When asked by Jim Lehrer, the host of Newshour on PBS, if Hosni Mubarak was a dictator, the US vice president, Joseph Biden, said: ‘Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region, Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalising the relationship with Israel… I would not refer to him as a dictator.’
Here are some excerpts from the rest of Lehrer’s interview with Biden, containing more of the VP’s candid assessments.
On Darth Vader: Look, I know Darth fairly well, and Jim, I just want to mention that Darth has overcome asthma, some serious, serious asthma, and it’s just a really inspiring story, he’s written a children’s book about it, I gave a signed copy to my granddaughter for Christmas. Anyway our position is that before Darth blows up the planet Alderaan with his so-called Death Star, which is really just a large weather satellite with a few dual-use components, Darth should, you know, take some of that planet’s concerns into account. He should take their concerns seriously, and it should be a peaceful process. They have a right to protest against their planet getting blown up. But Jim, it’s a two-way street, and Alderaan shouldn’t be vandalising the Death Star’s weapon systems, which, of course, not that they exist. There’s been a concern that some of the more radical elements, you know, the Wookie Street, might try to do this. So no, we don’t think Darth Vader should resign. But if he does – if he does – we can find the recent appointment of Darth Maul as his acolyte Dark Lord of the Sith to be really, really encouraging from a human rights perspective. Just remember, the Empire is a fragile beacon of democracy in a turbulent universe.
On Cruella de Vil: I haven’t talked to Cruella for a few weeks, but, you know, we talk frequently. She’s been a great friend, and I would definitely not refer to her as a woman who slaughters several dozen Dalmatian puppies at a time in order to make full-length fur coats for herself out of their pelts. Not at all.
On Ozymandias: Some may say he’s just two vast and trunkless legs of stone standing in the desert in an antique land, but believe me, Ozymandias is still our guy in a very volatile region and we feel it’s just way premature to cut off our annual $1.3 billion military aid package, especially seeing as how effective he’s been at advancing American interests, not to mention the dynamic way he’s been able to move things forward for his own people. Ozymandias, he’s a real up-and-comer, I talk to him on the phone, you know, frequently, and I would definitely not refer to him as a decaying colossal wreck round which, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.
On Colonel Kurtz: Now Colonel Kurtz, I think he’s one of the few businessmen who’s realised the enormous untapped potential of Africa and, you know, should that be held against him? Kurtz is a big supporter of free trade, he’s been a real innovator with population control and he’s just been a great, great friend of both America and central Africa. Do I think he should get rid of that ring of skulls around his hut? Of course I do, Jim, or at least turn the skulls so they’re facing outward away from the hut, not in, that’s just a little too much, I’m not gonna lie. But you know, at the end of the day, Colonel Kurtz is a valuable force for human rights, stability, and sweetness and light in a very troubled part of the world. And you know, as for this agitator calling himself ‘Joseph Conrad’, I think – and so, frankly, does General Petraeus – that this guy, he has blood on his hands. I mean this Heart of Darkness stuff is really putting our troops and our allies’ troops at risk. That’s why we’ve put Conrad in solitary at Quantico while we figure out what to charge him with, it’s the only way. But Kurtz, God bless him.
On Anton Chigurrh: Look, what people often forget is that Anton’s been this incredible force for stability on the US-Mexico border. If anyone’s passionate about the rule of law and private property rights, it’s Anton Chigurrh. So we will continue to arm Anton Chigurrh, just like we have for the past thirty years, that relationship is rock-solid, and we think it’s the key to our highly successful approach to law and order along the border, peace and stability too. And one thing that everyone in Washington agrees on about Anton, his hair always looks great!
On Pope Benedict XVI: Pope Benedict XVI is of course an immensely popular spiritual leader with a following of hundreds of millions people. But Jim, is the pope Catholic? Is he? I really don’t think so Jim. No, I would definitely not refer to the pope as Catholic.