Although the media were quick to focus on the political brawling between front-runners Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., at the democratic debate last Thursday in Las Vegas, several observers found an unexpected victor at the debate — Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del.
On the current crisis in Pakistan, Biden outlined the problems facing the Bush administration and its relationship with world’s second-largest Muslim country.
“The Bush administration’s ‘Musharraf First’ policy was understandable at first. Musharraf had broad support, and in the wake of 9/11 he seemed committed to the fight against al Qaida,” Biden said. “Six years later, the general is diverting his military, his policy, and his intelligence assets from the fight against the terrorists to a crackdown on his political opponents.” Biden has suggested that the United States focus directly on the Pakistani people or what he calls the moderate majority.
Jumping at a rare opportunity for press attention, Biden summarized the sense of urgency behind his candidacy: ”This is not about experience. It’s not about change. It’s about action. Who among us is going to be able to, on day one, step in and end the war? Who among us understands what to do about Pakistan? Who among us is going to pick up the phone and immediately interface with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and lay off Georgia because (President Mikhail) Saakashvili is in real trouble? Who among us knows what they’re doing? I have 35 years of experience,” the senator said.
Though he does have a wealth of experience, Biden is lacking in two areas, crucial to any presidential campaign: money and poll ratings. The Washington Post recently noted that Biden may become the latest presidential candidate to apply for federal matching funds.
An e-mail the Senator sent to reporters titled “Double your impact!” suggests he is considering just that. This would provide public financing to match up to $250 worth of individual contributions.
Despite low polls and little finances, Biden continues to compete for the presidency. The latest campaign tactic heralded on his Web site is a compilation video from the Vegas debate. The clip highlights a united theme from the night, one all candidates could agree on, aptly titled “Joe is Right.”