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Politics Listen up: Biden speaks volumes in a whisper to make a point

08:16  12 july  2021
08:16  12 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

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President-elect Joe Biden spoke to a deeply divided nation Saturday night, making a plea for unity after four years of turmoil and conflict fomented by President Donald Trump. As the Trump campaign maps out its legal strategy, it is not clear how isolated instances of irregularities, even if found, would add up to a case with sufficient legal questions to make it all the way to the Supreme Court or would challenge the integrity of an election that Biden looks set to eventually win with sufficient electoral votes, which would make .

In a roughly 17-minute address, Mr. Biden , speaking for the first time as president-elect, promised to lead with compassion, decency and character and heal the nation’s soul. As he has for months, Mr. Biden also promised to immediately address the coronavirus pandemic and work to stop its spread, an effort he said would be key to economic recovery. We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability. America has always been shaped by inflection points — by moments in time where we’ve made hard decisions

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden was at a public transit station in Wisconsin, talking about repairing roads and bridges, when he shifted gears and began defending his plan to send money to parents for each minor child, payments some critics call a “giveaway.”

FILE - In this July 8, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks about the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Joe Biden speaks volumes when he whispers. And his whispers during recent public appearances are attracting attention. The White House and communications experts say it's Biden's way of trying to make a connection while emphasizing a point. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this July 8, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks about the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Joe Biden speaks volumes when he whispers. And his whispers during recent public appearances are attracting attention. The White House and communications experts say it's Biden's way of trying to make a connection while emphasizing a point. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Biden folded his arms, rested on the lectern, leaned into the mic and lowered his voice.

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President-elect Joe Biden , joined by running mate Kamala Harris, spoke from Wilmington, Del., after a projected win in Pennsylvania gave him more than the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. President Trump and his supporters are denying he lost the election after a legal vote count. In a victory speech on Saturday night, Biden called it “a time to heal in America” and said, “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.”

President Joe Biden , flanked by Harris, delivers remarks on deals made with Senators on a bipartisan infrastructure plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The White House pushed back on the claims, with Biden 's Senior Adviser Cedric Richmond calling it ' a whisper campaign designed to sabotage [Harris].' 'People are cowards to do this this way,' Harris' chief spokesperson Symone Sanders said. Harris speaks to the media at El Paso International Airport in Texas on June 25.

“Hey, guys, I think it's time to give ordinary people a tax break," he said, almost whispering as he addressed his critics. “The wealthy are doing fine.”

It was the latest instance of Biden speaking volumes by whispering.

The White House and communications experts say Biden’s whispering is just this veteran politician’s old-school way of trying to make a connection while emphasizing a point.

Biden's critics on the right as well as some late-night TV talk show hosts say the whispers are “creepy” and “weird." Conservatives use the dramatic soft talk to fuel the narrative that the president is unfit for the job, and comedians deploy it to generate laughs.

FILE - In this June 29, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks about infrastructure spending at the La Crosse Municipal Transit Authority in La Crosse, Wis. President Joe Biden speaks volumes when he whispers. And his whispers during recent public appearances are attracting attention. The White House and communications experts say it's Biden's way of trying to make a connection while emphasizing a point. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this June 29, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks about infrastructure spending at the La Crosse Municipal Transit Authority in La Crosse, Wis. President Joe Biden speaks volumes when he whispers. And his whispers during recent public appearances are attracting attention. The White House and communications experts say it's Biden's way of trying to make a connection while emphasizing a point. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

“It's an intimate form of communication,” said Vanessa Beasley, associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University.

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Barnett followed up by asking Biden what he would say to Trump, “who brags about his test and makes your mental state an issue for voters?” “Well, if he can’t figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” said Biden with a laugh. “I am very willing to let the American public judge my physical and mental fitness and to make a judgment about who I am and what state of affairs I have,” he said. Biden has addressed Trump’s challenge before.

media captionWatch again: President Biden 's inauguration speech in full. Chief Justice Roberts, Vice-President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice-President Pence. My distinguished guests, my fellow Americans. Few people in our nation's history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we're in now. A once in a century virus that silently stalks the country has taken as many lives in one year as in all of World War Two.

Biden whispered some of his answers to reporters' questions during an impromptu White House news conference last month after he and a group of Senate Republicans announced they had reached a deal to spend $973 trillion on rebuilding the nation's infrastructure.

