Joe Biden: "I Like" Pete Buttigieg But He's Been "Nothing More" Than A Small Town Mayor | Video | RealClearPolitics

Biden: "I Like" Buttigieg, But He's Been "Nothing More" Than A Small Town Mayor; "What Has He Done?"

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George Stephanopoulos interviews former Vice President Joe Biden on ABC's "This Week" about his effort to overcome a challenge from Pete Buttigieg in the moderate lane of the Democratic presidential primary.

"Pete Buttigieg has been nothing more -- and he's a good guy. I like him. He's a smart guy, but he's been the mayor of a city smaller than the city we're in now," Biden said. "And so what has he done? What is -- who has he pulled together? Does he know any of the foreign leaders?"

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have been taking it right to Mayor Pete and basically been arguing that he's not ready to be president.

I did a debate with you back in 2007 where you said another candidate wasn't ready to be president. It was Barack Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2007)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were asked, is he ready?

You said: "I think he can be ready, but, right now, I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training."

BIDEN: I think that I stand by the statement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Well, let's get something straight here.

I didn't attack Pete. Pete's been attacking me. He's been saying that the reason we're in the problem were in now is because of the recent past. That's eight years of Obama and me.

I don't get that. I don't understand that. And I think he has completely misunderstood or misrepresented my record. I have done a great deal. I have gotten an awful lot done, both as a senator and as vice president.

And he talks about him being ready. Well, I managed a $900 billion Recovery Act, with no waste or fraud in it. We bailed out his city. I led the fight. The president turned to me and said, get Detroit out of its mess. I know how to handle a city. I was able to get Detroit back on its feet. That's why the mayor of Detroit endorsed me.

I have been able to get the chemical weapons treaty passed. I was responsible in large part for the -- what happened in Paris, with John Kerry, and so on.

So, I don't understand how those things don't matter. And I don't understand, when they talk about the past, why Barack was such a lousy president. I thought he was a pretty damn good president.

But that's the implication.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why is nominating Pete Buttigieg a risk?

BIDEN: Well, because Pete Buttigieg has been nothing more -- and he's a good guy. I like him. He's a smart guy, but he's been the mayor of a city smaller than the city we're in now.

And so what has he done? What is -- who has he pulled together? Does he know any of the foreign leaders? Has he been able to -- I mean, Barack Obama was a different story. Barack Obama came from a large state. He was a United States Senator, he had run before. He'd been involved in international -- he had a clear vision of what he thought the world should look like and so on.

So, but it's a very different situation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign put out a pretty tough video on the mayor earlier today that also referenced the fact that he had fired an African-American police chief and forced out an African-American fire chief. Are you basically saying that Mayor Buttigieg has a race problem?

BIDEN: No, no, no. I'm saying he hadn't been able to unify the black community, that's what I'm saying. The most senior members of city council, African-American, endorsed me. I never met him. I never asked for his endorsement.

And so, I think, look, in order to win, George, you're going to have to be able to win states like Pennsylvania, you're going to have to be able to win Florida. We're going to have to be able to win in a lot of places that in fact have very diverse populations, and so the assertion that he's ready across the board I don't see it. I haven't seen it yet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He has fired back today. The campaign said that the fact you put out that video says a lot more about where you are in this race than his record as mayor.

BIDEN: Well, look, he's been the that's been attacking me, George. I never said about him. But he's talking from the beginning about how I don't have a record to run on, that Biden -- all the problems were in the past. And it was used to be Barack and me, now he found out how popular Barack is, so it's now just me as if I wasn't any part of that administration.

And so I was responding to -- I haven't done this, I responded to his attacks on me.



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