Transcript: Sen. Joseph Biden on Fox News Sunday

The following is a transcribed excerpt from Fox News Sunday, June 29, 2003.

TONY SNOW, FOX NEWS: Israeli forces plan to begin withdrawing tomorrow from the Gaza Strip. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has arrived in the region for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Both have been repeating long-standing demands of the other side. Palestinian militants have suspended discussions about a proposed three-month truce with Israel because they can't agree on conditions for laying down or taking up arms.

Senator Biden...Are you at all optimistic about the prospects of a cease-fire? Do you trust a cease-fire, at least as it's presently contemplated, between Israel and the Palestinians?

BIDEN: No, but I think the Israelis are prepared to take a chance on it.

Look, this is all premised on the proposition — and I met with the foreign minister, I met with — when I was in Jordan, I met with some of the Palestinian leadership.

BIDEN: And it's all premised on the proposition that if they gain control of Gaza, can demonstrate to their people that they control the north-south road in Gaza, which is control of Gaza and there's free movement there, that, in turn, the people will back them up in taking on the extreme elements, particularly Hamas in Gaza.

That's a bit of a bet. The Israelis, I think, are taking a chance on that, knowing that they can go back in if, in fact, Abu Mazen and the new Palestinian Authority does not step up to the ball.

The real problem here is they don't have the wherewithal right now to step up. I'm not sure they have the will. They don't have the wherewithal. So this is going to be a dicey moment here.

But I do not trust Hamas at all. I think it's a flat terrorist organization. And that's why I urge that we should be giving Abu Mazen some significant financial help now, internationally, so that he can go out there and pick up those social functions that Hamas is doing that he doesn't have the money to do now, to demonstrate to the people they don't need Hamas, that they have to go to him in order to get the road, the water, the sewer, the hospital, et cetera.

SNOW: All right, and that he and not Yasser Arafat is the go-to guy.

Finally, Senator, there's been speculation — there are nine people running for president in your party. Are you likely to join — do you think — have you — let me back it away.

BIDEN: Good.

SNOW: Let me try to get you in a corner first. Have you ruled out running for president?

BIDEN: I'm sorry, I'm not being smart, I didn't hear you.

SNOW: Have you ruled out running for president?

BIDEN: No, I have not ruled out running for president. I haven't changed my position, that I would make my decision in the fall. If I were to run, I would announce sometime in October. If I decide not to run, I would announce sometime between September and October that I'm not going to run.

SNOW: OK. You've got Howard Dean saying that he's — let me just play a quick Howard Dean clip for you. I want to get a quick reaction to that.

BIDEN: Sure. OK.


HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I stood up against what this administration was doing, even when 70 percent of the American people supported the war, and I believed that the evidence was not there. I refused to change my view. And as it turned out, I was right.


SNOW: Do you think that ought to be the view of the Democratic Party?


SNOW: So do you — do you think you would like to see somebody challenging him a little more vigorously on the hustings?

BIDEN: Oh, I think it's hard for anybody to challenge anybody right now. No one's listening. And the difficulty all the candidates now have, as you know, Tony, there's no bar over which they can jump to demonstrate anything right now. It's kind of a doldrum period, and so we play things — I'm not being critical — we play things like Howard Dean's assertion that he was right. What was he right about?

SNOW: OK, Senator, I will leave that rhetorical question for another day. Thanks so much for joining us.

BIDEN: Thanks an awful lot, Tony. It's always a pleasure to be on your show.