Panel on International Tests and Obama

Panel on International Tests and Obama

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - October 20, 2008


SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D-DE) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.

The world is looking. We are about to elect a brilliant 47-year- old president of the United States of America.

Remember I said this as much as anything else I said. Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis to test the mettle of this guy.

And he's going to have to make some really tough -- I don't know what the decision is going to be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it will happen.

I can give you four or five scenarios from which it might originate.


BAIER: That's Senator Joe Biden, Democratic nominee for vice president, talking at the second of two fundraisers in Seattle, Washington, to a group, and predicting there will be an international crisis under a President Obama within the first six months.

As you can imagine, the McCain campaign jumped all over that.

Now some analytical observations about the state of the race from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.

Charles, were you surprised that Joe Biden would go into that detail on an international crisis within the first six months of an Obama administration?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, this is an amazing gift he has handed the McCain campaign. What he's saying--he used the word "generated." He is saying if you elect a president as young and untested as Obama, this will precipitate a crisis intentionally by some actor in the world.

In other words, that by electing a president so untested we are inviting, and Biden guarantees it will occur, inviting a crisis internationally that would not otherwise happen if you had a McCain in office whom the bad guys might not want to test.

Now, if Republicans had raised that and said electing an untested, new, young president would invite a crisis and even precipitate and cause a crisis, it would be called "fear mongering" and "scare tactics."

This is the vice presidential candidate of the Democrats insisting on this, and the reason it's an amazing gift is because it's hard to see how McCain attacks Obama. He has tried everything. He has tried the kitchen sink.

You expect there might be a tightening of the race for one reason--people at the last second may have qualms about electing an unknown newcomer untested. And here is the argument made in the name by Joe Biden.

I think it's an opportunity. We saw in the clip earlier how McCain had answered. Unfortunately, he flubbed it not once but twice in attributing this statement to Obama instead of Biden.

But if he can recover and use this, it is a very strong argument. It's a closing argument against Obama.

BAIER: Juan, in the statement that John McCain didn't flub, he said "We don't want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars."

So talking about foreign policy 15 days out is a gift.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: It is a gift because it can be interpreted, as Charles did.

I interpret it a little differently, which is to say, remember that one of the problems that the American people have with John McCain in all of this is his temperament. The sense is that John McCain is a guy who's quick to fly off the handle go ballistic.

And so the sense is there that anything might spark John McCain to become more involved militaristically in war than we already are.

But this is a legitimate point. I think it is why it's made by Obama's vice presidential nominee in saying that the world is going to test this young man, because they want to know exactly what the world's one remaining superpower is able to do and willing to do.

BAIER: The Obama campaign shoots back that the endorsement this weekend shields them from some of this, General Colin Powell with his endorsement of Barack Obama this weekend. Do you buy that?

WILLIAMS: Well, to a certain extent. It shows that there are senior people around--what we're talking about is for the voters who have yet to make up their minds, a very small group, but they are people who are Reagan Democrats or conservative Democrats or moderate to liberal Republicans, independents, and Powell does have some sway with that group, especially as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

So it does speak to it. But when you hear this from Biden, Biden is right there. He is in the game. Powell is not.

BAIER: Fred?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": This trumps any effect that Powell had. Powell is a beltway creature anyway. You think he would have been on "Meet the Press" if he were going to endorse McCain? Of course not! This was widely expected.

But, look, Biden, who is a wrecking crew, actually--if you remember his debate with Sarah Palin where he set records for inaccurate comments and whoppers in a presidential or vice presidential debate.

But, in any case, he cites the JFK example. Well, the JFK example is one where he was tested in 1961 in, I guess, Vienna when he met with Nikita Khrushchev and failed. Khrushchev concluded this guy is a weakling, I can push him around. And first we have the Berlin Wall and then the Cuban missile crisis. That's not a good analogy.

Think of Ronald Reagan when he stepped in. He didn't have a lot of foreign policy experience. What was the first thing that happened? The Iranians sent back the American hostages immediately because they didn't want to go up against Ronald Reagan.

It would be -- look, this is a mistake. I think there are more voters out there--I don't know whether it is 10 percent or 15 percent, who are up for grabs here in the last week. And we have seen over the years these tremendous gains. Al Gore in 2000 gained about five points in the last week. And others have.

So McCain is behind, but it's still winnable.

BAIER: Charles, in the last piece of this statement to this group at this fundraising group, Senator Biden said that he means that Senator Obama will need support from this community, the supporters, as president because during this international crisis, quote, "It's not going to be apparent initially. It's not going to be apparent that we're right how we're responding to it."

Some people are saying "Why?"

KRAUTHAMMER: Biden is obviously a Republican plant. He could not have been invented. What he is saying is precisely what people would worry about.

The world is not going to mess with a John McCain, but they are going to mess with a new, untested president who might not even get it right.

That's what people are worrying about, and that's what I think is an opening that would not have existed. And if McCain has any chance, he is going to have to exploit this.

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