Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Biden aides keep tight protective grip as allies say he still needs to prove his vigor

By 37ci3 Jul11,2024

WASHINGTON — After a dismal debate performance, President Joe Biden set out to prove to voters and Democratic leaders that he was not the confused politician they saw on stage that night.

He gave several interviews, spoke at rallies and mingled with union members and Black churchgoers. He will hold a press conference Thursday and be interviewed by NBC News’ Lester Holt on Monday.

However, his control of the party’s nomination remains uncertain, although the wave of MPs calling for him to step aside has for now waned. Many Democratic lawmakers, donors and strategists say he has yet to demonstrate the strength Americans have come to expect from a president. They would like him leave the raceBiden declined the invitation.

“The campaign has to accept that [the debate] It wasn’t just a blip, it’s a real problem,” Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., said in an interview. “They also need to understand that we need to take it out and do more non-public events. If he can do it, great, let him do it. If he can’t do that, then we really have to think about whether he’s the right person to step forward to remove Donald Trump from the White House.”

Biden’s events in the two weeks since the debate highlight why doubts persist. Aides put a cordon around him to minimize potential embarrassment. The controlling communications operation limits the freer exchanges with the media that other presidents are more willing to accept.

On the surface, Biden’s schedule meets the tests that Democratic lawmakers have set for him.

“The president is there,” Biden’s campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond said Tuesday. Interview with MSNBC. “He addresses those concerns. He shows his power; shows determination. We should support it and move forward.”

A closer look reveals that it is still protected in a way that might make it difficult to see a suspended debate performance. By trying to protect the aging president, his team may reinforce perceptions that he cannot function without intensive stage management.

Last week, Biden called two radio stations to ask questions — a move that Democratic leaders say will be important to show he can think on his feet.

Unbeknownst to the audience, Biden’s campaign had secured the hosts questions in advance.

“I’ve been doing this for decades, and I’ve never asked a reporter a question to ask a director,” said a veteran of the Barack Obama administration.

Despite his inherent advantage of anticipating questions, Biden was sometimes incoherent. Speaking to WURD radio in Philadelphia on July 3, she said, “By the way, I’m proud to be the first vice president — the first black woman — to serve with a black president, by the way. . . .”

In response to pre-approved questions, Biden’s campaign team said they would not do it again.

Last Friday, Biden sat down for an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. After it was over, Biden’s campaign team scrambled to make an answer a little more understandable than it sounded at the time.

Stephanopoulos asked how Biden would feel if he lost to Trump. It’s as if Biden said he wanted to do the “best” job he could. The non-word drew ridicule on social media.

First, ABC News used the word “best” in the transcript it posted. The Biden campaign later contacted the network to protest, saying Biden actually said something else. ABC News interrupted and quoted Biden as saying, “I did my best, and as long as I do the best I can, I’m going to feel good, that’s it.”

Biden campaign aides contacted other news outlets, citing the updated transcript NBC Newsrequesting that the word “best” be excluded from the scope.

(A Biden campaign spokesperson, when asked about the attempts to strike the word, said: “ABC made a mistake in their transcript and corrected it. We flagged it for reporters.”)

A town hall-like event is another way presidents typically seek to escape the isolation of the West Wing and hear from real voters, with the news media able to follow the exchanges. The last two Democratic presidents, Obama and Bill Clinton, held a number of town hall events during their time in office.

After the debate, some lawmakers called on Biden to hold a town hall so the nation could see him ask unscreened questions in real time.

“He should hold town halls and small roundtables with voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia and be as visible as possible among voters,” he said.

Since meeting with Trump, Biden has yet to hold a town hall event. A campaign spokesman said: “In the last week alone, our events in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have allowed the president to speak one-on-one with dozens of voters.”

A town hall is a high-risk proposition, the president cannot rely on a teleprompter or written notes.

Biden used both aids after the debate. He called inside MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday and insisted he was in the running to stay. People couldn’t see him because he wasn’t on camera. But at one point, as he said he was “reading from a list of lies” from Trump, listeners heard the rustling of documents in the background.

“They are so afraid that his shortcomings will be exposed,” Mike McCurry, the White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, said of Biden’s team.

In an effort to present Biden in the most favorable public light, his campaign used aggressive measures that contradicted his claims. respect for free press.

New York Times reporter wrote on the social network At a rally for Vice President Kamala Harris in Las Vegas last month, a Biden campaign staffer cut interviews with voters after the comments were critical of Biden.

Members of the Biden campaign sometimes insisted that a staffer be present at events for reporter interviews with voters who were part of the crowd. Biden campaign staff shadowed an NBC News reporter in Philadelphia in April as he interviewed volunteers attending the opening of the new office.

During the Biden campaign on the battlefield this year, another NBC News reporter asked staffers if the reporter could interview voters. The campaign offered a Democratic consultant without disclosing the person’s role.

Asked about the incident, the Biden campaign said: “If this was anyone’s experience, it should not have been, and we have taken steps to ensure that all employees understand our policy.”

McCurry said he did not blame Biden’s advisers. Cautioning that he had no inside knowledge of what Biden aides told the boss, McCurry added: “I feel very sorry for the people around him, I know most of them very well. I believe they carefully tried to explain the reality to him. … They tried to present the truth to him, but at the end of the day it’s up to Biden. He is the person who has to decide whether he agrees to it or not.”

Biden’s next big test comes Thursday at the end of a three-day NATO summit in Washington. He will attend a press conference with reporters investigating whether his physical condition is more serious than the White House is letting on.

The news conference is a more high-profile move than the town hall, and gives Biden a new chance to address concerns about his acrimony. Some wonder if it’s too late, or if sentiment about Biden’s vulnerabilities has already hardened.

Carol Moseley Brown of Illinois, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate and a delegate to the upcoming Democratic National Convention, said the White House waited too long to oppose the outcome of the debate. He said Biden was too isolated from the public, a dynamic that worked to his detriment.

“They should have started immediately, but they didn’t. I guess they thought it was going to go away and were surprised, like me, I think it had legs,” he said.

“But it really happened and people are still talking about it two weeks later, and that’s unfortunate for a good president.”

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By 37ci3

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