Former vice president Joe Biden’s vote for the Iraq War in 2002 could hurt him among Democratic Party primary voters, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning.
The poll found that “nearly 3 in 10 Democrats said they were turned off by his Iraq War vote, and more than 40 percent of participants between the ages of 18 and 29 said his record on the issue made them less likely to support him,” Politico reported.
Then Sen. Biden (D-DE) voted to authorize the use of force, then became a vocal critic of the war. He even proposed partitioning Iraq into separate countries — an approach President George W. Bush rejected when he directed the “surge” in 2007, which succeeded in stabilizing the country (until President Barack Obama ordered a hasty withdrawal from the country, leading to the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” and the renewal of war there.)
Politico notes that Biden has the most foreign policy experience of any candidate in the Democratic field — a familiar talking point that was advanced in Biden’s favor in the 2008 presidential election, both as a candidate and as Obama’s running mate. Critics pointed out, however, that Biden has been wrong, or at least inconsistent, on nearly every foreign policy issue of any consequence during his long career in the Senate.
For example, Biden voted against the first Gulf War in 1991, but pushed for the bombing of Serbia in the late 1990s — a role for which he later appeared to apologize as vice president, when he traveled to the country and offered condolences to those who lost their lives in NATO bombing. (Biden was greeted with chants of “Vote for Trump!”)
Biden also developed a habit, like Hillary Clinton, of telling tall tales about his foreign policy experiences. He claimed in his biography, Promises to Keep (p. 266), to have told Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to his face, “I think you’re a damn war criminal and you should be tried as one,” though eyewitnesses disputed his account. In 2008, Biden — then the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — he claimed that his helicopter had been forced down by Taliban fire over Afghanistan; the real cause was a snowstorm.
A self-styled friend of Israel, Vice President Biden triggered an international crisis in 2010 when he condemned an Israeli government decision to build apartments in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. The episode was a key step in the Obama-Biden effort to create “distance” between the U.S. and Israel.
Biden’s vote for the Iraq War was the single most damaging issue to use against him — even more than his treatment of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, the poll found.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is most threatened by Biden’s surge in the polls, has drawn attention to Biden’s Iraq vote, Politico notes.
The Politico poll was conducted among 1,995 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2%.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.