Biden’s Decline On Stark Display In CNN Montage Of Debates Over The Years

News & Politics

Montage of Biden debates 2012 2020 2024 CNN This Morning 7-4-24 You know those drawings of man’s evolution in reverse, going from modern Homo Sapiens to a primate on all fours?

That’s what CNN’s brutal montage of Biden’s debate performances over the years brought to mind this July 4th morning.

Morning Joe took the holiday off, perhaps reeling from the torrent of bad news for Biden. Instead, the show reran past interviews, featuring Mika’s chat with Kamala Harris about abortion. One benefit for Morning Joe: they were spared having to explain Scarborough’s continuing absence!

But over at CNN This Morning, Kasie Hunt hosted a regular episode. It was highlighted by a brutal montage that CNN had assembled of Biden’s debate performances over the years, putting his decline on stark display.

It began with a clip of the 2012 VP debate, in which a sharp and smirking Biden put down Paul Ryan.

Next was the 2020 presidential debate, in which a marginally competent but clearly diminished Biden managed to make a point.

And finally, that disastrously iconic clip from last week’s debate, ending in Biden’s piteous “We finally beat Medicare.”

Meghan Hays, a former Biden aide, was playing defense and taking incoming from all sides. Lance Trover, a former aide to Doug Bergum, said that the Biden campaign has a credibility problem. He pointed to the fierce attacks the campaign had launched in response the recent Wall Street Journal article reporting that Biden is “slipping.” Guess the Journal was onto something!

Seconding Trover on the Biden campaign’s credibility problem, Alex Thompson of Axios said that reporters “don’t believe them [the Biden campaign people] anymore.”

Hays tried to push back, arguing that what counts is whom voters, not reporters, believe. Hunt then stepped in: “voters are less willing” than reporters to believe the Biden people!

Thompson then administered something of a coup de grace, saying:

“A lot of reporters are catching up to where voters have already been. Voters have already said forever, in every poll for over a year that they thought, like 70% of Americans can’t agree on anything, except they think that Joe Biden’s too old.”


Here’s the transcript.

CNN This Morning
6:08 am EDT

LANCE TROVER: I think we also need to take a step back, because the issue of credibility here is because they have spent the las three-and-a-half years. There have been questions that had been raised for three-and-a-half years. And this White House has said, time and again oh, no, no, no. Everything’s fine. Despite, don’t believe what you see on TV when some of these things happen. That’s the issue we have right now, is credibility.

The Wall Street Journal had a story not one month ago. Very well sourced, well-documented story about the president’s ability to serve and his fitness for office. And this White House, enraged, went out and berated every reporter and anybody else who dared to ask about it. 

So the underpinnings of this as we get into their shifting explanations, are that they don’t have a lot of credibility going into this. And then last Thursday night happens, and lo and behold, 50 million people —

KASIE HUNT: Look, to the issue of credibility and where this has, has stood. We pulled together a couple examples of debate performances gone by from President Biden. Let’s just watch what it was like. This is a VP debate, followed by a presidential debate in 2020, followed by what we saw on Thursday. Watch 

JOE BIDEN [2012 VP debate]: [Smirks] It has never been done before.

PAUL RYAN: It’s been done a couple of times —

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth, Ronald Reagan —

BIDEN: So now you’re Jack Kennedy.

RYAN: Ronald Reagan. Republicans and Democrats. 

BIDEN: This is amazing.

BIDEN: [2020 debate] It is what it is because you are who you are. That’s why it is. The president has no plan. He hasn’t laid out anything. He knew all the way back in February how serious this crisis was.

BIDEN: [2024 debate] Dealing with everything we have to do with, uh, look, if, we finally beat Medicare.

HUNT: Megan Hayes, it’s, it’s tough. I mean, which of those presidents did you know when you were in the White House?

MEGHAN HAYS: I did not know the one that showed up on Thursday. That was not the person I worked for, and not, so that’s, you know, but again, I left the Oval over a year-and-a-half ago, so I don’t know what he’s like now to work for. I was on the ’20 campaign, so I was definitely there up to the re-elect, so I saw that person as well. 

It is hard to watch. These are hard to watch moments, but I think the issue here is, was that anomaly like they say, or is that a less frequent person and is he able to do what he’s been doing. And is the person who showed up in North Carolina and the person who’s been showing up since, is that the president that he needs to go out, and the voters to decide.

HUNT: Pelosi said, is this an episode or a condition?

ALEX THOMPSON: And he hasn’t answered that question conclusively, and I don’t think a 15-minutes or 20-minute or however long the interview with George Stephanopoulos is going to satisfy those questions now.

He has now said that he is going to do the George Stephanopoulos interview. He is going to do the big press conference next week with reporters. The problem is, like, I don’t know if it’s going to be enough. This is still a president that has done less interviews and less unscripted interactions with reporters than any in history.

To Lance’s point, there is a credibility problem. Reporters do not believe them anymore, and that’s part of the problem.

HAYS: But it’s not up to the reporters to believe. 

HUNT: But voters are less willing. 

HAYS: 100%. But I’m just saying that it’s, I don’t know if it’s a credibility problem with voters, or if it’s with reporters. And that’s what it needs — he needs a sight [?]. If he’s staying in then he needs to take his message to the voters.

THOMPSON: But don’t you think part of the thing that’s happening now is a lot of reporters are catching up to where voters have already been. Like, voters, voters have already said forever, in every poll for over a year that they thought, like 70% of Americans can’t agree on anything, except they think that Joe Biden’s too old.

HAYS: That’s that’s totally fair. I’m just saying, it’s not up to reporters to know if he’s credible or not. It’s up to the voters. Those are the people who ultimately he is serving here. And I understand the credibility issue. I’m not arguing that point. I’m just saying that if he stays in this race, he’s needs to take his argument to the voters and he needs to do more unscripted moments. I’ve said that. Let Joe be Joe. Get him out there. I totally agree, but this is up to the voters here. 

HUNT: No, I mean, look take both of your points, that the voters have been telling us this. Frankly, the media is come in for some criticism for being too credulous and believing what the White House has said. So here, here we are!

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