Thursday, November 29, 2007

Biden offers advice to Israeli prime minister

MANCHESTER, N.H.Apologizing for his tardiness and touting his foreign policy credentials at the same time, Democrat Joe Biden told students that a call from the prime minister of Israel delayed his arrival at their conference.
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Biden, a presidential hopeful and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was waiting for his luggage at the airport Wednesday night when his cell phone rang.

"The prime minister of Israel was calling. He was calling me because he wanted to discuss with me and get my opinion about what happened in Annapolis," Biden said, referring to this week's U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference that included Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and representatives from dozens of other countries.

Speaking at a national conference for high school and college students, Biden spent most of his time on Iraq, arguing that until the war ends, there will be no money to fix any of the nation's problems and the country will remain isolated from the rest of the world.

"Until we settle Iraq, no one in the world is going to listen to us. No one is prepared to join with us," he said.

Biden, who has been pushing a plan to end the war by carving Iraq into three distinct states, pointed out that many of his rivals for the Democratic nomination have praised his foreign policy experience. And he noted that he has been to Iraq more than all the other Democratic candidates combined.

"Every time I fly out of that airport ... I fly out with some flag-draped coffin strapped to the floor of that C-130," he said. "All I can think of as I fly out is, 'What parent is waiting at the other end? What husband or wife? And for what?"

He told his young audience that they will bear the burden of caring for the thousands of wounded soldiers who will need medical care for the rest of their lives......

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