Biden: Use of ground troops to be 'based on how the effort goes' in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the kickoff of the Nuns on the Bus tour Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.

Story highlights

  • Vice President Joe Biden suggests ground troops could be used in the future in Iraq
  • Earlier, President's spokesman said Obama won't consider ground troops for Iraq combat
While President Obama continues to insist that he has no plans to use U.S. combat troops on the ground in Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden is the latest member of the administration to say there could be a time when those troops are needed.
At an event in Des Moines, Iowa, where Biden joined the activist group Nuns on the Bus on Wednesday, he told a reporter that the need for ground troops would be determined "based on how the effort goes" in Iraq, according to a media pool report.
Biden's statement came hours after the President's spokesman, Josh Earnest, told reporters that "The President will not review or consider options that involve putting American military personnel on the ground into a combat role."
Earnest's message echoes the President's, in which he pointedly said during an address to the nation two weeks ago that the fight against ISIS "will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."
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But questions about that comment arose Tuesday when a top military commander, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Senate hearing that he would recommend, if necessary, that U.S. ground troops "should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets."
At the Iowa event, Biden referred to Dempsey's statement.
"He said that if in fact, he concluded that was needed, he would request it from the President," Biden said, adding: "His conclusion is that it is not needed now."