Vice President Joe Biden is the only Democrat more certain to run for president than former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and she didn’t do anything to boost his candidacy in her account of serving with him during President Obama’s first term.
Clinton puts Biden in an especially bad light while discussing one of the biggest foreign-policy decisions of Obama’s first term. While noting that she and Biden disagreed in 2009 about whether to send more troops into Afghanistan, Clinton reveals her potential 2016 rival’s reasoning. “He didn’t think the Taliban could be defeated, and he believed that sending more U.S. troops was a recipe for another bloody quagmire,” Clinton writes in Hard Choices. ”Instead, the Vice President argued for a smaller military footprint and a focus on counterterrorism.”
Still, Clinton wasn’t as hard on Biden as former defense secretary Robert Gates, who in his recent memoir described Biden as “wrong on nearly every major foreign-policy issue” of the last 40 years. For instance, Clinton allowed that she and Biden were both “concerned that we not be seen as pushing a longtime partner pout the door” when Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak lost power.
More generally, Clinton praised Biden for his “wealth of international experience” and good manners. “Always a gentleman, he would meet me at the car and walk me to a sunny nook off the porch, where we would eat and talk,” she said, setting the scene for their weekly meetings. “Sometimes we agreed, sometimes we disagreed, but I always appreciated our frank and confidential conversations.”