At a Pennsylvania campaign stop on Monday, hours after President Donald Trump said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had “waved a white flag” in regards to his schedule, Biden insisted he’s been spending “12-hour day[s]” with Democratic Party officials in private even as his time in public had been limited.
Speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in Chester, Pennsylvania, Biden’s answer seemed to underscore the campaign’s current messaging regarding the early “lid” Biden has been putting on his days: There’s a lot of work going on, you’re just not seeing it.
“I’m going to be going to Iowa. I’m going to Wisconsin. I’m going to Georgia. I’m going to Florida and maybe other places as well,” Biden said at the stop, which took place at the relatively late hour (for him) of 4 p.m.
“There’s a lot we’ve been doing as well in terms of being online and social — excuse me. Everything from fundraising efforts to making sure we meet. I met today with a group of leaders in the Democratic Party laying out where we’re going to go, getting their input and like so. We’re constantly, there has not been a day that hadn’t been a 12-hour day yet.”
Joe Biden is asked about his “light public schedule” while speaking in Chester, PA:
“We’re constantly — there has not been a day that hasn’t been a 12-hour day yet.”pic.twitter.com/Lj3UeahvDW
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 26, 2020
What’s telling is that this response, according to a transcript of the event from Rev, came after the first question he faced from a reporter, in which the reporter made it clear Biden had “kept a relatively light public schedule in the past few days.” Not a question, a statement.
The day before, to give an example, Biden’s schedule seemed to consist of going to Mass and giving remarks before a virtual concert.
Good (late) morning from Wilmington, where Biden is spending the day. I was pool. He attended church and now has a lid on in-person campaign events for the day.
He’s slated to deliver remarks during a virtual concert tonight.
— Katie Glueck (@katieglueck) October 25, 2020
This isn’t to cast aspersions on Sunday church-going or on giving remarks to the “I Will Vote” concert — featuring all your favorite acts of at least a decade (or more) ago, including Cher, Dave Matthews, Foo Fighters, Sara Bareilles and more — but this isn’t quite a full day’s campaigning with only a little more than a week left to go until Election Day.
Last week, Biden called a lid on four straight days of campaigning, perhaps not coincidentally as Hunter Biden’s laptop dominated the headlines in publications that weren’t pretending it didn’t exist.
On Monday, before Trump called him out, Biden had no campaign events scheduled, according to Fox News. By Monday afternoon, however, his campaign said Biden would be making a “local stop,” Fox reported.
It’s not particularly shocking that Biden has an ambitious travel schedule with a week left in the campaign. What is stupefying, however, is that the Democratic nominee in the most consequential presidential election in decades even makes a ripple of news by announcing he’s going to those states.
It also came hours after the president said Biden has “waved a white flag on life” and that the candidate “doesn’t leave his basement.”
Absolutely spectacular response from Trump:
REPORTER: Joe Biden says you’ve waved the white flag on fighting the coronavirus…..
TRUMP: No, no, he has. He’s waved a white flag on life. He doesn’t leave his basement. pic.twitter.com/bqELNMSzTz
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 26, 2020
Trump was responding to a question regarding Biden’s latest applause line on the campaign trail: that Trump’s administration has “waved the white flag” on COVID-19. Biden used it again to begin his remarks in Pennsylvania on Monday, a reminder that the man who could spit out speechwriter wisdom like “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” — like he did to any journalist who would print or air it back in 2012 — is still at that game, if not perhaps at the top of it.
But as for what they’re waving, it’s hard to tell whether it’s the white flag or a premature checkered flag. Neither should be particularly heartening for Biden’s supporters.
What should be telling is that the next question Biden faced was whether he was “confident enough in your standing in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan to be expanding the map and traveling to Iowa.”
While a Senate pickup in Iowa appears to be within the Democratic grasp, according to polls, and Biden visiting would likely be a boost for candidate Theresa Greenfield in her race against GOP Sen. Joni Ernst, Biden in no way needs the state’s six electoral votes to win the presidency. Likewise, the 16 electoral votes Georgia would give him aren’t necessary, although again a Senate seat there would be nice for his party (if not the country).
What really matters for Democrats is the so-called “blue wall” states — the traditional party strongholds of Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump won all but Minnesota in 2016.
Biden appeared to acknowledge this, according to the Rev transcript, saying that “you know, that blue wall has to be re-established. With the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors, I’m going to win Pennsylvania. It’s a matter of a great deal to me personally as well as politically. I think we’re going to win Michigan. I think we’ll win Wisconsin. I think we’re going to win Minnesota.”
And then he went on to prove the problem was real: “I think we have a fighting chance in Ohio. I think we have a fighting chance in North Carolina. We have a fighting chance in Georgia. A fighting chance in Iowa.”
All four of those states are wholly extraneous to Biden becoming president. If Biden wins the states in the traditional “blue wall” that was supposed to make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to lose, he wins. If he takes Florida, he could still lose all of those but Pennsylvania and still win the election.
If Biden wanted those Senate seats, there are plenty of Roman Catholic churches in Georgia or Iowa where he could have attended Mass before making his case to voters there on Sunday, all before making his remarks to that virtual concert.
And then there’s the campaign’s other excuse, that all of the work being done behind closed doors. While he may be done with his days before noon, he’s meeting with those leaders, pulling 12-hour days — don’t you worry about ol’ Uncle Joe, oh ho, he’s as spry as a spring twig!
This is what we got when it was assumed he was doing prep before his two debate appearances, though; even those in the media who posited him as the winner both times seem to concede it had nothing to do with Biden distinguishing himself via exceptional performance. Looking at last week’s event, one almost got the feeling of watching a man who knew he was in the last official debate of his public life, no matter what happens on Nov. 3 and beyond.
Next Tuesday will either be a period that ends the run-on sentence of Joe Biden’s political career or it’ll be a comma that extends it. So indifferent does the man seem to which one it is that even the media, not given to questioning his wisdom, is asking about his “light public schedule.”
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