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Biden calls ‘Morning Joe,’ denounces media and political elites as Democrats warn of Trump victory

After Biden's poor presidential debate performance against former President Trump, pressure within the Democratic Party is mounting to address the president's declining mental acuity.

President Biden’s ABC interview, given a huge buildup by the campaign itself, was a flop that changed no one’s mind about his ability to serve another four years.

Biden was raspy and low energy with George Stephanopoulos, lost his train of thought or interrupted himself a couple of times, insisted he wasn’t frail, dismissed polls he didn’t like and appeared to be in denial about the depth of the crisis he is facing. He was better than the disastrous debate, but that’s a pretty low bar.

It’s inexplicable to me that Biden let more than a week go by doing only rally speeches. He should be doing a half dozen interviews – not one – to demonstrate his mental acuity.


But then it occurred to me that his inner circle doesn’t think he can do it. Doing multiple interviews is such an obvious move that the White House, which hid Biden’s condition from many of its own officials and residence staff, would have him out there if there was more confidence in his ability to avoid blunders.

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So, yesterday, the president called in to his favorite show, “Morning Joe.” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who talks to Biden regularly, including in the last week or so, is his most vociferous defender on television. While Scarborough said after the debate meltdown that Biden should consider stepping aside, since then he’s really dug in on defense.

Scarborough asked if Biden believed the Democrats are doing the same thing as Trump in 2020, trying to overthrow the popular will of Democratic voters.

“The reason I’ve been out on the road so much all over the country, and while Trump is riding around his golf cart … I’ve been all over the country, number one, and I’ve run over the country for several reasons. One, to make sure my instinct was right about the party still wanting me to be the nominee,” Biden responded.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski, to her credit, rattled off many of the critics who want the president to step aside.

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“The New York Times editorial board, The Economist, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Boston Globe. Jerry Nadler. Seth Moulton. Let me go to Julian Castro, Tim Ryan, David Axelrod —”

“You’re kidding,” said Biden, who’s been angry at the former Obama-Biden White House official since he suggested last fall that Biden not run again.

“David Remnick, Richard Haass … Zeke Emanuel. … These are pretty big names.”

Biden’s response: “I don’t care what those big names think. They were wrong in 2020. They were wrong in 2022 about the red wave. They’re wrong in 2024.”

And in a closing rant: “I’m getting so frustrated by the elites. Now, I’m not talking about you guys but about the elites in the party who they know so much more. If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me.”

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Former GOP congressman Scarborough said Biden is well positioned to run against “media elites, New York Times editorial page, billionaire donors … Hollywood moguls.”

With all due respect to everyone involved, Biden is a pillar of the Washington establishment least able to make that case. Thirty-six years in the Senate. Eight as vice president. Almost four as president. He worked with many of these Democrats in passing major legislation, sometimes with bipartisan support. They love the guy. These are his people. They just think Trump is going to trounce him.

If you need further evidence that Biden’s team doesn’t trust him, look at two interviews that the president did with Black radio stations in Pennsylvania last week – an utterly routine task for any candidate.

The White House sent a bunch of questions in advance, then argued that this was standard practice and not a condition of the interviews. No, it’s an ethical breach.

Andrea Lawful-Sanders, who interviewed Biden on WURD-FM, acknowledged on CNN that she had used four of the advance questions, and the station has now fired her.

Sara Lomax, CEO of WURD, said using pre-determined questions “violates our practice of remaining an independent media outlet accountable to our listeners … WURD is not a mouthpiece for the Biden, or any other, administration.”

Earl Ingram, a host at WMCS in Milwaukee, also admitted using the same four White House questions. The administration now says it will no longer send out suggested questions.

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But even though he knew what was coming, Biden still botched the Lawful-Sanders interview. He said he was proud to be “the first Black woman to serve with a Black president.” Huh? 

While hosting a NATO summit in Washington this week, Biden promised to hold a solo news conference, which will be a good test of his agility when answering aggressive questions, but should have already been done.

Meanwhile, while a number of major donors say they won’t give the Democrats another dime if Biden remains the nominee, new information underscores the administration’s lack of candor.

HOW THE PRINTING OF BALLOTS COULD PUT DEMOCRATS ON DEADLINE TO POTENTIALLY REPLACE BIDEN

Kevin O’Connor, the White House doctor who has refused to do interviews, had a specialist in Parkinson’s disease meet with a medical liaison 10 times, beginning in 2022 and most recently in March. The role of that neurologist, Kevin Cannard, had not been previously disclosed. The White House issued a non-denial, saying a variety of specialists from Walter Reed visit the White House.

Biden has repeatedly refused to take a neurological exam.

Look, as someone who’s covered him since the 1980s, when he enjoyed talking to reporters, I can tell you that Biden has wanted to be president his whole adult life. He’s been written off many times. He’s extremely unlikely to give up the job now. And if that’s the case, with 99% of the delegates pledged to him, no one can take it away from him.

Some media liberals and Democrats are talking about a “blitz primary” to see who emerges at the Chicago convention, or having Biden resign and hand the presidency to Kamala Harris, but none of that will happen without Biden’s acquiescence.

Now to the role of the media.

There is no question that the media failed miserably to penetrate a White House coverup of the president’s true condition. Maybe they could have been more aggressive. Maybe they were deterred by the strong White House pushback against those who focused on the 81-year-old president’s age, which has been in the news for months.

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We could all see the decline, from what was on television, that Biden was mumbling, stumbling and at times less than coherent. If you go back and look at Biden from 2020 or 2021, the difference is stark.

When the Wall Street Journal reported a month ago that “Behind Closed Doors, Biden Is Seen As Slipping,” the story was widely denounced, including by the “Morning Joe” panel. Now others, from the New York Times to CNN’s Carl Bernstein, have reported even more damaging stories.

On Sunday’s “Media Buzz,” Mollie Hemingway and Ben Shapiro argued that this was an open secret and that journalists were deliberately covering for the president. Mollie said the White House press corps should resign en masse.

But in the following segment, I asked FOX’s senior White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich how much she sees Biden on the road, to which she responded “not at all.”

The only exceptions, she said, were increasingly rare shouted questions and an occasional gaggle.

Karine Jean-Pierre got absolutely hammered yesterday for not disclosing the visits of the Parkinson’s specialist, according to White House logs, but said she was barred by law from confirming any names for security reasons.

I know Biden better than anyone at FOX, but I’ve had zero access to the president or his inner circle – which hasn’t stopped me from talking about the obvious decline we’ve all witnessed on television. And there’s no question that the overwhelmingly negative coverage of Trump, viewed by most journalists as a danger to democracy, is a factor here.

But the idea that journalists were sitting on these secrets negates how bubble-wrapped and isolated the candidate who wouldn’t even do a Super Bowl interview has been kept by his longtime handlers.

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