President Joe Biden spoke with CNN’s last man standing, Jake Tapper, for a series of softball questions on Tuesday evening, October 11. In what appears to be the cable network’s final attempt to be taken seriously as a news organization, the lines of inquiry touched briefly on many of the hot-button issues of the day. However, brief flirtations that are barely skin deep do not a candid interview make.
The Hunter Biden Investigation
With leaked news that criminal charges could be coming down the pipeline for Joe Biden’s wayward son, Hunter, Tapper was obliged to delve into the president’s feelings on the matter. The elder Biden insisted that Hunter has been “on the straight and narrow” for years and highlighted that many of the legal issues had been addressed in the first son’s own memoir. However, 50 years in the DC Swamp has gifted Biden with the ability to duck a question and make it seem like an answer.
The possible gun charges against the commander-in-chief’s son involve Hunter falsely declaring that he was not a drug user on ATF Form 4473. When asked about the matter, the president replied:
“He came along and said – by the way, this thing about a gun, I didn’t know anything about it … But turns out that when he made [an] application to purchase a gun, what happened was he say – I guess you get asked, I don’t guess, you get asked a question, are you on drugs or do you use drugs? He said no. And he wrote about saying no in his book.”
Joe Biden and the Revisionist Recession
Despite a Democrat platform of climate change and racial justice being front and center in just about every midterm race across the country, voters have made their priorities clear in poll after poll: It’s the economy, stupid. With inflation remaining stubbornly high and gas prices braced for yet another hike, the president pooh-poohed suggestions that a recession was on the table … almost.
While many economists believe America is presently in a recession – and that only a revisionist manipulation of language is stopping the wider world from acknowledging such a condition – the administration has clung desperately to sticky job numbers as its key rebuttal.
“I don’t think there will be a recession. If it is, it will be a very slight recession. That is, we’ll move down slightly,” Biden explained. “It is possible. Look, it’s possible. I don’t anticipate it.” For financial analysts, banks, and investors, this was perhaps a case of the president doth protest too much. The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday issued yet another stark prognostication, saying, “The worst is yet to come, and for many people, 2023 will feel like a recession.”
Hot on the heels of Biden’s declaration that “Armageddon” could be imminent and that America is as close to nuclear war as it was back during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Tapper queried just how likely Russian President Vladimir Putin is to launch this kind of attack. “I don’t think [Putin] will [use nuclear weapons], but I think it’s irresponsible for him to talk about it,” Biden said while failing to acknowledge that he had made a similar political faux pas. He continued:
“The idea that a world leader of one of the largest nuclear powers in the world says he may use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, the whole point I was making was it could lead to just a horrible outcome, and not because anybody intends to turn it into a world war or anything, but you just – once you use a nuclear weapon, the mistakes that could be made, the miscalculations, who knows what would happen.”
Taking on Trump
Will he, or won’t he? Only the man himself and his hairstylist really know. Tapper questioned whether Biden plans on running for the Oval Office again in 2024 despite the fact that he turns 80 next month. In an answer that provided either nothing or everything – depending on how the White House wants to spin it – the president replied, “I’m going to be in the process of deciding.”
And then the line of questioning turned to whether Biden could beat Donald Trump in a general election. Tapper asked, “Is one of the calculations that you think you’re the only one who can beat Donald Trump?” Biden replied, “I believe I can beat Donald Trump again.”
Telling a Story
Perhaps the best possible conclusion for the interview was Tapper asking the president what “story” his party has to tell voters across America. Rather than take the traditional route of explaining what Democrats can offer the public, Biden immediately pivoted to a series of strawmen denunciations regarding what the GOP would do to the nation if the Senate were to swing its way.
It seems that, once again, the strategy is to not be Donald Trump. And while that certainly worked in 2020 when the party as headed by Joe Biden was an unknown quantity, after two years in power, it may not be quite the selling point the president believes.
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