Vice President Joe Biden has made the same point three times this week: Republicans aren’t the “enemy.”
That line just so happens to contrast with what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, memorably said at last week’s CNN debate.
Asked which “enemy” she is proudest to have made, Clinton listed several special-interest groups, Iran, and the Republican Party.
“In addition to the NRA, the health-insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans,” she said to laughter.
But Biden clearly disagrees:
- “I still have a lot of Republican friends. I don’t think that my chief enemy is the Republican Party. This is a matter of making things work,” Biden said at a Tuesday event honouring former Vice President Walter Mondale.
- “The other team is not the enemy,” Biden said at another Mondale event on Tuesday, according to CNN. “If you treat it as the enemy there is no was we can ever ever solve the problems we have to.”
- “Darrell Issa, not a Republican friend of mine, he’s a friend. I don’t consider Republicans enemies, they’re friends,” Biden said Monday during a climate-change speech, referring to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California). “Even Darrell Issa said that this is how every government program should be administered.”
Biden is mulling a late entry into the Democratic presidential primary, and speculation about whether or not he’ll leap into the fray is reaching a breaking point. Several reports have already suggested that his decision would have been revealed by Wednesday morning, but he has yet to signal his intentions.
However, Biden has repeatedly stoked the speculation by subtly contrasting his potential candidacy with Clinton’s existing campaign. In addition to stressing bipartisanship, Biden appeared to take another indirect shot at Clinton at one of the Mondale events on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
He noted that he had flown more than 1 million miles as vice president to speak with world leaders. It just so happens that Clinton’s own mile-tally is 956,733. And he drew another contrast between the office of the vice presidency and the secretary of state.
“We’ve had two great secretaries of state,” he said, “but when I go, they know that I am speaking for the president. There is nothing missed between the lip and the cup. Whatever I say, the president is saying.”
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