Splitting hairs with the Biden camp

Marion Steinfels of the Biden campaign called the newsroom this afternoon to complain about the Radio Iowa story which ran yesterday.  Here’s the story:

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told a crowd at the State Fair today that his son’s National Guard unit has been notified it will be deployed to Iraq in 2008.

"I don’t want him going.  I don’t want him going, but I tell you what — I don’t want my grandson or my granddaughters going back in 15 years and so how we leave makes a big difference," Biden said.

Two other presidential candidates — Republicans John McCain and Duncan Hunter — have sons who’ve been in military units deployed to Iraq.

Biden’s 38-year-old son, Beau, is a Judge Advocate General in the Delaware National Guard, which means he’s a military lawyer. Beau Biden is currently the Attorney General of Delaware.

During his State Fair speech, the elder Biden was critical of his Democratic rivals who have voted against providing money to the troops in the field as a means of trying to get President Bush to change course in Iraq.

"There’s no political point worth my son’s life," Biden said, drawing applause from the crowd of fairgoers. "There’s no political point worth anybody’s life out there. None."

Here’s the email from Marion Steinfels of the Biden campaign:

Below is the transcription of the Senator’s remarks.  I realize its a bit of splitting hairs but just wanted to make sure it was accurate…as I’m sure you do too.  Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you on this.  "My son Beau is a captain in the United States Army. He’s a captain in the Army National Guard. He’s been notified that he should be prepared to go to Iraq. He’ll go – he’s the Attorney General of Delaware. I don’t want him going. But I tell you what, I don’t want my grandson or granddaughter going back in 15 years. And so how we leave – how we leave – makes a big difference."

Steinfels argued in her cell phone call to the newsroom that Biden’s son "could" be going to Iraq and had merely been "placed on the active list."

That’s not the impression I got after chatting briefly with Lt. Col. Leonard Gratteri, a spokesman for the Delaware National Guard.

Is it accurate to say Senator Biden’s son will go to Iraq?

"Yes," Gratteri replied.  "His son is a captain in the Delaware National Guard and he is in the 261st Signal Brigade and they are preparing for deployment sometime early next year."

In Iraq?

"Yes," Gratteri said.

There are about 100 soldiers in Beau Biden’s unit.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.