Vice President Joe Biden offered a sharp defense of President Barack Obama's friendship to Israel and leadership in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in remarks to a Jewish group in Atlanta today.
And Biden blamed the Bush Administration for the foreign policy challenges Obama inherited — specifically the lack of international pressure on Iran.
"When we took office... we were the problem," referring to the way America was viewed in the world at the time. "We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe.”
Shouting at times, Biden said voices in the Jewish community who say Obama is not fully committed to the preservation of the State of Israel "frustrate" him, declaring: "I believe no president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s physical security than Barack Obama."
"I once said were I a Jew I’d be a Zionist, and I want you all to realize you need not be a Jew to be a Zionist," Biden added in the address to the Rabbinical Assembly's annual conference. Adding, he is a Zionist.
Biden also defended Obama from charges he is soft on Iran, saying "We will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon by any means we need," adding that the window for reaching a diplomatic solution "is closing in the near term.”
Biden blamed President George W. Bush for damaging America's standing in the world, saying four years ago when Obama took office, the United States was "neither respected by our friends nor feared by our opponents," adding, "Today it is starkly, starkly different.”
He highlighted Obama's ability to rally Europe, China and Russia to crack down on Iran as an example of the president's successes.
On Domestic policy, Biden took a swipe at the Ryan budget, saying it is "contradictory to the social doctrine you teach and the social doctrine my church teaches."
Biden on the Ryan Budget:
UPDATE: Clarification was added to make it clear Biden was referring to the way the previous administration was viewed in the world as responsible for weak pressure on Iran, not the current administration.
Romney Policy Director Lanhee Chen Responds:
“All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden’s reckless statement today blaming America for – of all things – the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low. The problem is not America. It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons. President Obama’s naïve approach to Iran has given the regime valuable time to get closer than ever before to a nuclear weapons capability. Vice President Biden’s comments are wrong and completely inappropriate. Mitt Romney will stand up for America and our allies, and he will not apologize for America’s leadership role in the world.”