CNN Does Damage Control for Biden’s Senior Moments During SOTU Speech

News & Politics

Immediately following President Biden’s State of the Union Address Thursday night, CNN’s band of liberal anchors (Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, and Abby Phillip) praised his attacks on former President Trump, his “fight,” and tried to do damage control for his plethora of senior moments.

Tapper made sure to tout how Biden alluded to Trump 13 times (ABC counted 16) during the address. Once he quickly exhausted all the nice things he had to say, Tapper awkwardly pivoted to trying to downplay Biden’s bumbling, stumbling, and disgraceful mispronunciation of Laken Riley’s name (the young college student Biden’s open border policies killed) by calling her “Lincoln”:

Um, his presentation, his enunciation, of course, is not as clear as it once was a decade or two ago. His mind did seem fairly sharp. He ad-libbed a response to a pretty harsh moment, as some heckling about the tragic murder of UGA student Laken Riley, he got her name wrong. He called her Lincoln Riley, but as a general note, he condemned her murder, which was something that people were talking about.

“You’ve been to a lot of State of the Union addresses. Do you think that President Biden met the moment?” he asked Bash.

Bash quickly proclaimed: “He certainly met the moment that his members of his party, those who are really upset and worried about this coming election year and frankly, what would happen if he didn’t win another time because of their concerns about who’s on the other side of the ticket. They wanted him to be a fighter and boy fight did he deliver.”

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She also bristled at Biden’s critics. “Now, there is some criticism already that we’re hearing from some Republicans that it was too political. And the retort already is: Compared to what?” she openly scoffed, “I mean, you saw Marjorie Taylor Greene sitting there wearing a MAGA hat.”

The comment about the MAGA hat was Bash still fuming from before Biden started speaking. When some of her colleagues noted that Congresswoman Greene (R-GA) was wearing the hat, she snapped that hats were “not allowed” on the House floor.

Phillip was much more shamelessly open with the pleasure she got from watching the address. She loved how Biden “trolled” Republicans and they fell into the “trap” set by the White House:

What’s so striking to me is that Republicans, I think because they their whole thing right now is that Joe Biden is slow, that he’s too old, that he can’t do this, they walk into this trap every time that the White House sets for them.

Their speaker, Mike Johnson, tried to counsel them not to heckle, not to react in this way. And they did it. And it creates an opening, an opportunity for Joe Biden to react. He said to them, “I know you know how to read.” He had he had a lot of moments where he was kind of trolling them, and that worked for him in this speech, because that’s essentially, at the end of the day, this was a speech about all the things that presidents make speeches about.

But the question before Joe Biden today that he needed to answer the most was, how does he present to the American public? Republicans, it seemed to me, really handed him a golden opportunity on multiple occasions during the speech to do exactly what his aides wanted him to do, which was show some fight, show his ability to react in the moment.

Ignoring Biden’s gross praise for Russian prescription drug prices, his attacks on the Supreme Court Justices in front of him, his mispronunciation of Riley’s name, and the nonsensical rambling, Phillips proclaimed there were no “major gaffes.”

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

CNN State of the Union
March 7, 2024
10:35:43 p.m. Eastern

(…)

JAKE TAPPER: Um, his presentation, his enunciation, of course, is not as clear as it once was a decade or two ago. His mind did seem fairly sharp. He ad-libbed a response to a pretty harsh moment, as some heckling about the tragic murder of UGA student Laken Riley, he got her name wrong. He called her Lincoln Riley, but as a general note, he condemned her murder, which was something that people were talking about.

Dana bash, what did you think? You’ve been to a lot of State of the Union addresses. Do you think that President Biden met the moment?

DANA BASH: He certainly met the moment that his members of his party, those who are really upset and worried about this coming election year and frankly, what would happen if he didn’t win another time because of their concerns about who’s on the other side of the ticket. They wanted him to be a fighter and boy fight did he deliver.

Now, there is some criticism already that we’re hearing from some Republicans that it was too political. And the retort already is: [scoffs] compared to what? I mean, you saw Marjorie Taylor Greene sitting there wearing a MAGA hat.

(…)

10:37:20 p.m. Eastern

ABBY PHILLIP: What’s so striking to me is that Republicans, I think because they their whole thing right now is that Joe Biden is slow, that he’s too old, that he can’t do this, they walk into this trap every time that the White House sets for them.

Their speaker, Mike Johnson, tried to counsel them not to heckle, not to react in this way. And they did it. And it creates an opening, an opportunity for Joe Biden to react. He said to them, “I know you know how to read.” He had he had a lot of moments where he was kind of trolling them, and that worked for him in this speech, because that’s essentially, at the end of the day, this was a speech about all the things that presidents make speeches about.

But the question before Joe Biden today that he needed to answer the most was, how does he present to the American public? Republicans, it seemed to me, really handed him a golden opportunity on multiple occasions during the speech to do exactly what his aides wanted him to do, which was show some fight, show his ability to react in the moment.

He likes to ad-lib. It’s not always it doesn’t always work out well for him. He did it a few times tonight at without any major gaffes, and I think that was ultimately the bar that his aides wanted him to clear.

(…)

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