Only Joe Biden Could Oversell the Bin Laden Raid

More

The latest relapse of foot-in-mouth disease, a chronic condition he's suffered for years, came at a New Jersey fundraiser.

Joe Biden - Larry Downing Reuters - banner.jpg

Reuters

Joe Biden is back on the fundraising trail just in time for election 2012. And he hasn't lost his uncanny ability to summon rhetoric so disadvantageous to his purposes that it's beyond parody.

On Monday night, his subject was the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Remarkably, he managed to oversell and undersell it at the same time:
 

You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there. Do any one of you have a doubt that if that raid failed that this guy would be a one-term president? This guy is willing to do the right thing and risk losing.

On one hand you've got Biden declaring the bin Laden raid more audacious than the D-Day landing, to pick just one example. And at the same time, he's saying that Obama ordered a secret incursion into an unstable, nuclear-armed country, with all the potential risks and costs it entailed, even though the available odds suggested that the mission was more likely than not to fail. Either he's got his facts wrong, which is itself discrediting, or he's made two statements that make me trust the judgment of the Obama/Biden team less than I did when he started talking.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In