Biden on Gates: History will decide who was right

Vice President Biden said Wednesday history would decide whether he or former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had a better foreign policy record. 

Biden called Gates a “fine man” but said he and the former Pentagon chief have had differences on almost every major foreign policy issue. 

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“Bob Gates and I disagree on almost every major issue, and I am very comfortable with my position,” he said on NBC’s “Today" show. “I’ll let the American public judge who is right or wrong — Bob Gates or me. And history will ultimately judge who was right or wrong, but he is a fine man.”

Biden’s comments are the first since Gates published his memoir, in which he asserts Biden had been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy decision in the last 40 years. 

Biden said they have disagreed on issues ranging from the Vietnam War to Bosnia, Iran-Contra and Afghanistan. Biden said he would focus on a more positive aspect of Gates’s book. 

“Well I haven’t publicly responded,” he said, mistakenly referring to the Defense chief as Bill Gates. “Look, I like Bill Gates. The part I focused on in his book, he said, 'Biden is a man of great integrity.' I think he is a man of integrity as well. I think the fundamental problem here is Bill Gates — Bob Gates — and I have disagreed on almost every major foreign policy since Vietnam.”

Biden said Obama reiterated their position on Afghanistan, asserting it is time to end the war there. 

Biden, however, said he does not have a public position on how many troops should remain in Afghanistan past 2014.

“My counsel is to the president privately,” Biden said on "CBS This Morning.” “That’s why, I think, that’s why it bothered Bob a lot, that the president listens to me a lot.”

The vice president also weighed in on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next month. He said the Russians are using every tool to secure the games. He urged Americans to keep their eyes open during the games and follow the State Department’s travel advisory.

He said he would have not trouble sending his family to the games, amid the heightened security. 

“Sure I would send my own family with the same caveats: make sure there were very vigilant, make sure they kept their eyes open, listen, register with the State Department,” he said.