- Democrats want to see Biden boost his visibility following a week where the focus turned to his age.
- Biden won’t be charged over his handling of classified documents, per Special Counsel Robert Hur.
- But Hur’s report raised questions about Biden’s memory, which infuriated many in the party.
After the fallout from the special counsel report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, which questioned his mental acuity, Biden held a press conference to defend himself.
But it only put Biden in a tougher position.
The president confused the presidents of Mexico and Egypt, which was the sort of mistake that Biden’s staffers were hoping he’d steer clear of during his national address.
Despite the gaffe, however, many Democrats across the country believe the president should counter with even more public appearances.
Special Counsel Robert Hur declined to file charges against Biden for retaining classified documents after the former vice president left office. But Hur painted a damning portrait of Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” The report ignited renewed debate over the 81-year-old president’s readiness for a second term.
Philippe Reines, a onetime advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Politico that the media amplified Biden’s gaffe in part because he’s held so few press conferences during his first term.
“I would flood the zone, and I felt the same with Hillary,” Reines told the publication. “Because if you don’t, then the smallest thing becomes too easy for people and the media to focus on.”
“The answer to the president is not to put him out there zero times to prevent zero things,” he continued. “It’s to go out there and have him say whatever it is.”
Politico noted that the Biden campaign wants the president out in front of voters as he heads toward a likely rematch with former President Donald Trump — who at 77 has also faced questions about his age — and believes the commander in chief can engage with voters in various formats.
“The way you’re going to be deploying a candidate in 2024 is not going to look the same as the way you’re deploying a candidate in 2000 or 2004,” American Bridge 21st Century president Pat Dennis told Politico.
While some panned Biden’s Thursday press conference as overly defensive, some Democrats welcomed Biden’s very visible pushback against concerns about his memory.
“He has the right to be angry, and I think it’s good that he showed his anger to the American people,” a Democratic strategist told Politico. “I hope that they do more of this, and my guess is, I think they will because he’s the president and when he feels like he’s got something to say to the American people, he’s going to go out there and do it.”