1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Biden tears up discussing Iraq casualties

  1. Closed captioning of: Biden tears up discussing Iraq casualties

    >>> biden is wrapping up his final visit to iraq before the u.s. military withdrawal at the end of this year. ann traveled to baghdad with the vice president and sat down with him for an exclusive interview.

    >> reporter: how secure can iraq really be when you, as a vice president, still must arrive under the cloak of darkness, under heavy security?

    >> there still are concerns here in iraq but if you take a look at it, ann , violence is down to an all-time low, all the way back to 2002 . we're in a situation where it's been that way for the last year and a half, but there are still the one-off jobs that can occur.

    >> there was one just this morning.

    >> yes.

    >> car bomb with casualties.

    >> right. and, you know, also there are car bombs in europe. there are car bombs throughout the middle east . there's car bombs -- i mean, it is -- but the idea that there is a sufficient capacity to bring down this government, to fundamentally alter this democratic process that's under way, that no longer exists.

    >> reporter: do you worry that in the rush to fulfill a campaign promise, the obama administration is pulling out of iraq too soon?

    >> this is no rush, ann . eight years. this is no rush. over 4,500 dead, 30,000 wounded. this is no rush. it's three years since we took office almost. we've done this in a way that no one thought could be done. 144,000 troops when we took office. now in a position with highly trained iraqi military , training their police force . this is no rush.

    >> in a war that was started to protect the world from weapons of mass destruction that were never found, can the united states claim victory?

    >> we're not claiming victory. what we're claiming here is that we've done the job our administration set out to do, to end the war we did not start, to end it in a responsible way, to bring americans home, to end the le bleeding both financially and physically that this war has caused, and to leave in place the prospect of a trained military, a trained security force , under democratic institutions, where the disparate parties are, for the first time, in generations, actually working together. it's not done yet, but there is real hope.

    >> reporter: what is to prevent iran from moving in as the u.s. moves out?

    >> there is no possibility of them having the capacity without the world reacting -- not just the united states -- the world reacting -- if all of a sudden iran was to move across its border and invade any other countries in the region.

    >> you said in your senate farewell speech , quote, personal relationships is the one thing that unlocks the true potential of this place.

    >> i believe that.

    >> reporter: has president obama done enough? has he been effective in creating the personal relationships required to lead this country?

    >> he has tried very, very hard. he's tried repeatedly with the speaker. he has tried with the leaders in the united states senate . he meets regularly with the leadership of both. i think most of my republican colleagues would say and have said that i have strong personal relationships with them. and yet nothing has moved. and the reason is, this is not your father's republican party . the republican party is sort of trying to find its soul. so i don't think it's personal relationships. i think it's the ability to get a consensus in the republican party through the republican leadership.

    >> you have not yet closed the door on 2016 . are you ready to do that today? are you running for president?

    >> i am never ready to close the door on anything. that is a foolish thing to do. i learned a long time ago. my dad had an expression. he said, joe, remember, never argue with your wife about anything that is going to happen more than a year from now, and don't make decisions about anything that is going to happen more than a year from now. i am intent on re-electing barack obama president of the united states of america . the rest will take care of itself.

    >> reporter: when you look in your son's face, a young man who served in this country, served for the united states in its war in iraq , and you go back to him representing all of the thousands of young men and women who have risked their lives, died, lost their friends, what do you say?

    >> first of all, i say, i'm so damn proud of you. i am so incredibly proud of him and these kids, and i say it mattered. they straightened out a situation that they inherited. they did it in a way that this is in my view the greatest generation . this isn't the x generation. this is the exceptional generation. they are amazing. you know, when bo came home after a year, obviously there was an overwhelming sense of joy and relief, but there was this -- all i could think of was those fallen angels whose parents were in dover to recover their child. i'm sorry. this -- anyway, i say to them, be proud of what you did for your country, be proud of the example you showed the world, and, most of all, be proud of how you protected your fellow soldiers.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 12/1/2011 8:02:38 AM ET 2011-12-01T13:02:38

Vice President Joe Biden may be focused on President Obama's re-election, but he has not ruled out his own presidential bid in 2016.

  1. Stories from
    1. Sharon Stone Spotted Kissing David DeLuise (PHOTOS)
    2. New Target Ad Features Adorable Toddler with Down Syndrome
    3. The Best Celeb Food Photos of the Week From Jenny & Donnie, Blake & More
    4. How to Get on Taylor Swift's Christmas List
    5. Why 2014 Was an Awesome Year to Be Royal

Biden spoke exclusively with TODAY’s Ann Curry early Thursday morning from Iraq, where he's meeting with officials and troops. Curry asked if a run at the Oval Office was in his future.

Video: Biden tears up discussing Iraq casualties (on this page)

“I am never ready to close the door on anything,’’ he said. “That's just a foolish thing to do. I learned a long time ago. My dad used to say (that) to me especially. He said, ‘Joe, remember, never argue with your wife about anything that's going to happen more than a year from now, and don't make decisions about anything that's going to happen a year from now.’

“I am intent on re-electing Barack Obama President of the United States of America. The rest will take care of itself.’’

A run in 2016 would pit Biden against a Republican party that he feels has changed.

“I think most of my Republican colleagues would say and have said that I have strong personal relationships with them, and yet nothing has moved,’’ Biden said. “The reason is this is not your father's Republican party.
“The Republican party is sort of trying to find its soul. I think it's the ability to get a consensus of the Republican party through the Republican leadership.”

Biden is in Iraq as military operations enter their final days there after eight years.

Video: Biden reconfirms troop withdrawal from Iraq

“We're not claiming victory,’’ he said. “What we're claiming here is that we've done our job — ending the war we did not start, to end it in a responsible way, (and) to bring Americans home. (We want to) end bleeding both financially and physically that this war has caused, and to leave in place, the prospect of a trained military, a trained security force within democratic institutions. It's not done yet, but there's real hope.’’

Bringing the troops home from Iraq was a key Obama campaign promise, and Biden defended the administration's timing.

“This is no question,’’ he said. “Eight years. This is no rush. Over 4,500 dead. Thirty-thousand wounded. This is no rush. We've done this in a way that no one thought could be done.’’

While US forces have trained an Iraqi police force and an Iraqi military, safety is still no guarantee. Biden had to arrive in darkness accompanied by heavy security, and a car bombing that caused casualties occurred Wednesday.

“There's still concerns here in Iraq,’’ Biden said. “Violence is down to an all-time low. Go all the way back to 2002. We're in a situation where it's been that way for the last year-and-a-half, where still, the one-off job can occur.

TODAY
Ann Curry sat down with Biden exclusively on Thursday morning.

“The idea that there is a sufficient capacity to bringing down this government and all democratic processes, that no longer exists.’’

There also is concern that Iran could move in to take control of Iraq shortly after the US military moves out.

“There is no possibility of them having the capacity without the world reaction,’’ Biden said. “Not just the United States, (but) the world reacting if all of a sudden Iran was to move across its border and invade any of the countries in the region.’’

Biden’s own son, Beau, is a member of the military and has served in Iraq. The vice president became emotional when expressing gratitude for the troops.

“I’m so incredibly proud of him, and these kids,’’ Biden said. “It mattered. They straightened out a situation that they inherited. This is, in my view, the greatest generation. This isn't the ‘X’ generation. This is the exceptional generation.

“They’re amazing. I say to them, ‘Be proud of what you did for your country, be proud of the example you showed the world, and most of all, be proud of how you protected your fellow soldiers.’’’

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments