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Joe Biden defends war story: ‘Details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making’

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden said details he might have mixed up in relaying a story about a soldier who refused a medal are irrelevant in the context of broader decision-making.

“I was making a point about a generation,” Mr. Biden told NPR in an interview published on Tuesday. “That has nothing to do with a judgment of whether or not you send troops to war, the judgment of whether you bring someone home, the judgment of whether or not you decide on a health care policy. You understand that.”

“The details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making,” said Mr. Biden, the 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner.

“The fact that I would forget that it was [Maj. Gen. David] Rodriguez who was pinning — I believe this is the case pinning a bronze star on a young man was — it’s irrelevant to the point,” he said. “It’s like saying, ‘I had this very bright reporter, and I think her eyes were blue.’ What difference would it make about whether you were a bright reporter? Your eyes are brown. It’s irrelevant, and you know it.”

The Washington Post reported last week that it appeared Mr. Biden had jumbled details of several separate events into one narrative of a Navy captain who refused to be honored by Mr. Biden after he had rappelled down a ravine to retrieve the body of a fallen soldier.

Mr. Biden had previously defended the sentiment behind the story, saying he was making a point about the courage of service members.

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