When Hillary Clinton told a tall tale about “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia, she was accused of “inflating her war experience” by rival Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign.
But the campaign has been silent about Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, telling his own questionable story about being “shot at” in Iraq.
“Let’s start telling the truth,” Biden said during a presidential primary debate sponsored by YouTube last year. “Number one, you take all the troops out – you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die.”
But when questioned about the episode afterward by the Hill newspaper, Biden backpedaled from his claim of being “shot at” and instead allowed: “I was near where a shot landed.”
The senior senator from Delaware went on to say that some sort of projectile “landed” outside a building in the Green Zone where he and another senator had spent the night during a visit in December 2005. The lawmakers were shaving in the morning when they felt the building shake, Biden said.
“No one got up and ran from the room-it wasn’t that kind of thing,” he told the Hill. “It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head.”
The rest of the press ignored the flap at the time because Biden was viewed as having little chance of ending up on the Democratic presidential ticket. But even after Biden was selected to be Obama’s running mate last month, his claim to have been “shot at” drew no scrutiny from the same reporters who had savaged Clinton for making a similar claim that turned out to be false.
FOX News has been asking the Obama campaign for details of the alleged shooting in Iraq ever since Biden was tapped to be vice president. Biden campaign spokesman David Wade promised an answer last week, but failed to provide one.
Meanwhile, the gaffe-prone Biden has again raised eyebrows with another story about his exploits in war zones – this time in Afghanistan. Biden said he will grill Republican rival Sarah Palin in Thursday’s vice presidential debate about “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down.”
“If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” Biden bragged to the National Guard Association. “Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”
But it turns out that inclement weather, not terrorists, prompted the chopper to land in an open field during Biden’s visit to Afghanistan in February. Fighter jets kept watch overhead while a convoy of security vehicles was dispatched to retrieve Biden and fellow Senators Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.
“We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to,” joked Kerry, a Democrat, to the AP. “Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.”
Biden never explicitly claimed his chopper had been forced down by terrorists. Nonetheless, John McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said Obama-Biden officials have been less than forthcoming about Biden’s dramatic war stories.
“They never explained Biden’s helicopter story from last week – which is very similar to the story about getting ‘shot at’ in Baghdad,” Rogers said.
When will they every learn, when will they ever learn.