PBS ‘Washington Week’ Memory-Holes 2023 Praise of Biden’s Mental Acuity

News & Politics

The latest Friday edition of Washington Week with The Atlantic, airing on taxpayer-funded PBS, passed around anecdotes of the various levels of panic from Democratic politicians and strategists, after President Biden’s disastrous debate performance. But one exchange in particular, between host and Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg and Atlantic writer Mark Leibovich, was striking:

Host Jeffrey Goldberg: So, Mark, let me begin with you. You’ve been saying for a couple of years, in fact, that Biden’s age is going to be a huge problem for the Democrats. Here`s what you wrote two years ago. Two years ago, by the way, not yesterday:

“Biden is by no means the more eloquent character he was in his younger days. It can be painful to watch him give prepared speeches. His tone can be tentative and certain sentences can become hopscotching journeys. His aides in the room look visibly nervous at times. Biden worked to overcome a stutter during his youth and in general it can become more difficult for stutterers to conceal these effects as they age.”

So, I have to ask you today, do you feel vindicated in your judgment about the president?

Mark Leibovich, The Atlantic: Not necessarily, I mean, I would say that, I’m still kind of stunned by the funereal environment that last night kind of unleashed upon so many Democrats that I’ve been talking to. Look, I think it’s there for all to see. There’s been this two-step of Democratic sort of rhetoric, which is, in private, they all basically agree, in public, they are going to sort of vouch for Biden, and say he’s never been sharper and so forth. I wrote that two years ago. I didn’t break the story that he’s old, but I would also argue that even 18 months ago, two years ago, there’s been some decline that a lot of people have noticed.

That sounds accurate. It also sounds completely different from this notorious exchange from the same pair, bac on September 1, 2023:

Mark Leibovich: Can I just actually just point out, though, that, I mean, it’s not just making an issue of Biden’s age, it’s lying, it’s saying he’s senile, saying he’s demented, saying he’s out of it. I mean, I think it’s important to sort of state for a fact that a lot of these are just —

Jeffrey Goldberg: Right. Mentally, he’s quite acute.

Leibovich: It seems like it.

Talk about memory-holing! From fretting about Biden’s age and infirmity in June 2022, to defending his mental acuity in September 2023, and now back to the truth only after the truth was plain to see on live television in June 2024.

This episode was brought to you in part by Consumer Cellular.

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