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Gibbs defends Biden claim that Iraq is a great Obama achievement, though both men opposed it

Democrat vice president Joe Biden with Larry King on CNN 2-10-10

Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked during the daily White House briefing Thursday about VP Joe Biden's strange statement the previous night that the Iraq war was one of the young Obama administration "great achievements."

First reported here on The Ticket early Thursday, the oft-gaffe-prone Biden went on Larry King's CNN show and said:

I am very optimistic about -- about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government. 

The statement claiming credit for the ultimately favorable outcome in Iraq was striking to many. This is because:

a) Obama had opposed the war from the beginning,

b) both Obama and Biden opposed the U.S. troop surge of 2007 by President George W. Bush widely credited with producing the relative peace and stability to enable a U.S. exit,

c) both Obama and Biden predicted incorrectly that the troop surge would actually worsen sectarian strife there. Watch this Obama video interview from MSNBC in 2007:

d) Biden even proposed partitioning the country into separate areas, and

e) the status of forces agreement with Iraq that established the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal was negotiated by the preceding Republican administration long before Obama took the oath of office twice.

Other than that, however, the Obama-Biden team would seem to deserve all the credit. Perhaps former Vice President Dick Cheney will have something to say about his successor's claim during an appearance this Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week."

Gibbs showed no sign of giving another "There-Goes-old-Joe" shoulder shrug about Biden, who's in Washington state today for a Democratic fundraiser before taking the president's place at the Olympic Games opening ceremonies in Vancouver tonight.

Indeed, Gibbs claimed....

... that then Sen. Obama's outspoken and firm opposition actually helped cause the allied victory.

Here's the full exchange from the White House transcript:

Q Robert, the Vice President last night said that Iraq could end up being one of the President's great achievements. Given that the Vice President was in favor of a partial partition of the country and the President opposed the surge that helped stabilize it, how is that one of the President's great achievements?

MR. GIBBS: Well, putting what was broken back together and getting our troops home, which we intend to do in August of this year.Obama press secretary robert Gibbs

Q  But the Status of Forces Agreement to bring troops home was signed before the President took office.

MR. GIBBS: Something that -- something that I think the political pressure that the President, as a then-candidate, helped to bring about.

Look, I think that we will long debate Iraq. We will long debate whether at a very important moment in our efforts to root out terrorism particularly in Afghanistan and on that border region with Pakistan, whether we took our eye off the ball. 

I think historians will debate that long after we're gone. I think they will come likely to the conclusion that no single event took our eye off of what needed to be done in order to -- in order to occupy a country that, until we got there, didn’t have a single member of al Qaeda.

So, look, obviously -- look, the Vice President has been deeply involved in fixing the political process there so that elections can be held and so that our troops can come home as scheduled this summer.

Judging by the hundreds of comments on our Ticket item Thursday, most readers disagree with Biden and Gibbs. What's your call on this?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua / CNN; Alex Wong / Getty Images (Gibbs).

Comments () | Archives (35)

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You have to tip your hat to Gibbs.On most days he has to rewrite history to
defend the administration that we are a so destructively afflicted with.Biden
the clownesque poor excuse for VP is simply plagiarising Baghdad Bob.

R u kidding me? They're taking credit for Iraq now? Wow, politicians can really say whatever the hell they feel like no matter how dishonest it is. How can u honestly claim credit for Iraq Joe? Really. How can you do that? You did everything in your power to stop what worked! Same with you Barry! Unreal. One term Obama! Send him back to chicago

I am 79 yrs. old and follow politics. I have never been this mad at anything said by a politician. THIS MAN NEED TO RESIGN. My god this is beyond sane reason. That Obama picked him to be his president shows his judgement. THEY BOTH NEED TO RESIGN

The hypocracy of President Obama, Vice President Biden and Press Secreatry Gibbs is stunning and breathtaking.

Biden needs to drink his martinis after he goes on live T.V. Somebody on his staff get on that now!!

What a blithering idiot, or a wilfull liar. It is incredible that the administration which boldly ran against everything Iraq, now seeks all the credit for its success. I say this without regard to the wisdom of the war in the first place, but once we were there, these guys did nothing to help its success, and in fact the one word NEVER uttered by anyone in this crowd was "Victory." What a bunch of dirtbag liars. Gibbs is the Bagdad Bob of this group, and an utter assclown to boot.

Does that mean they inherited it?

you can't make this stuff up. i would not have believed the stupiity of it all if i hadn't seen it myself..and these morons want to make fun of palin?

The SUCCESS of the US Military in Iraq!!! Blame BUSH!!!

There’s your Hope and Change; Biden hopes you don’t notice he’s changed history

Yes. Ans Al Gore invented the internet also. Look. It is patently appairent that Onama and everyone who represents him wouldn't know the truth if it bit them on the nose. But mainstreet Americans do know. They know that Obama made claims prior to his election that were outright lies and now rather than admit he may have been wrong, he lies to defend his previous lies. This whole administration has no credibility. They simply cannot be trusted, period.

I just heard snippets of some Obama-head pundits trying to justify their taking credit. Oh my gosh! He did nothing but implement the plan Bush already had in place. And I don't think Obama put pressure on anyone to make the Bush plan happen. I wish someone would find prior news stories laying out what Bush said his plans were - long before the messiah came on the scene. What next - because we had no cases of smallpox, Obama is going to take credit for that?

