Politics 3 takeaways from President Joe Biden's CNN town hall
Joe Biden takes on multiple crises without key confirmed officials at the helm
President Joe Biden is facing a border crisis without a confirmed border commissioner, spending fights without an official budget director and a pandemic without a confirmed Food and Drug Administration commissioner. © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden delivers a speech on voting rights at the National Constitution Center, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Philadelphia. Nearly halfway through his first year in office, Biden has sent more nominations to the Senate and has had more people confirmed than the Trump administration did at the same point, though Biden still lags behind other White House predecessors.
President Joe Bidenon Wednesday mindful the days for actual bipartisan governing in
Throughout his CNN town hall, he voiced again and again his conviction that Republicans will come along, even though some are poisoned by conspiracies and others, he said, are "lying" on his record.
He was confronted with open skepticism by some of his questioners, particularly on the matter of voting rights. But he plodded ahead, elevating his belief in bipartisanship as nothing less than a quest to prove Democracy can work.
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.
It was a reflection of the place Biden finds himself six months into his presidency. It's too early for him to give up on his pledge to unite the country. Yet the window for getting something done with Republicans is closing.
Here are three takeaways from the town hall:
'This is not a pandemic'
The first six months of Biden's presidency has been overwhelmingly focused onUntil about a month ago, the President and his team were feeling understandably good about their progress as cases plummeted alongside a successful vaccination campaign.
But the vaccination effort has stalled. And case counts, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, are rising. Biden was visibly frustrated at his predicament on Wednesday, which he suggested was fueled byin conservative circles.
AP FACT CHECK: Biden inflates jobs impact from his policies
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday inflated the impact of his policies on U.S. jobs created in his first half-year in office, misleadingly stating his administration had done more than any other president. He neglects to mention he had population growth on his side in his comparison. A look at some of his claims during a CNN town hall in Cincinnati: BIDEN: “We’ve created more jobs in the first six months of our administration than any time in American history. No president, no administration, has ever created as many jobs.”THE FACTS: His claim is misleading.
"There's legitimate questions people can ask if they worry about getting vaccinated, but the question should be asked, answered and people should get vaccinated," Biden said. "But this is not a pandemic."
"It's frustrating," he went on, seeking to downplay the current surge as a pandemic only of those who have refused to get shots.
Amid the spike in cases, Biden's aides have sought to underscore the real progress they've made on the pandemic, mindful his ability to contain the crisis will be how voters overwhelming judge him. They have been resistant of returning to earlier levels of crisis messaging, understanding the effect it might have on national impressions of progress.
Still, Biden acknowledged some pandemic-era restrictions would have to persist, even as he hails the progress he's made since taking office in January. He predicted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is going to recommend that everyone under the age of 12 "should probably be"
Still bullish on bipartisanship and filibuster, Biden sees infrastructure bill moving ahead on Monday
With much of his voting rights agenda stalled in Congress, the coronavirus pandemic entering a dangerous, politicized new phase and the fate of a much-needed plan to address the nation’s crumbling infrastructure still in doubt, President Biden on Wednesday stood by his support of the Senate filibuster. “What I don’t want to do is get wrapped up around whether this is all about the filibuster,” Biden said during a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, when asked by host Don Lemon why he continues to support a procedure he has called “a Jim Crow relic.
Selling the plan
Biden entered Wednesday's town hall just as a test vote failed on his much-toutedan early blow that Biden declared "irrelevant."
Still, he and his aides have signaled the coming weeks will be essential for enacting his sweeping agenda before midterm election season heats up. So, too, is the clock ticking on fulfilling his campaign promise to work with Republicans to prove that democracy is still functional.
Biden acknowledged it was a question he's receiving from foreign leaders, who asked him whether the US will "ever get it together." And he said a proliferation of conspiracy theories was making working together more difficult, citing one that "Biden is hiding people and sucking the blood of children."
Still, the President insisted working together remained his north star, including when he was questioned by a member of the audience about the "utopian need to gain bipartisan support."
"I may be the wrong guy to talk to," Biden warned, an acknowledgment he wasn't planning to give up any time soon on his insistence that Republicans and Democrats can work together.
Joe Biden Outlines Timeline for COVID-19 Vaccinations in Children
President Biden told a town hall in Ohio when he thought children under the age of 12 would be able to get their shots—subject to scientific data.Speaking at a CNN town hall in Cincinnati on Wednesday, President Biden said the decision would be led by scientific data, but added that he expected the rollout to begin between the end of August and October.
He said he was haggling with Republicans and Democrats alike, saying the compromises are "real" and noting there have to be compromises within his own party "between the far left and the center and some of the folks who are more conservative." And without prompting, Biden name-checked Ohio's Republican senator, Rob Portman, 25 minutes into the event. Portman is among the senators negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure plan, and Biden's flattering message was laced with his expectations.
"I come from a tradition in the Senate, you shake your hand, and that's it, you keep your word," he said. "And I found Rob Portman does that."
Tough economic love
Politicians are ordinarily wary of bearing bad news. Biden has insisted he won't sugarcoat the facts. And on Wednesday he delivered somewhat unwelcome economic news in two separate answers.
He acknowledged current price increases were real when questioned about an overheating economy. And he frankly told a restaurant chain owner that he'll continue to struggle hiring workers for the foreseeable future -- and suggested the restaurant owner raise wages.
It was some tough economic love. But Biden was trying to make a point about the major changes he is trying to affect on American workers' lives in his first year in office, convinced whatever side effects being felt right now pale in comparison to the larger benefits down the road.
Joe Biden's approval rating simply hasn't moved in six months
The lack of a topsy turvy first few months has translated to Biden's approval rating. It's been the most stable for any president since the end of World War II. This, indeed, has been the story of the Biden presidency from a popularity standpoint. At every point at which I've checked in to see how Biden is doing from a historical perspective, nothing seems to shake his approval ratings.Right now, Biden's average approval rating right now rests at around 53%, no matter how you calculate said average.
"There will be near-term inflation because everything is now trying to be picked back up," he said, detailing how his economic team has advised him current price increases won't last as demand returns to normal levels.
Biden has come under fire from Republicans for injecting trillions of dollars into the economy at a moment when inflation fears are percolating. But he pointed to economists who say the two plans he is pushing in Congress would actually drive prices down.
When the restaurant owner stood up to ask how to incentivize workers coming back to work amid a nationwide struggle to retain employees, Biden acknowledged it may take some time.
"I think it really is a matter of people deciding now that they have opportunities to do other things. And there is a shortage of employees, people are looking to make more money and and to bargain. And so I think your business and the tourist business is really going to be in a bind for a little while," Biden said.
Asked if expandedare playing a role in worker shortages, Biden acknowledged they could be: "Let's assume it did, but it's coming to an end."
But he said raising worker pay would prove a more sure thing, suggesting a $15 per hour rate could attract a more reliable workforce.
"But you may pay that already," he said.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
The pandemic turning point the White House didn't want .
President Joe Biden is tired of wearing a mask. © Susan Walsh/AP President Joe Biden holds his face mask as he speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Stepping into the East Room on Thursday, his face covered in black surgical fabric for the first time in weeks, the President made no attempt to disguise his disappointment at returning to the most charged symbol of the pandemic era.