Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) — whose garrulous ways have led to a number of verbal gaffes over the years — has revised a dramatic comment that he was “shot at” in the Green Zone during a trip to Iraq. Biden made the brief comment during the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate two weeks ago, as he was emphasizing how difficult it would be to redeploy U.S. citizens and troops out of Iraq if the U.S. decided to withdraw in six months. ““Let’s start telling the truth,” he said. “Number one, you take all the troops out — you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die, number one.”
When asked for a detailed account of the experience, Biden described three incidents on two separate Iraq trips in which he felt that he was shot at or might have been shot at. Only one of them took place inside the Green Zone, he said, and involved a “shot” landing outside the building where he and other senators were staying. He added that the vehicle he was traveling in the day before might also have been hit.
Biden said the incident happened in the morning while he and at least one other senator were shaving. Although he said it shook the building, he wasn’t rattled enough to duck and cover.
“No one got up and ran from the room—it wasn’t that kind of thing,” he said. “…It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head.”
Thinking about it now, he said, a more accurate comment would have been: “I was near where a shot landed.”
Biden aides have provided greater details of the three incidents in an e-mailed account: In December 2005, Biden and his staff spent the night in the Green Zone. At about 6:30 a.m., they heard mortars fired a few hundred yards away, which shook the aides’ trailer and rattled the building where Biden was getting ready for the day.