Joe Biden talks to Paula Zahn about Condi Rice... (many thanks to Krup at I'm Just Saying)...
PAULA ZAHN: And joining me now is the most powerful Democratic Senator, Joseph Biden of Delaware. So Senator, do you think Condoleezza Rice was truthful in her testimony before the Senate today?
BIDEN: I think she was evasive in her responses to Senator Boxer's questions about what I think was disinformation. She was literally correct when she said that the intelligence community, a portion of it, said those aluminum tubes were for a gas centrifuge system but, like others in the administration, she didn't point out that a significant portion of the intelligence community said no no, they're not for that purpose. But it was, to use the fancy word, it was disingenuous.
ZAHN: So Senator, you've found her disingenuous. Barbara Boxer your colleague basically said Dr. Rice's defense of the war "overwhelmed her perspective of truth". Isn't that going to be a problem for her?
BIDEN: Look. My standard is, if the person is, in my view, if the person is the President's choice, someone who has the competence intellectually and practically to do the job, then I err on the side of giving the president choice, so I will vote for her. But I wasn't particularly impressed by her performance today before the committee.
ZAHN: Senator, as we leave you tonight, I need some help with math here. You asked Dr. Rice a very pointed question about the number of Iraqi security forces that are really trained to do the job. She contended it was 120,000, you say based on your several visits to Iraq it's closer to 4,000. What are we talking about here?
BIDEN: In the field, if you ask any commanding officer over there, how many Iraqi military are ready to supplant an American force on the ground, you will get a number a heck of a lot closer to 4,000 than you will 120,000, and it's because we've had a really, really lousy training problem up until about three months ago when General Petraeus took over, and further because we have not taken advantage of the offers of the Egyptians, of the French even, and the Germans and others, to train Iraqi forces.
ZAHN: But Senator, we're talking about a 116,000 discrepancy here!
BIDEN: Absolutely positively.
ZAHN: So how can you support Dr. Rice if, in fact, her numbers are vastly different from yours? You don't believe her numbers!
BIDEN: Well, I believe her number in this regard. There are 120,000 people in uniform. Are they trained? No! Are they equipped? No! We are not winning in Iraq. The place is more dangerous. Unless there's a serious course change, we're in real trouble.
ZAHN: So how can you support her if she doesn't have a clear assessment of that?
BIDEN: Because that's the President of the United State's policy. You know, she's not the one that makes the policy. The President of the United States is saying the same things that she's saying. And the fact of the matter is I've never seen such concentration of power, within the White House and the Vice President's office, as I'm seeing now. Are they entitled to do that? Yeah! Is it a smart thing to do? No! Does it shut out other voices? Yeah! I think we're going in the wrong direction, I'm concerned about it, but, once she's Secretary of State, maybe there'll be a bit of an epiphany here. But I'm not counting on it.