May 15, 2008 C-SPAN
In Israel Bush Compares Obama To Hitler Appeasers
May 15, 2008 CNN
John Kerry Responds To Bush’s Hitler Comment
May 15, 2008 MSNBC
Joe Biden On Bush’s Hitler Comment
May 15, 2008 MSNBC HARDBALL
Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) on President Bush’s speech in Israel today:
“This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset … and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
Speaking before the Knesset, Bush said that “some people” believe the United States “should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.”
“We have heard this foolish delusion before,” Bush said. “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
Democrats have interpreted the comments as an attack on Sen. Barack Obama, and Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the president was out of line.
“He is the guy who has weakened us,” he said. “He has increased the number of terrorists in the world. It is his policies that have produced this vulnerability that the U.S. has. It’s his [own] intelligence community [that] has pointed this out, not me.”
Biden noted that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have both suggested that the United States ought to find a way to talk more with its enemies.
“If he thinks this is appeasement, is he going to come back and fire his own cabinet?” Biden asked. “Is he going to fire Condi Rice?”
In a separate statement, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said that Bush “is still playing the disgusting and dangerous political game Karl Rove perfected, which is insulting to every American and disrespectful to our ally Israel. George Bush should be making Israel secure, not slandering Barack Obama from the Knesset.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also weighed in.
“Not surprisingly, the engineer of the worst foreign policy in our nation’s history has fired yet another reckless and reprehensible round,” said Reid. “For the President to make this statement before the government of our closest ally as it celebrates a remarkable milestone demeans this historic moment with partisan politics.”
The White House insists that Bush wasn’t referring specifically to Obama, an argument that Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) called “baloney.”
“There is no escaping what the president is doing,” said Durbin, who supports Obama. “It is an attack on Sen. Obama’s position that we should not be avoiding even those we disagree with when it comes to negotiations and diplomacy.”
Durbin called Bush’s remarks “unfair and really unfortunate.”
UPDATE: In a conference call with reporters later in the afternoon, Biden said his initial word choice was “not very eloquent” and said he should have just stuck with the word “malarkey.” Biden said he “reacted viscerally” when asked about Bush’s speech after stepping off an elevator.
However, Biden again did not mince words when discussing Bush’s remarks, accusing the president of engaging in “long-distance swiftboating” with his speech in Israel. Biden also cited numerous examples of the Bush Administration reaching out to unfriendly regimes in Libya, North Korea and Iran, arguing that Bush’s insinuation that the Democrats were soft on terrorism was “truly delusional … and truly disgraceful.”