One of the biggest speeches Joe Biden has made thus far in his job as Vice President may best be remembered for one line.
While discussing President Obama’s foreign policy merits during an address at New York University on Thursday, the outspoken Biden promised those watching that the president “has a big stick.”
“President Obama has said, and I quote, “now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’” I promise you the President has a big stick. I promise you.”
Inadvertently awkward one-liners aside, the majority of Biden’s speech was centered around touting Obama’s accomplishments so far in office. As if reading off a checklist, Biden recounted Obama’s decision to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, rid the world of Libyan tyrant Moammar Gaddafi and end the War in Iraq.
In the process, he uttered another one-liner that may soon end up on a bumper sticker near you.
“Thanks to President Obama, bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”
The former Senate Foreign Relations Committee member also spent a considerable amount of time tearing down likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“We know Governor Romney reflexively criticizes the President’s policy and almost in every case without offering any specific alternative,” Biden said. “We know that when the Governor goes — does venture a position, it’s a safe bet that he previously took or is about to take an exactly opposite position — and an equally safe bet that he is going to end up landing in the wrong place and out of the mainstream of the thinking of Republican and Democratic foreign policy experts. We know that when he agrees with the President of the United States, as he has done, he then goes on to mischaracterize our record to create what is a non-existent contrast. And most importantly, we know that the extent that Governor Romney — to the extent he has shown any foreign policy vision, it’s through the glass of a rear-view mirror.”
Though Romney would certainly disagree, Biden called Obama’s foreign policy “strong and smart.” He later accused Romney of war-mongering.
“The only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran. If that’s what Governor Romney means by a very different policy, he should tell the American people. He should say so. Otherwise, the Governor’s tough talk about military action is just that — talk. And I would add counterproductive talk.”
Republicans will likely take issue with Biden’s assertion that physically confronting Iran is the only thing the administration has yet to do.
In Syria, where there is no indication that President Bashar Assad will soon lay down arms against his own people, the White House has been hesitant to push the envelope. Instead, Obama has chosen to pressure Assad’ through the United Nations, much to the chagrin of critics who have called for a military campaign similar to the one that forced Gaddafi from power last year.
However, in his speech today, Biden barely even mentioned Syria, stating only that Washington is “ratcheting up the pressure” against the regime there.