White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted to CNN Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod that the staff doesn’t like President Joe Biden taking impromptu questions from reporters.
Axlerod gave Psaki a sympathetic tone, at least to me, implying the administration does not have a choice but to keep Biden on a short leash:
During one portion of the interview, Axelrod asked Psaki “about the handling of Biden.” He noted that the president has “never exactly” been “a precision instrument,” suggesting one of his weaknesses – and strengths – is that “he says what’s on his mind.”
“It seems to me that you guys have done a good job of managing that, because a lot of his interactions are speeches and settings in which you have a pretty good sense going in what he’s going to say,” Axelrod pointed out.
“I think the thing that’s interesting is that he actually takes questions – I mean he took questions, I mean he did a mini press conference yesterday. He takes questions nearly every day he’s out from the press,” Psaki said after Axelrod wondered about the “impromptu interviews.”
Just wow. “The handling of Biden.” So when we call them his handlers we’re not lying.
The White House quietly corrected a gaffe President Biden made during his Thursday news conference in which he appeared to mix up the names of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and the controversial former head of Pakistan’s military.
“And General Austin is — just met with Kayani and I’m waiting for the briefing on that,” Biden said Thursday.
But the official White House transcript of the briefing now says “Ghani” instead of Kayani.
Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani departed the Pakistan military in 2013. In a retrospective on Kayani’s leadership, The New York Times reported that Kayani was often accused of “double-dealing and bad faith.”
Though Biden’s use of cue cards to screen questions and speak about policy is unprecedented for a commander-in-chief, supporters have argued that the move makes sense given Biden’s past history of gaffes, such as confusing his wife for his sister and forgetting the name of his Secretary of Defense, former Raytheon board member Lloyd Austin.
Despite his helpful cue cards, Biden still managed to make numerous gaffes during Thursday’s press conference.
In one instance, Biden promised to “say something outrageous” but then appeared to entirely forget what he was talking about and moved on:
During Joe Biden’s long-awaited first press conference since taking office, the President said “I’m going to say something outrageous,” then promptly forgot what he was going to say, in what could be described as the newest addition to his long list of embarrassing gaffes.
“I’m going to say something outrageous,” said Biden. “I have never been particularly poor at calculating how to get things done in the United States Senate. So, the best way to get something done, if you, if you hold near and dear to you that you uh, um, like to be able to uh, anyway,” muttered Biden.
“We’re going to get a lot done,” said the President.
Biden’s cue cards came in handy when he was asked a question about North Korea, which he responded to byreading a prepared response off of his cheat sheet.