hallmark card store in what this little frame a glass frames with seines inside them or cartoons. There's a cartoon of hagar the horrible i'm i'm not a big reader the funny papers but hey garbage standing on a rock in the middle of the ocean with his viking ship sinking and lightning from the sky he's being struck and he looks up and that framing looks he's looking guys and why me god in next frame same exact picture voice voiced reverend says why not my father gave me that i still have it on my desk and it is what's so special about me and jill when she he wants me to make sure i get something that get through to me. She wants to make a point. She'll take something on my mira <hes> that uh-huh shaming and years ago she put up my marriage to have it there. Kicker guard quote kirkegaard said faith sees best in the dark and for me. That's what i'm determined and so i i'm not judging anyone else's religious beliefs her faith but for me i i find solace and i look around so many people and you know people who've gone through what i've gone through more without any of the help i've had that ain't now today are millions of people got up went out and put one foot in front of the other just pure rock courage rich with no help at all. I think to myself my god. I had all these people who are there to help me and the idea that somehow oh. There's any special about what happened to me. Compared to the people have no help and that's what i try to keep in mind. It's it's relative in the lastly leslie. I believe they're still with me. I really do believe it and i believe i've learned from the first law major loss before los archambault. Is that <hes> you gotta find purpose. The way to get through tragedy is defined purpose and <hes> <hes> and so i <hes> i i get up in the morning. I get up in the morning and i hope my son bo is proud. Outta me because one of the reasons. I wrote the book promise me dad. He knew my instinct would be to <hes> to withdraw not that i wouldn't take care of the family but i draw and he insisted that that not be the case wasn't about running for president is that i would stay engaged and all the things does it matter to me my whole life and i still am i find purpose in that an it <hes> connects me to him and it <hes> but everybody has their own way to deal deal through tragedy but so many people through more than i've been through and get up every day and doing that was our interview with former vice president joe biden. It's part of our on the trail series with the twenty twenty democratic presidential candidates you could check out all of our other candy interviews by scrolling through your podcast feed we. We also want to let you know about caucus land. It's a podcast produced by iowa public radio that will tell you all about iowa's role in shaping the field for presidential candidates klay masters sisters and kate payne who you've heard in the series. We'll give you an in depth. Look at the iowa caucuses. You can find it at caucus land dot com and we'll be back in your feet soon the big thank you to klay masters and everyone at iowa public radio and new hampshire public radio for their partnership in this series and as always thank you for listening to n._p._r. Politics politics podcast.