SOURCE: The Associated Press
By Beverley Wang
Posted: June 2, 2007
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware delivers a message to members of the Council Bluffs, Iowa community, Saturday, May 26, 2007, at the National Guard Armory in Council Bluffs. ——— AP Photo / The Nonpareil, Josh White
The Delaware senator, set to appear alongside fellow Democrats this Sunday in New Hampshire debates, also is one of two candidates signed onto a fall debate on Fox News and the sole person who has agreed to an Iraq-only debate next week.
In a telephone interview Friday, Biden called out fellow Democrats for bowing out of Sept. 23 Detroit debate co-sponsored by Fox News Channel and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Biden said Fox's role in the debate doesn't matter. "I agreed to go because my friends in the Black Caucus said this is a very important debate to be able to determine the difference among us on matters relating to the African American community," Biden said.
"Wherever the Black Caucus asks me to go, I will go," he added.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the only other candidate who has agreed to the Fox debate.
John Edwards and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are not attending. Neither are New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, who were under pressure not to attend from groups that say Fox is biased against Democrats.
"The single most important constituency in the Democratic Party — African Americans, led by the Black Caucus, which are the leadership of the black community, asked us to show for a debate and we're not going to show up?" he said.
"Let me put it this way — if the African American community stayed home or voted Republican, we're not going to elect another president."
Biden is set to participate in New Hampshire Democratic debates at Saint Anselm College on Sunday, presented by CNN, WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader. He said he hopes candidates will go more in-depth about Iraq in this round.
Not to worry though, if not: Biden said he is prepared to go solo at the all-Iraq debate next if no one else signs up. He is the only confirmed participant for a Financial Times and Johns Hopkins School debate for Democrats.
"It's really disappointing that no one's really willing to debate me," said Biden, who lays out a five-point Iraq plan on his Web site, joebiden.com.
"It won't be much of a debate (but) I'm prepared to subject myself to questions from experts and the news media about what needs to be done," he said. "I don't see how we can responsibly ask to be president and not lay out clearly what our position is on how were going to deal with this war in Iraq."