Here's the video.
And here's a transcript, emphases mine. I did some editing because Joe Biden wouldn't recognize grammatical agreement if Samuel Johnson beat him with a dictionary. It sounds ok when he speaks, but it reads like something diseased, so I cleaned it up some.
And just for the record: Blitzer is an egotistical asshole who keeps interrupting people and changing the subject just when they are about to make their actual point. That's what they pay him the big bucks for.
VIDEO Rumsfeld: "You go to war with the army you have - not the army you might want."
Blitzer:That answer has been widely criticized - the answer that Donald Rumsfeld gave. And you issued a strong statement condemning the fact that there is not enough armor yet for vehicles going into Iraq. Is it time for Donald Rumsfeld, in your opinion, to step down?
Biden: I thought it was time for him to step down a year and a half ago, but look - Donald Rumsfeld can't have it both ways. If, in fact, we went with the army we had - this ill-equipped - then we should have waited. Because this was a war of choice. There was no sense of urgency to go when we did. The truth is - and I believe Senator Hagel would agree with me because we have been there four times together - we did NOT go with the army we had. We had an incredibly heavy mechanized army we left at home.
We were speaking with the general who was in charge of the first Calvary - an honorable, tough, straight-shooting division - and he pointed out to us that at the front end of the war he wasn't allowed to take all his heavy equipment. He's still not able to take all his heavy equipment. We went into war without hundreds of thousands of troops that we needed, and so, you can't have it both ways here. We did not go with the army we had.
And I'll conclude by saying: this is not a surprise to Joe Biden or Chuck Hagel. I remember Chuck Hagel - when we went the first time a year ago August, Senators Lugar, Hagel and Biden, 117 degrees - I turned around and wondered where Chuck was. As an old Army guy, Chuck as a sergeant was back talking to a non-commissioned officer behind us, asking about whether they had everything they had and what the morale was. It was clear then that was not available. They knew it. They knew it then, they haven't done anything about it.
Blitzer: What about that, Senator Hagel?
Hagel: Well, I've always believed that if you want to know what's going on in the army, go to the guys who really fight, and the guys who lead, and are the backbone of the army, and they're the non-commissioned officers. And that's exactly what I did do. Joe is correct.
But beyond that, a couple of observations.
One: Secretary Rumsfeld's response to this young soldier. That soldier and those men and women there deserved a far better answer from their Secretary of Defense than a flippant comment. That might work in a newsroom when you can be cute with the television audience, but not when you're putting these men and women in harm's way, who will be wounded, some will be killed - and I wonder what the parents thought. I wonder what the parents thought. The parents who have men and women over there - sons and daughters who are fighting. I don't think they appreciated that answer. Enough about that.
Blitzer: Let me interrupt you at that point, Senator Hagel, it sounds to me like you're expressing a vote of no confidence in the Defense Secretary.
Hagel: Well, the Secretary of Defense reports to the President of the United States. I've had my differences with this Secretary of Defense, and I've been very clear on it. I don't like the way he has done some things. I think they have been irresponsible. I don't like the way we went into Iraq. We didn't go into Iraq with enough troops. He's dismissed his general officers, he's dismissed all outside influence, he's dismissed outside counsel and advice, and he's dismissed a lot of inside counsel and advice from men and women who've been in military uniforms for 25 and 30 years.
One of the reasons we've got this problem, Wolf, in my opinion, is that we were unprepared for what we were going to face - what we are facing - in a post-Saddam Iraq. And this is just one more manifestation of the problem.
Listen when I talk to these young troops that come back - from Nebraska, National Guard Reserves active duty - and I sit down with them alone in a room, no cameras, I ask them. I was hearing some of these same things over the last year. Not the right kind of weaponry, personal body armor they didn't have, they didn't have armor for their vehicles. But yet, too many of our leaders in this administration were going around the country telling and reassuring Americans our troops had everything they wanted. Certainly the Congress was passing a lot of money to make sure that they had everything they wanted. So there are a lot of pieces in this. I do think that there is some good news. I do think the military is working to resolve these issues. I do think we are putting more armor on these vehicle and we are getting more personal armor to these troops and the weapons. But it goes beyond that, Wolf.
Blitzer: I'm going to take a quick break, but very briefly, Senator Hagel: were you disappointed that the President asked Rumsfeld to stay on?
Hagel: The President's decision is his decision. He will live with that decision, he'll have to defend that decision. And that's all I want to say about that.