Biden Rambles His Way Through A Family Town Hall

Biden Rambles His Way Through A Family Town Hall

Biden Rambles His Way Through A Family Town Hall

Let’s just say that Joe Biden’s online town halls have not been a home run for him. His live interviews have not been confidence-boosting, either. Biden is basically living in his basement, waiting for the bright lights to come on.

And when they do, it’s not great.

So, what does a presidential candidate do when he can’t get out to shake hands and sniff heads? How about a completely scripted town hall, with a host, an actual expert, three handpicked families, and Dr. Jill Biden sitting at Joe’s elbow as his minder?

Yes, that’s exactly what the Biden campaign put out last night. Billed and promoted as a “family town hall on COVID-19,” this was obviously a carefully staged event with the benefit of a lot of good editing (if not good video and audio) which was meant to promote Joe Biden (and by extension, Jill, who offered to let the kids on the town hall call them “Nana” and “Pop” so that it would sound more natural) as a grandfatherly authority figure who could lead American families in a time of crisis.

Hosted by Michelle Kwan (yes, the former Olympic figure skater who is now apparently a Biden campaign aide), and with former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy joining in as the medical expert, this town hall was a smoothly scripted showcase package. It’s 37 minutes long, and if you want to watch it for yourself, you can.

Now, if you don’t have 37 minutes of your life to spend on this video, I’ve watched it for you. You’re welcome. Here were the highlights and lowlights.

1) How many grandchildren do you have, Joe and Jill?
Right out of the gate, Jill Biden commits a MASSIVE faux pas. She comments that she and Joe have “six grandchildren.” That would be Beau’s two children, then Hunter’s three from his first marriage, then Hunter’s brand-new baby with the new wife. Um, Jill??? I think you’re forgetting someone…

Yeah, that would be the grandchild down in Arkansas that Hunter denied paternity of, then was on the verge of being held in contempt over once it was proved he WAS the father, and just recently pulled off an eleventh-hour settlement in order to keep his financial records out of court.

So that would be SEVEN grandchildren, Jill. Oops. Although it’s pretty clear that Hunter has zero interest in being a father to this child, perhaps you and Joe could express at least a modicum of decency and acknowledge that this child exists?

2) The questions were scripted and were all meant to be softballs.
This entire town hall was meant to be as tightly shot and scripted as if it was a four-camera sitcom. These family “vloggers” were obviously chosen because of their political leanings and the three kids who actually appear on camera were asking very bland and open-ended questions that allowed either Dr. Murthy (who Biden says is giving him a “daily call” in order to brief him on the current crisis) to give generic medical advice, or Joe (with occasional commentary by Jill) to give a simplifed version of his stump speeches. It was meant to make Biden seem approachable and knowledgeable. It didn’t really succeed in doing that.

3) The Biden family has made Beau Biden a modern-day saint.
Oh my word, I actually cringed when this happened. How did Beau Biden manage to get name-checked in a town hall dealing with COVID-19? When one of the families mentioned that both husband and wife grew up as “military brats,” the Bidens immediately invoked Beau of sainted memory and his military service. Joe, of course, can’t help mentioning that Beau went on to be Attorney General of Delaware. So not only can’t the elder Bidens remember that Hunter has fathered five children, not four, but then Beau’s name has to come up. And you wonder why Hunter Biden has issues!

4) Biden keeps hammering on the Defense Production Act.
Again, all Biden can seem to come up with are things that President Trump has already done. He keeps talking about invoking the Defense Production Act as if no one has even mentioned it, and it’s been noted that Biden has been behind on this particular talking point, even if Trump didn’t use the DPA the instant he invoked that law. Now, Biden clearly has notes laid out in front of him – you can see his eyes drop down to read them at different points of the town hall – and his staff should have written it into those notes that he needs to let go of this talking point. But, no – just like in his ABC interview on Sunday morning, Biden cannot let his favorite chew toy go.

5) Biden toutes his experience in handling economic crashes and rambles on and on and on…
Biden was much more relaxed in this set up than he has been before, and credit should go to Jill for her help in keeping Joe focused. But give Biden an inch to explain something, and he will absolutely take a rambling mile. The last part of the town hall was essentially monopolized by Joe, talking endlessly about how great a job he and President Obama did “fixing” the economy after the 2008 recession, and how “in charge” he was. (Again, Biden is the presumptive Democrat nominee and STILL Barack Obama can’t be bothered to make a public statement about his supposed BFF ol’ Joe. That HAS to sting.) By the end of all the rambling, I wouldn’t be surprised if the kids on camera had to be prodded awake by their parents.

This family town hall was the best production that Biden has appeared in a while, but that isn’t saying much. Joe can’t take Jill up on the debate stage with him, and those debate questions won’t come from handpicked followers. And Trump isn’t going to give Biden a pass.

If Biden thinks that scripted town halls from his basement are going to keep him in the game until the debates, he is very much mistaken.

Featured image: Joe Biden, official White House portrait taken January 10, 2013, public domain

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  • GWB says:

    If Biden thinks that scripted town halls from his basement are going to keep him in the game until the debates, he is very much mistaken.
    Yes, but will it allow the Dems to pretend he’s competent enough to run? Or to hide their true nominee until the convention (and maybe after)?
    There are times this feels like a baseball team taking the L on one night so they can keep their really good relief pitcher available until the next game.

    • Mike says:

      Except they do not have a really good relief pitcher. How many vied for the nomination, not one of which was worth a damn?

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