In a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden defended the Obama administration's compromise with Republicans to extend all Bush-era tax rates while insisting those rates for the highest earners are "morally troubling."
"It is unfortunate we were put in a position where the Republicans made it clear they were ready to let everything fall unless they got these tax cuts," Biden said on NBC's Meet the Press. He then quickly added that the fight over tax policy is hardly over. "They're for two years. They're for two years and we're coming back and going at it again."
Biden said the deal doesn't change the president's belief that the lower tax rates for the wealthy are "morally troubling." He reiterated the argument that the compromise was necessary to secure the extension of unemployment benefits for people who've lost jobs.
The vice president also revealed he does not think the United States is winning or losing the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he cautiously stated, "we are making progress. Are we making sufficient progress, fast enough? The answer remains to be seen."
He also spoke about the military while making a point about how he doesn't like earmarks. He said that if the only way a budget has enough money to protect soldiers in the middle of Iraq is to appropriate, or "earmark," some funds for a levee in Mississippi, then that is acceptable. But, when it comes to giving earmarks his stamp of approval, it all depends on their proportion to the overall size of the bill they are attached to.
And while the United States has yet to take action against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Biden declared that the Administration is looking at its options. "[T]his guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world. He has made it more difficult for us to conduct our business with our allies and our friends." Biden said the severity of accusations leveled at Assange should depend on whether or not he knew those diplomatic cables were being stolen before he obtained them.
A well-known Philadelphia Phillies fan, Biden said he thinks the addition of ace free agent pitcher Cliff Lee makes his team the favorite to win next year's World Series. "I honest to God think they are." Biden said.