Barack Obama | Inauguration | Joseph Biden | Larry King | News | Rick Warren

Biden Defends Rick Warren Pick on Tonight's Larry King Live

In a pre-broadcast transcript, Vice President-Elect Joe Biden defends Obama's choice of anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration.

BidenKING: There has been much controversy over the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inaugural. He's been a guest on this show an awful lot, and he supported California's Proposition 8, a measure that outlaws gay marriage. He is also very opposed to abortion. I know the gay community in America appears to be up in arms. What do you make of this?

BIDEN: Well, I'd make of it [as] Barack Obama keeping his commitment. Barack Obama said you've got to reach out. You've got to reach a hand of friendship across the aisle and across philosophies in this country. We can't continue to be a red and blue country. We can't be divided like we have been. And he's made good on his promise. And I would say to the gay and lesbian community, they have nothing to worry about. Barack Obama, every aspect of his life, every aspect of his public life, and every commitment he's made relating to equality for all people, will be things that he will stick with and that they should view this in the spirit in which he offered the opportunity to -- to Mr. Warren."

Biden will appear on Larry King Live at 9 pm EST.

Biden made similar remarks yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

"Barack Obama...has a stellar and outspoken record in support of equality for all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans. But he also has made a judgment, I think correctly, that in order to heal the wounds of this country and move this country forward...that he was going to reach out. He made it clear there are parts of the positions taken by the Reverend that he strongly disagrees with, but there's also some very positive things about what he did. He's giving invocation. He's not making policy. He's not part of the administration."

Rick Warren Defends Inauguration Invite, Engages Melissa Etheridge [tr]

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  1. Rick Warren compared my nine-year, committed, loving marriage to pedophilia and incest. This is not just a difference in "philosophies."

    Rick Warren is just another slick preacher who discovered there's a lot of money in religion.

    Posted by: sam | Dec 22, 2008 1:21:33 PM

  2. Obama isn't about equality. A civil union is not equal to a marriage.

    Posted by: umnope | Dec 22, 2008 1:22:10 PM

  3. What else is on the Inauguration schedule?

    How about a minstrel show in black face to reach out to the Ku Klux Klan!

    Posted by: jesse james | Dec 22, 2008 1:24:49 PM

  4. "He's not part of the administration."


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 22, 2008 1:38:34 PM

  5. Proud to say I DID NOT VOTE FOR THAT ONE!

    Posted by: dc8stretch | Dec 22, 2008 1:38:37 PM

  6. Homophobia
    The worst disease
    You cant love who you want to love in times like these

    Happy Holidays!

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Dec 22, 2008 1:39:42 PM

  7. if you are going to the inauguration please bring a rainbow flag

    Posted by: sharon | Dec 22, 2008 1:42:51 PM

  8. They know they F'd up

    Truth needs no advertising or defense. Their constant defense of inviting Warren is proof they know they F'd up.

    Too bad politics makes it impossible for Obama to revoke the invite= repubs would scream "WEAK!"

    Oh well, hopefully to appease us he will feel forced to move more quickly on revoking DADT and DOMA. I'm trying to look for the silver lining

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Dec 22, 2008 1:48:04 PM

  9. "Proud to say I DID NOT VOTE FOR THAT ONE!"

    Are you proud that the "OTHER ONE" lost the election?

    "How about a minstrel show in black face to reach out to the Ku Klux Klan!"

    If that will make certain white homosexuals feel better, then fine, go ahead. But remember what city you are doing "black face" in...darlin'.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 22, 2008 1:55:01 PM

  10. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Obama and Warren agree on gay marriage, so flipping off the gay community is not that big a stretch.

    I'd like to think Obama's doing this to show he's willing to be inclusive so that later, when Warren turns on him (as those people do), he can say, "Look, I tried to deal with those people and they stabbed me in the back." I'd like to think that -- but I can't, because it's just bullshit.

    Posted by: Kyle Michel Sullivan | Dec 22, 2008 2:18:00 PM

  11. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Obama and Warren agree on gay marriage, so flipping off the gay community is not that big a stretch.

    I'd like to think Obama's doing this to show he's willing to be inclusive so that later, when Warren turns on him (as those people do), he can say, "Look, I tried to deal with those people and they stabbed me in the back." I'd like to think that -- but I can't, because it's just bullshit.

    Posted by: Kyle Michel Sullivan | Dec 22, 2008 2:19:04 PM

  12. I don't think any politician, no matter how unity-minded, should feel the need to "reach out across the aisle" to people who espouse hatred and prejudice. This isn't just a philosophical difference -- it's a matter of that preacher wanting to deny basic human rights to a segment of the population.

    Choosing Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation was no better than choosing the grand wizard of the KKK.

    No doubt in my mind: if Rick Warren had been preaching forty years ago, he would have insisted that whites and blacks should be separate. (And I can just imagine him saying he loves black people but thinks they should supress their natural urge to 'be' black.)

    Rick Warren is merely a less angry, less forthcoming version of Fred Phelps.

    Posted by: sparks | Dec 22, 2008 2:22:38 PM

  13. This constitutes Obama's first major misstep, and an indication that he may not have the real stuff of leadership. The Right, religious or otherwise, regard him with contempt and suspicion, and to them, hiring Rick Warren for the Inauguration is nothing more than a transparently phony -- and extremely naive -- attempt to hoodwink them into thinking that he has their ear, which they know full well he doesn't.

