Biden Defended Russia During 2012 Election, Denied It Was a 'Major Adversary'

Joe Biden / Getty Images
April 25, 2019

During the 2012 presidential election, recently announced 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden downplayed the threat posed by Russia and heralded the Barack Obama administration's "Russian reset."

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ran on a Russia-skeptical platform. After Obama was caught on an open mic promising his Russian counterpart "flexibility" following the election, Romney lamented that, "This is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed."

When asked about those comments on CBS's Face the Nation, then-Vice President Biden defended Russia and cast Romney as a warmonger stuck in the past.

"Governor Romney's answer I thought was incredibly revealing. He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on, Russia is still our major adversary. I don't know where he has been," Biden said.

"I mean, we have disagreements with Russia, but they're united with us on Iran..." he continued. "One of only two ways we're getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia. They're working closely with us. They have just said to Europe, if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they'll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. That's not—this is not 1956."

"He just seems to be uninformed, or stuck in a Cold War mentality," Biden said. "So, I think what the—the exchange did, it exposes how little the Governor knows about foreign policy."

Biden kept the attack up later that month, insisting that Romney viewed Russia "through a cold war prism," a line the New York Times noted was " borrowing the thought from Russia's president, Dmitri A. Medvedev."

"Under President Obama's leadership, our alliances have never been stronger..." Biden said in the same speech. "We've forged a new relationship based on mutual interest with emerging powers like China, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa—all of which are helping advance American security."

Several Democrats have formally apologized for their mockery of Romney's rhetoric towards Russia, including former Secretary of State Madeleine AlbrightPaul Begala, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, and former Hillary Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.