Vice President-elect Joe Biden is worried about the “exceedingly high expectations” the world community has for Barack Obama’s presidency.
He believes he and Obama must follow through with action to show how they’re different than George W. Bush, Biden told CNN’s Larry King Monday.
“I have been contacted by so many world leaders. Their expectation for Barack’s presidency is overwhelming,” Biden said. “They are so hungry to have an American leader who they think has a policy that reflects our stated values as well as one they can talk to.”
Vice president-elect Joseph Biden, seen here in October 2008, said in an interview airing Monday he was worried about soaring international expectations for Barack Obama’s presidency.(AFP/File/Robyn Beck)
At the same time, Biden expressed sympathy for Bush over the Baghdad shoe-throwing incident – a day after Biden and Vice President Dick Cheney traded shots on the Sunday shows. “I feel somewhat badly for him,” Biden said. “I think the incident in Iraq was – was unfortunate, that guy throwing the shoes. It was just uncalled for . . .and I think that President Bush and, unlike Vice President Cheney, is, upon reflection beginning to acknowledge some of the serious, if not mistakes, misjudgments that he made.”
Still, Biden made clear Obama must make a clean break with Bush polices past, starting with shutting down the U.S. terror prison at Guantanamo Bay, Biden said. He said Greg Craig, Obama’s incoming White House counsel, and other members of Obama’s team are working on a strategy for closing Gitmo.
By Carol E. Lee
“We’re in the process of drawing up plans right now,” Biden said. “It’s going to be complicated to do it. It’s going to take more than a few months. But close it we must.”
But Biden also signaled that there might be some flexibility in another key Obama campaign promise that world leaders are watching closely, bringing home troops from Iraq. Biden said troops would be out “within the next two years” — longer than President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign promise of within 16 months but “in the same ballpark,” Biden said.
He said Obama would have troops out more quickly than the Bush administration’s agreement with the Iraqi government, which calls for troop withdrawal by 2011.
One of the reasons for troop withdrawal in Iraq is because more combat forces are needed in Afghanistan, Biden said.
In the Middle East, Biden said an Obama administration is “going to invest every bit of capital we have in trying to bring about peace.”
Biden also discussed a range of topics:
• He said Illinois Gov. Rod Blagoyevich seems pretty guilty and should go. “I know in our system you are innocent until proven guilty, but those tapes that were released by the special prosecutor, excuse me, by the U.S. attorney seem incredibly, incredibly incriminating,” Biden said. “It’s a decision for the people of Illinois to make the legislature of Illinois to make, but from where I sit he looks like a guy who is not capable of governing.”
• Biden said he and Sen. John McCain are “still close.” “John has been incredibly graceful,” Biden said. “He is my friend.”
Biden Worried About Foreign Hopes, Expectations
Vice president-elect Barack Obama‘s presidency.said in an interview airing Monday he was worried about soaring international expectations for
Biden, who will be sworn in with Obama on January 20, also said he felt was beginning to admit “serious” misjudgments and took another swipe in a simmering spat with .
“You asked me earlier if I am worried about the exceedingly high expectations that people have for President Barack Obama,” Biden toldin advance excerpts of his interview with the talk-show host.
“I said domestically I wasn’t so worried about that but internationally I am,” Biden said, adding that foreign hopes….