"Biden Gets Pass for Saying He Was 'Shot At' in Iraq"
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." . . .
More examples here.
WASHINGTON — When Joe Biden tells voters he understands the threat posed by Afghan extremists, he dramatically illustrates one reason why: His helicopter was "forced down" on "the superhighway of terror." Actually, snow, not the enemy, persuaded the helicopter pilot to land and wait out a storm.
The Democratic vice presidential candidate has repeatedly left that part out, in an episode that Republicans hope will become an echo of Hillary Rodham Clinton's errant tale during the primaries of landing in Bosnia under sniper fire.
Biden has made a number of questionable statements recently that, viewed in isolation, might not amount to much. But this is a man whose first presidential campaign collapsed 20 years ago after he told a story about coal miners in his family that he lifted without credit from a British politician.
In a recent speech in Virginia coal country, Biden seemed to embellish his background once again. He declared, "I am a hard coal miner," which he's not and never has been. His spokesman, David Wade, said Biden was joking.
And looking back on his 1972 Senate campaign, he told Pennsylvania delegates at the Democratic convention that people from his hometown of Scranton, Pa., piled in up to 10 buses and drove to Wilmington, Del., to show him support. "Literally," he said, "there were hundreds of thousands of people." . . .
THE COAL SPIN: In a speech at a United Mine Workers fish fry in Castlewood, Va., on Sept. 21, Biden told the miners he is one of them. "Hope you won't hold it against me, but I am a hard coal miner — anthracite coal, Scranton, Pennsylvania, that's where I was born and raised," he said.
Biden mentioned his great-grandfather, a mining engineer who became a state senator in the early 1900s.
THE FACTS: Biden was born in Scranton, moved to Delaware at age 10 and has never had experience in the mines. His father worked in the oil business and ran a Delaware car dealership. . . .
"Judging by the laughter and applause, I think it was clear to everyone under the sun that they got the joke from this son of Scranton's coal country," Wade said. An AP reporter who covered the speech said Biden's claim came across as a genial if awkwardly self-deprecating effort to establish a bond with the miners — not a joke.