How did I miss this, as reported by the UK's Guardian? Why isn't it a major news story in the U.S.? Ah yes...it's all about Sarah.
Biden's comments, first reported by ABC news, attracted little notice on a day dominated by the drama surrounding his Republican counterpart, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
But his statements represent the Democrats' strongest vow so far this year to investigate alleged misdeeds committed during the Bush years.
"If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued," Biden said during a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to ABC.
"[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution," he added, "out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president -- no one is above the law."
Obama sounded a similar note in April, vowing that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to initiate a prompt review of Bush-era actions to distinguish between possible "genuine crimes" and "really bad policies".
Back in April, Obama said that he would ask his AG to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted. Biden's statement simply confirms that the Obama campaign hasn't backed off from that intention.
But "genuine crimes." Where do we start? That would be a really good discussion to have right now, in my opinion. Aggressive war, torture, illegal rendition to torture, surveillance without warrants, criminal negligence over Katrina, various counts of perjury before Congress...
Instead we get endless talking heads pretending they don't know what their conservative guests really think - or even say when they think the mikes are off.
Update: In between when I wrote this post on Tuesday night and its posting today, Biden backed off his statement (H/t - JC in comments).
Biden emphasized that "no one's talking about President Bush. ... I've never heard anybody mention President Bush in that context." He noted that "there's been an awful lot of unsavory stuff that's gone on ... but I have no evidence of any of that. No one's talking about pursuing President Bush criminally."
Biden concluded his comments by explaining that possible misdeeds are
"being looked into now, just so it never happens again in any other administration. ... The Obama-Biden administration is not going to start off saying, 'God, let's go take a look at what this --.' The American people want to know what we're going to do, not what happened."
I understand the arguments on why the Obama campaign should tread softly on this - that it will simply enrage and energize the Republican base. But Palin has already energized that base and in any case this whole triangulation thing strikes me as spineless fence-sitting.