From NBC's Mark Murray
Given that Vice President Biden is in political spotlight -- with his speech today and also his rebuttal to Dick Cheney yesterday on CNN -- Republicans have seized on another portion of that CNN interview, in which Biden talks in the first person about sending troops into combat.
Asked in the interview if the U.S. is in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban, Biden replied: "Let's get straight. The Taliban that presents an international threat to the United States of America. The bulk of the Taliban, the phrase that Richard Holbrooke and I have been using, separately but similarly, 5 percent of the Taliban are radicalized Islamists that are no different than al Qaeda."
From the transcript...
BORGER: But wouldn't you use your leverage that you have on an issue like this, which you call outrageous, the president himself has said is abhorrent?
BIDEN: Yes, but that's not -- I am not prepared to send American troops to die for that.
BIDEN: I am prepared to send American troops to protect the United States of America to kill al Qaeda, to root out extremists and to prevent them being able to use Afghanistan once again as a platform to attack the United States of America. Do we find it abhorrent that that law exists or that it's being considered? Absolutely, positively. But we also find abhorrent what's going on in China in some places. We find abhorrent a lot of things. But the question is, if that were the only thing that existed, would we send my son and other sons there to risk their lives to die? I don't think that is a legitimate use.
"Someone want to tell Biden that HE can't send troops anywhere?" a congressional GOP aide emailed First Read. "He's not commander-in-chief."
To be fair to Biden, though, the original question asked him "wouldn't you use your leverage" -- which precipitated the "I" response.