They know they have the cover from their allies in the news business not to call them on it,and why would they? ALL of them painted anyone who asked questions during the campaigh a racist, so now that they see what a disaster this administration is they are playing the CYA game!. This administration gets worse by the day.

This is absolutely insane. Obama called Iraq a fiasco, and the troop surge a failure when he visited Tampa Florida for a 2008 campaign event.

Obama is so desperate for something under the "Accomplishments" column, he would actually claim ANY credit for Iraq?

Isn't that sort of like the loser in a tug-of-war trying to take credit for his oponent's victory ("If I hadn't slipped and fallen, he wouldn't have won, so I see this as a great accomplishment on my part!")

Yeah, that's about the speed of these Bozos (Obama, Biden and Gibbs aka Larry, Curly and Moe).

Andrew.. still miffed as to why the story - it is a news story - is not in the print edition of the LA Times. And this is really a good piece you did. Your link to the Corner at the National Review is just too priceless for the readers here to miss:

Obama's Great Achievement [Peter Kirsanow]

"In today's Morning Jolt, Jim Geraghty reviews some of the responses to Joe Biden's assertion that Iraq is one of the great achievements of the Obama administration.

Most of the commentators, including Rush, are astounded.

But relatively speaking, the administration's achievement is no more astounding than Bull Connor's passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Kruschev's reunification of Germany, or Jefferson Davis's preservation of the Union.

Consequently, a bit of perspective is in order."

If you take credit for the sunrise, you'd better have a good story lined up around sundown.....

Obama says "Someone find SOMETHING to claim as a success! Between Me, my appointees, my congressional leaders and my majority Congress... how is it I HAVE NOT HAD ONE MIRACLE APPRECIATED?"

And so, Idiot Joe reaches back to arguably the last Federal success and finds Iraq. "OOPs", he says "it was signed into agreement August 2008 by Bush".

But OBAMA and his (hench)men say... "Do not be afraid, for low, if we say it, it will become so".

And so, the loyal minion go out in the world and spread yet another lie.

Shame befall them, one and all!

This administration is deeply delusional.

When you are going to lie, make it BIG, right joe?

Lenin called those people who would believe Joe the "useful idiots". We had enough to elect Obama in 2008. Hopefully they have wised up.

There is something seriously wrong with the head of this administration. Barack Hussein Obama, Joe Biden, Robert Gibbs, Pelosi, and Reid are wrong. Wrong in their thoughts and political moves, wrong for this country.

I am thankful for Fox News. They do not hide the lies and faults of Obama like some other news outlets do. Thanks Fox News for reporting important correct news information.

P.S. Joe Biden is a fool.

I love it! They are learning from Sarah!

They just can't stop with the lies. Good grief!

Incredable! These cowards did every thing possible to surrender. Undaunted by thier public cowardice, our brave men and women gained victory. Now like thieves in the night Joe and circus clowns want to steal the Victors Crown? Incredible!

Lets give old Joe a break he can't remember when to blame Bush or take credit. It's all starting to blend together.

Hey Joe stand up and take a bow...

I wish I felt that these people live only in their own little world. BUT
Some still believe them. I wonder if things would be different if the demos hadn't started using our taxes to create demos on welfare.

I'd like to hear more details about "the Vice President has been deeply involved in fixing the political process there". Just how much time has he spent there and was he actually just overseeing things while others did the actual work of "fixing the political process" ?

Reading all these post I'd say, Obama is on his way to being one-term and done!!!

Just goes to show the intelligence of the American voter. Look what kind of people they put in charge of our country. Don't blame Obama or Biden, the American public got what they asked for. Goes to prove pure Democracy won't work.

This administration is in CCM - Constant Campaign Mode. Everything they have done/proposed is to ensure votes in the next election. Screw what is good for the country, we gotta get re-elected!

By the way, our country is insolvent. No one has told us yet, but we are.

What's my 'call' on this? Simply this: Mr Biden, and Mr Gibbs are among the most insane, or astonishingly guileless liars ever to walk upright.
Do they truly think that the electorate is either a) composed of brainless invertebrates, or b) so enamored of their Marxist-in-Chief, Mr Obama, that we will simply swallow all of their "Freedom is Slavery", "Obedience is Power" inversions of reality?
Say what you will about Messrs. Bush and Cheney (and, most people have). They pursued the Iraq war ineffectively through 2005-7. And then they pursued the surge, and won the day. Period. While Harry Reid, Obama and their ilk pronounced the battle lost. Tell me, how does one take credit for winning a war that one categorized as lost? Incredible.

The sunday morning interviews were just one more eloquent demonstration
of what a poor excuse forVp J.Biden is.Biden,Napolitano,Holder & salazar are of such sub-standard caliber as to make one speculate that Obama prefers to
appoint the type of people that appear so incompetent as to make him appear
as God's gift to the problem now is that when Biden is compared to Dick Cheyney,he comes out as credible as the clownesque Baghdad Bob.Biden is so clumsy in his VP role that his own son Beau is
beating a hasty retreat from the senate race for his dad'seat.I guess the feeling
in delaware is that people have had such a heavy dose of Biden amateurism,
that they are now afflicted with acute indigestion in regards to the Biden brand.

So, I opposed the Saints in the Super Bowl, but it turns out that they won, and that was because of my opposition, which is a great achievement in a game that I didn't play in. I just watched from the comfort of my non-white house a bunch of guys do their job. Politics = Ridiculous.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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