Politics Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet
Biden to participate in CNN town hall in Baltimore on Thursday
President Joe Biden will participate in a CNN town hall on Thursday in Baltimore, where he'll take questions as his administration continues to sell his ambitious legislative agenda to members of Congress and the nation. © Taylor Glascock for CNN biden town hall SELECTS CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate the live broadcast event, which will air at 8 p.m. ET on CNN and last 90 minutes. A CNN spokesperson said an invitation-only audience will be present at the town hall and the network will follow all local and state Covid-19 guidance and regulations to ensure a safe event.
President Biden turned to CNN to perform a, marking the second time the White House has chosen the network in the past three months in this kind of format.
And the ratings were horrific, even by Biden's standards.
According to early numbers from Nielsen Media Research, the Biden town hall from Baltimore, which was moderated by Anderson Cooper, delivered just 1.2 million viewers from 8 p.m. ET to 9:30 p.m. In the younger demographic (25 to 54-year-olds) that advertisers covet most, the commander in chief commanded a paltry 271,000 viewers.
Biden to take questions on ambitious agenda during CNN town hall in Baltimore
President Joe Biden is set to participate in a CNN town hall from Baltimore Thursday evening, where he'll take questions as Democrats are finalizing negotiations over key aspects of his legislative agenda. © Heather Fulbright/CNN CNN's Presidential Town Hall with Joe Biden in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 21. During the town hall, moderated by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Biden is expected to spend time pushing his ambitious proposal to expand the social safety net.
For context in the cable news race, an average of 2.83 million viewers watched Fox News's Tucker Carlson (8 p.m.) and the first half of Sean Hannity (9 p.m.). That's more than 1.6 million more viewers. Meanwhile, MSNBC's Chris Hayes (8 p.m.) and Rachel Maddow (9 p.m.) attracted an average of 1.39 million viewers in taking second place.
For even more context, Biden drew 3.4 million viewers during his first town hall as president on CNN in February. Thursday night's audience, marking more than a 60 percent drop. For more context, the last town hall Donald Trump did with CNN occurred when he wasn't even the Republican nominee in March 2016, when the first-time candidate captured 3.26 million viewers.
The drop in interest in what the president has to say on important issues and policy can't be underscored enough. There's so much at stake, particularly as it pertains to Biden's massive Build Back Better plan, which would add at least $2 trillion in spending to an economy that is suffering the hthe country has seen in 30 years.
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Biden defended vaccine mandates during a CNN town hall on Thursday and ridiculed people who complained their freedom was being infringed.'Yes and yes,' he said to a thunderous round of applause.
Here we have Biden in a free fall, with Quinnipiac'sputting him at 28 percent approval among independents and 37 percent approval overall. In the , the president is down 10 points in just three months, with his standing currently at only 42.8 percent.
Biden's performance also likely didn't improve the public's perception of him, most notably during this exchange:
Cooper: "Do you have plans to visit the southern border?"
Biden: "I've been there before and I haven't - I mean, I know it well. I guess I should go down. But the whole point of it is I haven't had a whole hell of a lot of time to get down."
Joe Biden gives lukewarm answer when grilled about why he hasn't visited southern border during CNN town hall- Daily Mail US (@DailyMail)
On top of a light daily schedule, Biden has spent 70 days of his presidency at home in Delaware. Could he have taken at least one day to visit overwhelmed border towns in Texas such as Del Rio or La Joya? Overall, the U.S. is on pace to eclipse 2.4 million migrants entering the country illegally this year, which is more than the population of Houston,
Analysis: Joe Biden returns to retail politics to rescue his biggest deal yet
Joe Biden, showing candor and good humor, on Thursday reminded America why it picked him as President in a dark hour of crisis. But, at a CNN town hall in Baltimore, he also showed his tendency to send his own White House into emergency damage control as he flipped set-in-stone policy off the cuff, and offered gaping openings for his Republican foes. © Heather Fulbright/CNN Heading into the prime-time event, the President needed to stabilize a White House that seemed overtaken by events several times in recent months -- from the Covid-19 Delta variant surge to the Afghanistan withdrawal.
I can find no evidence that Biden has ever visited the U.S. southern border in his 50 years as a politician.
This town hall seemingly wasn't designed to be balanced in terms of questions from the invited attendees.
Of the 12 people who asked questions of the president, seven were referred to as Democrats, while only two were Republicans and three independents. Hardly a cross-section of Americans. Cooper also did not broach the most sensitive foreign policy topic with Biden: Afghanistan.
Biden has now done three town halls since taking office, all of them on CNN.
It's been 65 days since Biden participated in a sit-down interview. And he has yet to sit down with any reporters from the three most prominent print publications, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post. That's perhaps because it likely would entail follow-up questions and being pressed on key issues.
Number of Anderson Cooper town halls as President: 2
Number of sit downs w/ WSJ, NYT, or Wapo reporters (not columnists): 0
- Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp)
But if the president truly wants to sell his agenda to the public, he needs to go to more challenging places. Or at least to networks that command bigger audiences than CNN.
Meanwhile, Vice President Harris hasn't done a one-on-one with any major broadcast news entity since June.
The lack of confidence from the White House is telling. And all the friendly CNN town halls aren't going to change the perception that Team Biden-Harris thinks it can play it safe with the media, just as it did during the campaign.
But this isn't the campaign. They're in charge now.
And if this pattern continues for the next three years or so, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris may no longer be in charge of anything.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill and a Fox News contributor.
Presidents and popes over the years: Gifts, gaffes, grief .
WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Joe Biden meets with Pope Francis on Friday, he won’t kiss the ring. Biden, who has met with Francis three times and with two previous popes, has said he eschews the traditional sign of respect because his mother told him not to — that no one is “better” than him. In their meeting, the two are expected to discuss issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change as equals. Biden, only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, often speaks publicly about his faith and attends Mass every weekend.