Interviewers have been incredibly indulgent with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden when he gives interviews from the basement of his home, particularly on one account: He seems to be reading his answers off of a teleprompter.
And they have to be noticing. Anderson Cooper is a veteran newsman who’s reported from war zones and interviewed every political figure under the sun. Surely he knew enough to notice, during a segment with Biden last month, that the candidate was looking down and to the left when he gave answers.
In another interview with a Miami TV station, Biden accidentally read the title on his teleprompter talking points, leading to the phrase “Venezuela top line messages” going viral on conservative Twitter. Last week, when he was asked a question, the camera cut to Biden before he was ready and he was forced to tell his staff to “move it up here.”
Biden’s campaign has been cagey about whether he uses a teleprompter during interviews and Q&A periods.
When asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier whether his boss uses canned text when he’s supposed to be spontaneous, Biden spokesman T.J. Ducklo didn’t answer, saying that “this is straight from the Trump campaign’s talking points” and that “it’s trying to distract the American people.”
By not giving a concrete answer, Ducklo said, he wasn’t going to “allow the Trump campaign to funnel their questions through Fox News.”
Whenever a campaign functionary evades a question with that kind of clumsy ineptitude, you can safely assume the worst.
However, if you want confirmation of the fact that Biden’s been very literally staying on script, I present this resurfaced clip from Biden’s appearance on James Corden’s late-night CBS show in April.
The “show and tell” format comes across as a set-up anyway, but check out the reflection about the 1:50 mark when Biden raises a picture of his two sons when they were in college:
You can plainly see that Biden’s reading text off of his computer monitor, either canned or being fed to him offscreen. This drew a pretty strong reaction from Twitter:
So here we have Biden caught redhanded using a teleprompter during a tv interview with James Corden. Now we know why his spokesman refused to answer @BretBaier‘s question about this the other day.
Who wants to bet that the media is going to ignore/cover this up to protect Joe? https://t.co/fUvLQ15RjI
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) September 12, 2020
If Joe Biden can’t do an interview with James Corden without a teleprompter how do you think he will handle Mexico, China, Russia, and all our other adversaries?
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) September 13, 2020
I don’t want to hear another damn word from Stelter, Tapper, Rucker et al. about the critical role they play as guardians of our democracy. They need to start asking Biden some legit questions or they need to sit down & shut their mouths. https://t.co/fcJGQU7TWD
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) September 12, 2020
And there were even those who thought the interview itself was staged:
Yes, this “Interview” was scripted. Note different colors for teleprompter text. They are two sides to the “conversation”. I’ve worked with TV teleprompters before. This is what they are.
This was staged. It’s all a show.
Why does Biden need a script? pic.twitter.com/zEwyR5E94u
— Eye of Orwell (@OrwellOf) September 12, 2020
It’s not just the fact he’s reading off of a teleprompter, which would be problematic enough in any normal context. This is on freaking James Corden’s show, for heaven’s sake.
When a prominent Democrat makes an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” it’s basically the interview equivalent of making a three-foot putt.
The fact Biden’s handlers believe he isn’t even capable of dealing with that should set off klaxons of warning to anyone who thinks they’re dealing with a man who’s not quite ready for the powers of the Oval Office.
Of course, this isn’t a surprise to anybody. When Biden doesn’t have a teleprompter, his interviews seem to turn disastrous.
Several of his basement appearances have been rambling messes, which one assumes are the ones where the teleprompter broke or Uncle Joe couldn’t read the script.
My personal “favorite,” so to speak, is this response from “The View” in March:
“Are you at all concerned, as President Trump said, we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself?”
“We have to take care of the cure that will make the problem worse no matter what”
Um, what? pic.twitter.com/VylTvzO3Tw
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 24, 2020
That’s hysterical stuff until you realize that could be the resident of the White House — one who could get obstreperous if asked to outsource decisions to his staff and their scripts as he so often has during this unusual campaign.
The bar is going to be set low for Biden during the presidential debates, but if the Democratic standard-bearer can’t even get through James Corden without a teleprompter, it’s hard to imagine him clearing even that.
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