    The Left, of course, feels betrayed, so he's fucked either way. The fact is, he might have at least earned a smidgen of respect from some conservatives if he had picked a liberal or non-polemical pastor, because Obama would at least have come across as being true to his principles. Instead, he doesn't come off as an inclusive centrist, but rather, like Bill Clinton, a nervous opportunist. This is a depressing harbinger of what we are in for during the next four years.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 22, 2008 2:24:15 PM

  14. A different take on the selection of Rick Warren.

    "Might this be the basis for President-Elect Obama’s choices of Inaugural speakers? Maybe he is not so much giving Rick Warren a platform for his archaic and offensive beliefs, but rather delivering a statement that any continuation of the animosity of the culture wars is not going to emanate from this Administration. Let’s not forget the inclusion of Rev Lowery and Elizabeth Alexander. These are two of the most valiant voices against bigotry in all forms, and both can be quite provocative. As we look at this Inauguration Day, this “New Birth of Freedom”, perhaps it is important to look at the program in its totality. The religious right has been invited to join this “New Birth”, now it’s up to them whether they display a Christ-like love towards our gay brothers and sisters when President Obama extends equal protection to all."

    Posted by: Sandy | Dec 22, 2008 2:47:33 PM

  15. Rick: He did pick a liberal pastor. Rev. Lowery will be giving the Benediction.

    Posted by: Joe Moag | Dec 22, 2008 2:51:14 PM

  16. So for the sake of unity I'm supposed to just nonchalantly laugh at Warren saying my relationship is just like me fucking a child, or my brother? They are really losing me on this.

    Posted by: Jersey | Dec 22, 2008 2:58:45 PM

  17. I just don't know what to say:

    On one hand, I agree with everyone here that Rick Warren's "policies" on GLBT marriages are hateful and disgusting.

    On the other hand, I agree with Obama/Biden in that, though I don't think they fully agree with Warren on his views about GLBT marriage, it's important not to ostracize someone because of it. (I don't agree with lots of things Mormons believe, but I wouldn't want to be ignored if Romney were president.) I think this is the mistake Bush made - only he ostracized liberals and moderates.

    Yeah.... I'm kind of torn. And, I agree with Sam that Warren's views aren't just a "policy" difference.

    Posted by: damien | Dec 22, 2008 2:59:20 PM

  18. ...while not supporting gay marriage didn't obama come out, (no pun intended), against pro 8 and if so why isn't this more a part of the debate...and what of the pro gay rights afro/am preacher...what's his name? *crickets* ...yeah, just as i thought, no response to his inclusion, lost somewhere in the shuffle...does this mean that all this remains a complex issue in our times or is it simply a black and white issue with no gray in between, kind of like BO and white...inbetween...hmmm, just wondering...

    Posted by: yeahisaidit | Dec 22, 2008 3:09:19 PM

  19. Reach across the aisle? Sure. Reach across the auditorium? No.

    Posted by: Bernie | Dec 22, 2008 3:29:47 PM

  20. Depends on what you mean by "came out" against Prop. 8. Schwarzennegger, Obama, and Pelosi issued written statements against it. Which, of course, is the political equilvalent of: "Whatever."

    At least Fienstein, much to my surprise given her farily conservative record, did a TV commercial. And Clinton did some election day robo-calls characterizing Prop. 8 as "unfair and wrong." But even these efforts only materialized at the last minute.

    Although we can't blame the political class for our own failure to mobilize an effective response, their help was less than enthusiastic. If you read between the lines, you definitely get the feeling they just didn't care.

    Posted by: John in CA | Dec 22, 2008 3:40:05 PM

  21. Why doesn't Obama invite some member of the KKK or a neo-nazi to the Inauguration, if he wants to reach out to people from other "ideas"?

    Posted by: Christian | Dec 22, 2008 3:47:39 PM

  22. It's insulting to be told we have nothing to worry about when those in California had their civil rights stripped. Clearly, we have a lot to worry about or there would be no need for the outcry against this decision. I don't expect them to necessarily "get it," but the condescending attempts at reassurance need to end.

    Posted by: David | Dec 22, 2008 4:01:08 PM

  23. Biden was picked to be VP because he's totally on board with the islamophobic war for the oil riches of the muslim Middle East. He and Obama support continued US funding of the ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies committed against Palestinians. Both supported the idea of calling the Iranian Revolutionary guard a terrorist group, opening the way for war. Both support ramping up the murder of civilians in Afghanistan and cross border raids against Syria and Pakistan. McCain has the same politics.

    Biden voted for DOMA. He opposes same sex marriage and GLBT equality. He and Obama are bigots. McCain has the same politics.

    Biden is the Senator form BoA who wrote the bankruptcy bill that allows credit cardsharks to take bigger bites from working people and consumers, many of whom pay medical bills with their plastic because Biden and Obama and the Clintons oppose socialized medicine. McCain has the same politics.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Dec 22, 2008 4:05:26 PM

  24. "Why doesn't Obama invite some member of the KKK or a neo-nazi to the Inauguration"

    He can't find any available. They're all busy posting on Gay Blogs.

    Are you free on the 20th?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 22, 2008 4:20:31 PM

  25. I can understand reaching "a hand of friendship across the aisle." But can anyone tell me what Obama has done to extend that hand of friendship to the gay community as well as to bigots like Rick Warren.

    Did he speak up to encourage people voting for him in California to also vote against Proposition 8? No.

    Has he appointed any openly gay people to his Cabinet or high level positions in his administration? No.

    Has he committed to pushing quickly on any single piece of legislation imporant to the gay community--including abolishing Don't Ask, Don't Tell? No.

    The gay community has gotten exactly one token of recognition and inclusion by Obama so far--we'll have a marching band in his parade.

    I wouldn't call that a hand of friendship. Might be more accurate to say he's given us the finger.

    Posted by: NickC | Dec 22, 2008 4:42:00 PM

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