Biden Says He Will Vigorously Challenge Palin on Issues
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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Biden said today that he will vigorously challenge his Republican counterpart Sarah Palin on the issues, but will refrain from personal attacks.
Mr. Biden made the remarks today in response to a question from a woman who attended his forum on national security and veterans issues in military-heavy Virginia Beach. The questioner said she realized it’s tricky for a male candidate to debate a woman but implored Mr. Biden to “please promise me you’ll go after her the same way….”
The rest of the question was downed out by applause and cheers.
“The way I was raised is: I never, ever, ever attack the other person,” Mr. Biden said, adding that probably was not what many his fellow Democrats want to hear. “I will take issue with her as strongly as I can.”
Mr. Biden said that has been his approach through 13 presidential debates.
“I’m not good at the one-line zingers. That’s not my deal,” Mr. Biden said.
Mrs. Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention was packed with zingers, and Mr. Biden said he was impressed with the way she delivered it.
“I think she’s going to be an incredibly competent debater,” he said.
However, he said he noticed Mrs. Palin never mentioned health care, education, or the middle class.
He said in response to another question that the middle class would be better off economically under Senator Obama than Senator McCain.
“Ninety-five percent of American households’ taxes will go down,” he said. “If you’re making $250,000 a year — and I hope you are — we don’t have a tax cut for you.”
At a town hall forum later at Manassas, Va., Jennifer Halpin of Leesburg, va., said, “I’m really tired of Republican pandering to women voters. … I think it’s preposterous for Republicans to think that just because they add any woman to the ticket, that we’re going to be dumb enough to turn into Stepford wives” and vote for the GOP ticket
Mr. Biden said in response, “Spoken like my wife, daughter, and sister.”
The senator was joined there by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who was a top contender for the spot on the ticket awarded to Mr. Biden. Mr. Kaine tweaked the Republicans for calling Mr. Obama an inexperienced, risky option.
“We can’t afford to put someone in the White House that says … ‘I don’t know much about economics anyway.’ That would be risky,” Mr. Kaine said, referring to an earlier statement by Mr. McCain professing a lack of economic knowledge.
Mr. Biden spoke to more than 150 people at the town-hall meeting, addressing economic issues. He complimented Alaska Governor Sarah Palin — though he mistakenly referred to her as lieutenant governor — for poise and impressively delivering her speech last night at the Republican convention, but said she and other GOP speakers failed to address Americans’ concerns about the faltering economy.
“They can’t explain eight years of economic decline hitting the middle class like a gut punch,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden had said earlier that he’d never known anyone more courageous than Mr. McCain, his longtime Senate colleague, but said Mr. Obama already has demonstrated better judgment on military and foreign policy matters. It’s a claim Mr. Biden has been making to counter Republican criticism about Mr. Obama’s lack of experience.
“Experience only matters if you couple it with judgment,” Mr. Biden said.
The chief of staff of the National Guard Association and one of six participants in the forum, Brigadier General David McGinnis, said he believes Mr. Obama is well qualified to be commander in chief because he has a strong grasp of strategy.
“He has a demeanor that is unbelievably cool,” General McGinnis said.
Mr. Biden also said the nation’s leaders have a “sacred obligation” to care for the soldiers they deploy and the ones who come home — an obligation he said the Bush administration has not met.