The McCain Campaign is chuckling over this exchange from Sunday:
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “He [Joe Biden] was on the Today Show. He opposed the bailout of AIG and then the Obama campaign the next day said there was no choice. Did Joe Biden make the same mistake that John McCain made?”
Austan Goolsbee: “Well, I would — we don’t have the transcript here, but I have read it and I would disagree a little bit. It was clear from the entire paragraph that Joe Biden was not saying he was opposing a bailout. What he was saying was that it’s not their first choice along the lines of where John McCain ended up and where Senator Obama was all along.”
Blitzer: “It was a pretty clear. I watched it that morning. It was pretty clear. He opposed the bailout, too, although, as you say, the position of the Obama campaign seemed to change based — assuming that Joe Biden speaks for the Obama campaign — it changed the next day, as well.”
Because they went back to the transcript:
NBC’S MEREDITH VIEIRA: “But now we have this mess, Senator. Do you think that AIG should be bailed out by the federal government?”
BIDEN: “No, I don’t think they should be bailed out by the federal government. I’ll tell you what we should do. We should try to correct the problems that caused this. And what’s caused this is the profligate tax cuts to the very, very wealthy that John wants to continue.” (NBC’s “Today,” 9/16/08)
So yes, Goolsbee’s “these words do not mean what everyone thinks they mean” argument is worth a chuckle. But how about Biden’s assertion that “the problem that caused this” is “tax cuts to the wealthy”? In what economics textbook does it say, “if you cut taxes on the wealthy, you will prompt one of the world’s largest companies to overvalue subprime mortgage-backed securities, causing a liquidity crisis”?
Why does Biden have the “wise man” reputation that he does? If you asked Biden why his oatmeal was cold, would he blame tax cuts for the wealthy?
UPDATE: In light of Biden’s comments, wouldn’t it be fair for Charlie Gibson to ask, “Senator Biden, are you on a mission from God to raise taxes?”