Before Joe Biden signed up for the rigors of the 2020 presidential campaign, he spoke to his old boss, Barack Obama, on a number of occasions. During their conversations, the former president reportedly had this bit of advice for his former vice president, according to The New York Times: “You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t.”
Later, after Joe decided he really did have to do this, Obama took a keen interest in Biden’s campaign, although not necessarily because he was offering tacit support. In one meeting with Biden’s senior campaign staff, he emphasized that they shouldn’t let Biden “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy.”
It’s not difficult to see why Obama offered this advice: The Democratic presidential nominee, who was never quite Gore Vidal when it came to crafting quips, has become a stumbling parody of what was already a stumbling parody.
Biden apparently has taken to using teleprompters during interviews now, a charge his campaign won’t even bother responding to because the evidence is so overwhelming.
Thankfully, candidates are expected to use scripts when they give speeches, which meant the candidate’s address in Warren, Michigan, last week had a decent chance of going smoothly.
Alas, even with a script, Biden can still screw things up.
He managed to make it through a rah-rah “Buy American” speech without many problems. After giving the usual Democrat propitiation to unions and promising plenty of union jobs, Biden decided to look for his schedule.
“I want to thank you all. I carry with me,” Biden said, reaching into his pocket. “I don’t have it. I gave it to my staff. I carry with me, in my pocket — do I have that around?
Anyone? Where’s my staff? I gave it away.”
Joe Biden is lost behind the podium in Warren, Michigan.
“Where’s my staff?” pic.twitter.com/ubjuv5IFv0
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 9, 2020
Biden transitioned into showing the schedule, supplied to him by his able staff, which he said “lists every single day the number of troops lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. The number wounded.”
“This is my schedule,” he continued. “The back of the schedule is always a black box. You can’t really see it. The press may be able to.”
Biden went on to list not only deaths in foreign conflicts but also the number of people both infected with and killed by COVID-19 in the United States. It didn’t really jibe with the rest of the speech, but I suppose it’s the kind of ceterum censeo we can expect from the Biden campaign in the last few weeks of the campaign.
If he’s going to do that, however, it would help if that schedule, if it’s going to be used as a prop, would be close at hand for Biden.
This isn’t the only misfire we’ve seen out of the 77-year-old nominee, a man who’s clearly seen better days. It’s obvious that, if Biden is going to appear as if he’s in control and with it, he can’t be given any space to go off script.
He’d be excused if this was out of the ordinary. Instead, it’s out of the ordinary when there’s a day we don’t have to cover these mistakes.
In a recent speech, Biden said there were 6,114 COVID-19 deaths in the military. There have actually been seven — just 873 times off.
Even when he does nail it, it’s clear that’s because of teleprompters and scripts that ensure everything goes smoothly. The problem is Biden is too often prone to revealing there’s a teleprompter involved, as in during a recent Q&A where he asked his staff to “move it up here” before an awkward pause and an answer that was clearly scripted.
This latest gaffe got plenty of play on Twitter.
June 2021: “Pres. Biden, we need you to authorize a preemptive strike now. Where are the nuclear codes?”
“I—I carry with me, in my pocket, a—do I have that … around … anyone—wuh wuh where’s my staff?” <fumbles aimlessly through his pockets>
— Tom Kattman (@TomKattman) September 11, 2020
“I carry <daily military deaths list> with me everyday…”
“Where’s my staff? They must have it..”
— SIWGF ?? (@SIWGF1) September 9, 2020
Biden: “Mitch… Mish… I keep… in my pocket… Mich… You know… the thing… Where’s my staff?… Potato.”
— Fuzzy Chimp (@fuzzychimpcom) September 10, 2020
Beyond this, I’d like to point out there’s nothing that makes Biden look like a man stuck in the analog age more than carrying a printout with him listing all of the military and/or COVID-19 deaths in the United States. He doesn’t have a cellphone? He can’t have someone text him this data?
Say what you will about President Donald Trump and his Twitter account, at least he uses Twitter. Biden’s account features stilted tweets clearly crafted by a younger member of his staff. Biden, meanwhile, comes across as one of those older relatives who calls it “the Tweeterers” or something inane like that. And he wants to be in a position to find those doggone nuclear codes if it ever comes to that.
Biden seems to be a man who often loses track of where he is and what he’s doing.
He didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to embarrass himself or damage his legacy.
He did and he has.
This is a man who’s no longer seaworthy, pulled to the left by the tide of his party and proposing a multitude of initiatives he has neither the energy nor political capital to properly pull off.
If this is the best Democrats can offer America, heaven help us all.
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