As he stood in the East Room, Biden was questioned about his timeline for providing additional financial help to families. He leaned in, eyes wide, and whispered: “I got them $1.9 trillion in relief so far. They’re going to be getting checks in the mail that are consequential."

During a lengthy response to a separate question, he whispered, “I wrote the bill,” before bending down to get closer to the microphone and adding, “on the environment.”

On the subject of employers' hiring difficulties, Biden leaned into the mic again, arms resting on the lectern and said softly that the solution is to “pay them more.”

Beasley said the use of whispering by Biden, who was a U.S. senator and vice president for a total of more than 40 years, is a throwback to a long-ago time of chummier relations between lawmakers and members of the Washington press corps.

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"President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies," the White House said in a statement, referencing the main talking points of Tuesday afternoon's call but listing no further details. On that matter Mr Biden made his sharpest break with Mr Trump, reportedly telling Mr Putin that he knew Russia had tried to meddle in both the 2016 and 2020 elections. He also warned the Russian president that the US was ready to defend itself against cyber-espionage, and any other attacks.

Biden was almost 15 minutes late to his own very first “formal press conference” since taking office. He dodged questions, spouted platitudes and talking points , went off on tangents at times while getting angry and uttering what may have sounded like threats at others. No doubt some of that could be In Thursday’s presser, Biden actually repeated – twice – the previous day’s talking points , down to the description of someone “sitting at their kitchen table” in Central America, about why tens of thousands of migrants are coming to the US. He knows why, better than they do. Never mind that the tide began

“I think it's a symbolic gesture to a kind of intimacy and familiarity,” she said.

Beasley and others noted the contrast between Biden and former President Donald Trump, who often spoke loudly and angrily.

“One of the things that Trump never did was whisper,” said Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Public speakers — lawmakers, celebrities, corporate executives — often raise or lower their voices for dramatic effect or tell jokes to keep their audiences following along instead of falling asleep.

Beasley said the tone of political discourse these days seems set to loud so that “it sort of sets everybody back a little bit when you see someone going in a different direction and reducing their volume.”

Lakoff said what Biden does isn't really whispering because his vocal chords vibrate and make sound.

“A true whisper is something you wouldn't be able to hear very well,” she said, comparing what Biden does to a “stage whisper” in which an actor in a play steps out of character to share a secret with the audience or preview some action that's about to happen.

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The White House defended Biden, saying conservatives who criticize the way he speaks, including his stuttering, do so because they don't have a better agenda to offer voters heading into the November 2022 midterm elections.

“Under President Biden’s leadership, COVID cases have plunged by over 90%, we’ve achieved an historic level of job creation, the economy is growing at its highest rate in 40 years, and we’ve achieved a breakthrough on the world stage to stop the offshoring of American jobs," deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said.

"And this performative criticism is just the latest acknowledgement by Republicans that he’s running the table on them while they’re grasping for a case to make," Bates whispered.

Kayleigh McEnany, a White House press secretary for Trump, called Biden's whispering “peculiar” and “crazy” before panelists on the Fox News program she co-hosts discussed it. Other Fox News personalities and guests also panned Biden's low-volume speech.

On the late-night talk show circuit, comedian Stephen Colbert featured what he called Biden's “new rhetorical flourish” in a recent monologue on his CBS show.

After airing clips of the president, Colbert leaned into a hand-held microphone and whispered: “Mr. President, Mr. President. You know I'm a fan, but the way you lean forward and whisper. Guess what? It's a little creepy. It's a little creepy.”

On the flip side, Biden raises his voice, too, as he did while addressing the nation from the White House lawn on July Fourth.

“On this sacred day, I look out to those monuments on our National Mall, and beyond them, into the hearts of our people across the land and I know this," he said, voice rising as he neared the conclusion of his speech. "It's never, ever been a good bet to bet against America. Never.

“We just have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America,” Biden thundered. "And there's nothing — nothing — we can't do if we do it together.”

Biden and White House sharpen strategy to confront epic challenges .
Joe Biden's presidency is only six months old, but the mood inside the White House can often feel like a race against time. © Susan Walsh/AP President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. "The clock is running. We all know that," a senior adviser to Biden said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The President certainly knows that.

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