Citizens for Biden FEC: Citizens for Biden-2002
Biden04.com (unofficial site) August 11, 2003 Statement
Updated August 15, 2003During the 2002 cycle, Biden eschewed the positioning and politicking that other presidential prospects engaged in. He did not establish a leadership PAC or make the trips to Iowa and New Hampshire or do the rounds at various state conventions and JJ dinners. For the first six months of 2003 Biden continued to show few signs that he would launch a presidential campaign.
Nonetheless, a visitor to Biden's Senate offices in Washington in Spring 2002 could hardly help but note, prominently displayed right next to the main door, the framed cover of the December 1999 issue of Delaware Today with the cover story, "Will Sen. Joe Biden run for president again?" Paul Bedard writing "Washington Whispers" in the July 14, 2003 issue of U.S. News & World Report wrote, "A top Democratic official says that Delaware Sen. Joe Biden is at least 50-50 on joining 'and some days is 70-30.' A family member says it's closer to '80 percent' a go." Also in July Jack O'Toole, a Charleston, South Carolina consultant impressed by Biden's "serious foreign policy credentials and no-BS persona," took the initiative of launching a Biden '04 website. However on August 11, Biden issued a statement ruling out a presidential bid, saying that it would be "now too much of a long shot."
Democratic Leader on Foreign Policy
Biden is the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He served as chair from June 2001, when Sen. Jim Jeffords' switch to Independent gave Democrats control of the Senate, until the Democrats lost control of the Senate following the 2002 mid-term elections. Upon becoming chairman, Biden singled out as an area of particular concern "the Administration's objectives for a national missile defense." Biden stated, "This one issue alone promises to be the most important national security debate and decision in our lifetime, and it will have profound consequences for our children and generations to come."
The terrorist attacks of September 11 focused increased attention on international affairs; The New Republic's Michael Crowley referred to Biden as "the Democratic Party's de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism." While Biden supported President Bush in the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan, he did not hesitate to criticize the president's policies when he found fault with them. Thus in December 2001 he condemned Bush's decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty as "an incredibly dangerous one." In February 2002 he took the administration to task on global warming, stating that, "The policy announced by the Bush Administration returns to the voluntary, unilateral approach that has failed to produce results." On Afghanistan Biden has repeatedly stressed the need to "stay the course," insuring that a robust international security force remains in Afghanistan to help establish security. "If Afghanistan fails, we will pay a heavy price," he warned in an April 2002 op-ed.
In October 2002 Biden supported the resolution on Iraq. In a prescient op-ed co-written with Sen. Chuck Hagel that appeared in the April 6, 2003 Washington Post, Biden warned, "We need to make the peace in Iraq the world's responsibility, not just our own." Several months later when questions were raised about whether the Administration had hyped the case for war, the Biden said in a statement, "I still believe that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and that the war in Iraq was justified."
Biden, who chaired the Judiciary Committee from 1987-95, is also ranking member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Corrections and Victims' Rights. He sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
"Champion of the Rails"
Amtrak president George Warrington presented Biden with a "Champion
of the Rails" award in June 2001 and the American Passenger Rail Coalition
(APRC), a national association of railroad
equipment suppliers and rail businesses, presented him its "Rail Leadership
Award" in March 2002.
Political Notes: Sen. Biden did visit Manchester,
NH on March 25, 2001 at the invitation of state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro.
at the Manchester Democratic committee's 4th annual St. Patrick's breakfast
($25/plate fundraiser), marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade, and visited
the VA Hospital.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- The Senate has generally
not proven to be a good base from which to run a presidential campaign.
Photo Caption: Sen. Joe Biden makes a point during a May 1, 2001 event in front of the Capitol.
Copyright © 2001, 2002 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action