Presidential hopeful Delaware Sen. Joe Biden stated unequivocally that he will move to impeach President Bush if he bombs Iran without first gaining congressional approval.
Biden spoke in front of a crowd of approximately 100 at a candidate forum held Thursday at Seacoast Media Group. The forum focused on the Iraq war and foreign policy. When an audience member expressed fear of a war with Iran, Biden said he does not typically engage in threats, but had no qualms about issuing a direct warning to the Oval Office.
"The president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach," said Biden, whose words were followed by a raucous applause from the local audience.
Biden said he is in the process of meeting with constitutional law experts to prepare a legal memorandum saying as much and intends to send it to the president.
When local resident Joel Carp asked Biden why not impeach now, given what has already been done, Biden said it was a valid point, but might not be constitutionally valid and potentially counterproductive. A case for impeachment must have clear evidence, Biden said, and blame should be directed at the right parties.
"If you're going to impeach George Bush, you better impeach (Vice President Dick) Cheney first," said Biden, again drawing applause.
Biden said the best deterrent to prevent pre-emptive military action in Iran is to make it clear, even if it is at the end of his final term, action will be taken against Bush to ensure "his legacy will be marred for all time."
Biden took shots at the Bush administration's idea to centralize government in Baghdad and called his decentralized plan the only way to political settlement. The recent decline in violence in Iraq, which some have credited to the surge, is the result of the military doing its job.
President Bush, he said, has not done his job in using the relative peace to find a political compromise as he promised.
"There's no evidence it has happened and no evidence it will happen," he said.
Throughout the forum, Biden stressed the need to improve foreign relations throughout the world and pointed to his 29-year resumé as proof that he can make that happen.
Biden joked about his low poll numbers, how the national media does not cover him and the lack of funds compared to the coffers of fellow hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
"This is why I'm in New Hampshire and Iowa," he said. "It's the last level playing field."
Biden went to the next appearance knowing he had at least one more vote. As the forum was coming to and end, Byrl Short stood up and announced his support.
"I came here an undecided voter," he said. "And you are the man."