CNN hosted President Biden for a town hall event in Baltimore. Biden was on the defensive all night lowering expectations for passing his domestic agenda.
During a town hall event hosted by CNN, President Joe Biden touted the benefits of his domestic spending agenda, zeroing in on two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, by name in their opposition to portions of it.
- Biden admitted that his proposal, after negotiations with all factions of the Democratic Party, will likely not include corporate tax hikes.
- Several of Biden’s key initiatives, like 12 weeks of paid family leave and two years of free community college, are being eliminated or scaled back during the negotiating process.
- The Senate’s filibuster should also be on the chopping block according to Biden, who spent decades in the upper chamber, to advance election-related legislation.
- President Biden also told the American people to expect high gas prices through the rest of the year.
- Foreign policy was briefly mentioned when President Biden re-committed to America’s defense of Taiwan if attacked by Communist China.
- CNN’s analysis of their event highlighted Biden’s shift on the Senate filibuster rules and the White House’s efforts to do damage control on a few of Biden’s commitments, including using the National Guard to alleviate supply chain woes and protecting Taiwan against China.
- Washington Post’s coverage painted a rosy picture of the town hall, focusing on Biden’s “optimism” and positive thinking, while noting the President groused over negative coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Huffington Post used the town hall as an opportunity to snipe at Arizona Kyrsten Sinema, who it says “stood in the way of raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans.”
- Fox News fumed that Biden only took two questions from Republicans while answering seven queries from Democrats.
- Townhall’s Matt Vespa characterized the event as a defeat for Biden, who was forced to admit his agenda is being scaled back while hinting that Biden’s mental and physical state “showed signs of dementia.”
- The Daily Wire hit Biden on his attitude towards the border crisis, quoting Biden as saying he should go to the border but that “I haven’t had a whole hell of lot of time” for a visit and noting RNC’s allegation that Biden “spends time every weekend at his beach home.”
Fox News’ complaint is petty and pointless. It’s CNN, it’s expected to be a skewed audience.
That being said, whoever in the White House thought this town hall was a good idea should probably lose their job. Firstly, Biden’s poll numbers are horrible, there are few national stories going his way, and being on the defensive is not a good look for President Biden. Secondly, his several admissions that his own agenda is being pared back, before the negotiations are finished, is a signal to the Democratic base that he’s willing to abandon some of their key issues.
Biden’s loquacious reputation can do him harm, and already forced the White House to “do damage control.”
© Dallas Gerber, 2021