Vice President Joe Biden says he advised against the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
In a speech delivered over the weekend at a Democratic congressional retreat, Biden recalled the moment when President Barack Obama asked his advisers for their opinions. "Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49, 51."
"He got to me. He said, 'Joe, what do you think?' And I said, 'You know, I didn't know we had so many economists around the table.' I said, 'We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don't go. We have to do two more things to see if he's there,'" said Biden, not elaborating on what more proof he needed to see.
Biden said the next morning Obama gave National Security Adviser Tom Donilon the go-ahead.
Biden used the anecdote to praise the president's leadership. "It says less about bin Laden than it does about character about this guy leading from behind--this guy doesn't lead from behind, he just leads," he said.
The possible raid was so secret that the president did not tell his wife before it happened.
President Obama closed his State of the Union address last Tuesday by recounting the Bin Laden raid. "One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get Bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn't matter," he said, "Just like it didn't matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates -- a man who was George Bush's defense secretary; and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president. All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves."