In charging his Republican opponent with putting "two wars on a credit card" in the October 11 vice-presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden misrepresented his own voting record on the wars in a misstatement of fact that went unchallenged by both the debate moderator and the Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
While debating which party and administration has been responsible for the sluggish state of the economy, Biden brought up Ryan's votes in Congress to authorize the Afghan and Iraq wars.
And, by the way, they talk about this Great Recession as if it fell out of the sky, like, "Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?" It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. I was there. I voted against them. I said, no, we can't afford that.
And now, all of a sudden, these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt that they created.
The moderator, ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz, then turned to Ryan for a response.
"Let's not forget that they came in with one-party control," said Ryan, who went on to talk about how the $831-billion Obama economic stimulus plan, passed by the Democratic majority in Congress in 2009, failed to stem the rise in unemployment. In the rapid-fire exchange between the candidates on a multitude of issues, Biden's claim about his votes was somehow overlooked.
But as the Washington Free Beacon pointed out, Biden, then a senator from Delaware, voted for the same "credit card" wars Ryan supported. Biden voted with the overwhelming majority of his colleagues in favor of the Authorization of the Use of Military Force, passed in Congress on September 14, 2001, just three days after the terrorist attack on New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11. The bill authorized the president to use military force against al-Qaeda and any other terrorist organization that plotted or participated in the attacks, as well as any nation harboring them. The AUMF provided the authority for the invasion of Afghanistan, whose Taliban government at the time was believed to be providing bases for the recruitment and training of al-Qaeda units.
And on October 11, 2002, Biden voted, again with an overwhelming majority of his colleagues, for the authorization of the use of military force against Iraq over that country's alleged weapons of mass destruction. The invasion was begun by President Bush in March of the following year and American combat troops were engaged in conflict in Iraq for another eight and a half years, though no weapons of mass destruction were found.
It's not the first time the veracity-challenged vice president has been caught stretching the truth. While a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987, Biden delivered a speech that plagiarized an address given by British labor leader Neil Kinnock, even to the point of claiming as his own details of Kinnock's biography. Biden dropped out of the race shortly after the plagiarism became public.
Photo of Vice President Joe Biden: AP Images