What's Up with Joe? Biden Stares Off-Camera, Struggles To Make It Through Softball Interview


The general consensus was that former Vice President Joe Biden’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention cleared the bar that had been set for him.

The problem was that bar was so low that the Democratic nominee was basically hopping over the floor.

“Words kept recurring: Dignity. Normalcy. Decency. Integrity. Stability. Sanity. Family. Big-hearted. Justice. Respect. Faith. Hope. Love,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote in an Aug. 20 piece.

“There was little about policy from Biden, and certainly no laundry list of proposals and promises. There was no attempt to throw red meat to the political left. This was about healing and recovery.”

No, this was about sentences on a teleprompter and a man who actually had to answer questions as to whether there was enough gray matter left under those graying hair plugs to recite those words. I mean, not to belabor the point, but this was about a guy who could read and enunciate words like “dignity,” “normalcy,” “decency” and “integrity” with enough conviction that Biden cheerleaders like Milbank could write empurpled prose about “healing and recovery” and how the nominee’s speech was dripping with the milk of human kindness.

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Of course, once the fireworks were over, there was the smoke that hung in the air: What would happen when Biden faced a real interview? He’d already made a fool of himself in the early days of the pandemic when there were debacles like this:

“We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse, no matter what. No matter what.” Unless he’s stanning on The Cure here — and I like “Disintegration” as much as the next former alienated teenager, but I think those might not be the priorities the moment calls for — Biden’s answer doesn’t make sense in any context.

Do you think that former Vice President Joe Biden is experiencing cognitive decline?

This was “The View,” however. It’s actually physically difficult to force my fingers to type these words out, but Joy Behar’s motley crew occasionally asks mildly difficult questions of politicians, even liberals. That hurts to admit and I want to give my MacBook a shower now, but the truth hurts and Apple products are expensive.

Anyhow, if Biden wanted some placid waters to test his seaworthiness, there was no better place than Anderson Cooper’s CNN show. The issue of Jacob Blake’s shooting at the hands of police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was one of the items up for discussion, and Cooper was willing to play T-ball with the Democratic nominee.

Depending on how you looked at it, Biden either grazed the top of the ball and couldn’t hit it out of the infield or missed it entirely, swung the the bat around and hit himself in the face.

Here’s video of the Thursday exchange. Pay close attention to Biden’s eyes here:

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If you didn’t catch it, here’s Dickensian-named Federalist writer Tristan Justice pointing out exactly what he thought was wrong with this clip:

Cooper, a journalist who has covered both Hurricane Katrina and famine in Niger on the ground, couldn’t be bothered to point out that during every answer, the Democratic candidate very clearly looked off-camera. One assumes that he wasn’t checking his new messages on Slack.

This was true throughout the videos above, but particularly between about the 1-minute and 1:20 marks of the first clip, when Biden seemed to struggle to get through his talking points without staring off-screen every few seconds.

You can almost picture the scene. Biden: “Hold on a second there, pony soldier. My iPad crashed.” Cooper: “Take your time, Mr. Vice President.”

Cooper didn’t notice, but everyone else kind of did:

Meanwhile, check out Cooper in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination Thursday, when the CNN host was on with a “fact-checker” who called Trump a serial prevaricator:

Yeah, there was clearly that kind of fact-checking going on during Biden’s exchange with Cooper, during which the former vice president stated flat-out that he thought the president was “rooting for violence” to help his re-election chances.

Evidence: zero! Pushback from Cooper: zero!

This wasn’t even “The View” and the best that Biden could accomplish was a dead-eyed performance which caused many people to assert — though of course it’s impossible to know for sure what Biden was looking at off-screen — that our beloved dog-faced pony soldier was reading off of a script.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear she didn’t think Biden should debate Trump.

“I don’t think that there should be any debates. I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts,” the California Democrat said.

Yes, that’s exactly why Pelosi doesn’t want Biden to debate Trump. </sarcasm>

This was before Biden’s interview with Cooper, mind you. She didn’t need to see that, though.

The “truth, evidence, data and facts” raise some serious questions about the Democratic presidential nominee’s cognitive health. She knows that in debates, you can’t read off of a teleprompter.

Former President Barack Obama may have said it best when he reportedly told another Democrat: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.”

Democrats certainly aren’t. Just look at what happens when he’s given a T-ball interview.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture