By Reid Wilson - 07/05/09 10:54 AM EDT
"The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy. The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there," Biden said in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "There was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited. Now, that doesn't -- I'm not -- it's now our responsibility."
Biden refused to rule out a second stimulus bill, which some economists have called for in order to stem job losses and spur the economy once again. Still, he said, the billions carved out for an economic stimulus plan have yet to be completely spent, meaning the package can still generate new jobs.
Biden, who returned Sunday morning from two and a half days in Iraq, spent the weekend pushing for a political settlement between three of Iraq's largest ethnic groups. He said he is "confident" pulling American troops out of Iraqi cities is the right thing to do.
During the interview, filmed in Iraq, the vice president said President Obama has met a commitment initially made by former President George W. Bush's administration, a commitment to withdraw that even some members of the Bush administration have criticized.
"We made a commitment to withdraw our troops from the cities by the 30th, to withdraw our combat brigades from Iraq by next summer -- the end of next summer, and withdraw all troops according to the SOFA, that agreement we negotiated with them, by the end of 2011," Biden said. "That is our intention."
Biden refused to criticize the outcome of the election in Iran, saying he did not want to play into the hands of the country's top rulers, who have accused America and Great Britain of meddling in internal Iranian politics.
"I think it's clear that the consequences of the way the election was conducted and the way that the election was declared -- who was declared the winner and how, is going to have a rippling effect," Biden said. "What that effect will be, I don't know. I think we have to wait to see how this settles out and -- before we can make a judgment."
"We have to acknowledge as a free and sovereign nation that we abhor the violence that took place. We think it was inappropriate, the way in which they treated those protesters," Biden continued. He defended the president's handling of the aftermath, calling it the "correct" approach.
Biden said the U.S. would not rush to sit down with the Iranian regime, though there is an offer to negotiate with the so-called Permanent Five -- the five members who have permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council.
"If the Iranians seek to engage, we will engage," Biden said.
As Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapon and Israel growing increasingly concerned with that prospect, Biden said the U.S. would not dictate to a sovereign nation when it decides it is "existentially threatened." But Biden refused to speculate on whether the U.S. would deny fly-over rights over Iraq.