Speaking from his sunlit White House office, Vice President Joe Biden was uninhibited in his comments on the bank crisis in Europe, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and China. But it was his rather honest assessment of who, exactly, it is we're fighting in Afghanistan.
"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy," he told Newsweek's Leslie H. Gelb. "That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests." He went on. "If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us." Sticking up for Biden, White House spokesman Jay Carney said his words were "only regrettable when taken out of context," arguing that Biden had clarified the Tailban would be a threat if they allowed al Qaeda to strike the U.S.
The backlash, coming from both the 2012 GOP circus show and soldiers stationed abroad, was swift. Below, we've gathered a sampling of illustrative tweets.
Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican candidate
Rick Santorum, 2012 Republican candidate
Ari Fleischer, Former White House press secretary under George W. Bush
Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman
Heritage Foundation, Right-wing think tank
Todd Starnes, Host of Fox News & Commentary with Todd Starnes
For America, right-wing coalition dedicated to fighting Obamacare
Kanchan Gupta, Associate Editor, The Pioneer
Jim Nelson, Active duty U.S. Army combat medic
United States Marine/2003 Iraq vet