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A Taped Interview With A Clinton White House Alum Won’t Be A Real Test Of Biden’s Competence

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Former Clinton White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos protected Joe Biden with a town hall in 2020.

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A taped sit-down interview with former Clinton White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos is no test of competence for an aging 81-year-old President Joe Biden struggling to reassure voters concerned about his cognitive decline.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported former President Barack Obama delivered a “harsher assessment of the presidential race than his public comments” suggest behind closed doors days after defending his former vice president over a catastrophic debate performance.

“Bad debate nights happen,” Obama wrote in an online post following the Atlanta debate. “Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself. Between someone who tells the truth; who knows right from wrong and will give it to the American people straight — and someone who lies through his teeth for his own benefit. Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November.”

But according to The Washington Post citing “several people familiar” with the former president’s behind-the-scenes remarks, “Obama has privately told allies who have reached out to him that President Biden’s already tough path to reelection grew more challenging after his shaky debate performance on Thursday.”

The New York Times followed the report with another story published Wednesday morning that a Biden ally disclosed the incumbent’s apparent consideration of “whether he can recover after a devastating performance on the debate stage in Atlanta” before the Democratic Party’s August convention.

“President Biden has told a key ally that he knows he may not be able to salvage his candidacy if he cannot convince the public in the coming days that he is up for the job after a disastrous debate performance last week,” the Times reported. “The president, who the ally emphasized is still deeply in the fight for re-election, understands that his next few appearances heading into the holiday weekend — including an interview scheduled for Friday with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News and campaign stops in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — must go well.”

The White House disputed the New York Times report.

The president’s ABC interview, meanwhile, will not prove to voters what he apparently thinks it will. If President Biden and his campaign were determined to give voters a genuine display of cognitive acuity, then Biden would agree to participate in the traditional live red-carpet, two-hour town hall debate (or better yet, a Lincoln-Douglas style forum with a timekeeper and no moderator) rather than sit down for a taped interview with a friendly reporter.

Recall in 2020 when the two major candidates opted to skip the second presidential debate and instead engaged in separate town halls run by competing networks on the same night. Then-President Donald Trump sat with NBC anchor of “Today” Savannah Guthrie in Miami, who took over the forum to ask most of the questions herself. Biden, in contrast, sat down with Stephanopoulos of ABC in Philadelphia, who refused to ask a single question about the discovered Delaware laptop which belonged to his son, Hunter.

The New York Post had dropped its first bombshell story from Hunter Biden’s hard drive one day prior to what was supposed to be the day of the second presidential debate held with a town hall-style format. The story revealed the former vice president had been lying with claims that he never spoke business with his son, “or with anyone else,” for years. A second story to drop on the morning of Biden’s ABC town hall revealed the presidential candidate personally stood to rake in millions from Chinese adversaries. Stephanopoulos protected the Democrat nominee instead with a soft-ball interview with some screened audience questions in between.

“What didn’t come up was Hunter Biden,” wrote David Marcus for The Federalist at the time. “What didn’t come up was credible claims from the New York Post, the oldest daily newspaper in America, showing that the former vice president met with a Ukrainian businessman connected to his son. The biggest story in America right now was just ignored.”

If the president were serious about demonstrating his mental acumen to hold the most powerful office in the world, he would offer Trump a return to the joint town hall debate format that was discarded in the last election, not opt for an even cheaper rerun of 2020.

Another sit-down with Stephanopoulos doesn’t prove anything.


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