Joe Biden Says Democrats Have Been Too Fearful to Discuss Religion

Monday , August 13, 2007




White House hopeful Joe Biden said Monday that Democrats lost the last two presidential elections in part because they let themselves be portrayed as anti-God.

Democrats have been too afraid to talk about faith, Biden said at a Rotary Club luncheon. But what voters really want to know is whether a president believes in something bigger than themselves and whether he or she respects the faith of others, he said.

"No one ever accused Bill Clinton of being a citadel of virtue, even from the start. How was it that he got 58 percent of the Catholic vote? How was it that he got almost half the evangelical vote?"

It wasn't because they thought Clinton believed as they did, the Delaware Democrat said.

"When he sat next to you in a Catholic church or a fundamentalist church, he respected your views," he said. "Fair or unfair, when Al Gore sat in that church, when John Kerry sat in that church pew, the perception was: 'Maybe he doesn't really respect my view."'

Biden, a practicing Catholic, acknowledged that he rarely has talked about religion in his 34-year Senate career, but suggested that would change if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

"I can hardly wait for one of these guys on the other side tell me about family values. I can hardly wait for them to tell me — a guy who's commuted for 34 years to get home and put my kids to bed," he said. "I can hardly wait for them to tell me — a guy who's been married for 30 years when they've been divorced three times. I can hardly wait."