WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that he never viewed ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal's mocking comment about him as a personal attack - but rather a reflection of policy disagreements over Afghanistan.
Biden told ABC's "This Week" that President Barack Obama's decision to fire his military commander in Afghanistan over McChrystal's remarks in Rolling Stone magazine was "the absolutely necessary thing to do." And he said others in the military agreed.
Biden said he was asked to survey six four-star generals to seek their opinions about whether McChrystal should stay or go. "Every single one said he had to go," Biden said. The six generals included active-duty as well as retired four-stars, he said, but he did not identify them.
Biden said McChrystal viewed him as the "enemy" because he had argued for a strategy "different in degree" from the general's counterinsurgency approach.
McChrystal was quoted in Rolling Stone as joking that he didn't recognize Biden's name.
Biden also said the tea party is not a racist group, though he believes that some of those involved in the movement have expressed racist views.
"Very conservative, very different views on government and a whole lot of things, but it is not a racist organization."
The president doesn't think so, either, Biden said.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People approved a resolution last week calling on tea party activists and others to "repudiate the racist element and activities" within the political movement.
Tea party organizers say racism does not have any place in their activities. Critics have pointed to signs and other actions at tea party gatherings as evidence of racist elements.
In defending the National Tea Party Federation, spokesman David Webb said yesterday the coalition of local and regional tea party groups has expelled the Tea Party Express from its ranks for refusing to remove its spokesman, conservative talk radio host Mark Williams, after he posted a blog that satirized the NAACP and referred to its president, Benjamin Jealous, as "Tom's nephew and NAACP head colored person." The blog post was "clearly offensive," Webb said.