These are Biden’s words to Obama’s supporters in Biden’s famous Oct. 19 speech.
Here are some longer quotes from that speech. People have speculated a lot on what specific crisis Biden might have meant — he is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee so he might be privy to some information that the press and we do not know.
What I found intriguing in this interview is how many times he asked Obama’s supporters to, in paraphrase, “keep the faith”.
… Mark my words. Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s gonna have to make some really tough – I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it’s gonna happen. I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate. And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you, not financially to help him, we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right. Because all these decisions, all these decisions, once they’re made if they work, then they weren’t viewed as a crisis. If they don’t work, it’s viewed as you didn’t make the right decision, …
So there’s gonna be some tough decisions. They may emanate from the Middle East. They may emanate from the sub-continent. They may emanate from Russia’s newly-emboldened position because they’re floating in a sea of oil.
… I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I’m not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it. This guy has it. But he’s gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going ‘oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down, why is this thing so tough? We’re gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I’m asking you now, I’m asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you’re going to have to reinforce us.
… Let’s not be, for those of a different faith remember St. Peter denied Christ thrice, you know? We don’t need anybody denying us, this is gonna be tough. There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go ‘whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision.’ Because if you think the decision is sound when they’re made, which I believe you will when they’re made, they’re not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they’re popular, they’re probably not sound.
… I probably shouldn’t have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here …
Here is my reading of this: Biden is warning Obama’s suporters that Obama will have to make some decisions that will be extremely unpopular (‘oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down). They are going to be so unpopular that Biden is expecting a lot of Obama’s supporters to not want to have anything to to with it (We don’t need anybody denying us). He is talking to “believers”, not to general public, and still has to use words like: you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going ‘oh my God. He wants those who will still “believe” in Obama to convince (your influence within the community) the others / the public. Because, as he says, it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.
He is talking about the first two years, so it might be something long lasting, as he also says It will not be six months before.
Some commentators have suggested that Biden had in mind a scenario where Obama would have to use miliary force, which would make him very unpopular among the MoveOn.org type of supporters. However, when I read the speach carefully it seems to me that Biden has in mind some action by Obama that will be unpopular among the US population as a whole. He is talking about polls in general, including Obama’s and McCain voters, and if Obama took tough military action, e.g., against Iran, the overall polls might be in favor, rather than completely against.
I am not going to speculate about a specific scenario that Biden might have had in mind. But what he is talking about is scary. Not the conflict or crisis in itself, but the way Obama will handle it.