ABC, CBS, NBC Backtrack on Biden, Praise ‘Defiant’, ‘Daring’ Challenge

News & Politics

The broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) delivered a fresh dose of whiplash during their Tuesday morning shows. Just one day after highlighting the quickly waning support for President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign within his own Democratic Party, they executed an awkward 180 and displayed the president’s “defiant” challenge to those calling on the end of his campaign. They also carefully noted that in spite of some opposition, support for Biden’s campaign was actually increasing. 

On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos jumped right back onto the Biden bandwagon for his “daring [of] potential rivals to challenge him at the convention,” before White House correspondent Mary Bruce zealously sang his praises:

Bruce also hyped that, “a “fed up” Biden “aggressively reject[ed] calls to drop out and challenge[d] his critics to take him on.”

CBS’s White House correspondent Nancy Cordes described Biden’s Monday call on MSNBC’s Morning Joe as a “defiant appearance,” adding that he “turned up the heat on Democratic doubters.” 

These reports were emphatically supported by details of (now) increasing support for the Biden campaign, with Cordes gloating, “The Biden camp [made] the case aggressively Monday that it is now time for the party to move on…President Biden made it through Monday without any new Democratic defections and with some key backing from his party’s House leader and from high-profile progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” she gloated.

NBC’s Today presented a much softer account of the situation, though White House correspondent Peter Alexander unsurprisingly threw in some fawning words, stating, “The president, for his part, is trying to slam the door on the Democratic debate following last month’s shaky debate performance, arguing, ‘We are done talking about it,’ in his words, ‘It’s time to put Trump in a bull’s eye.’”

Regardless of everything, including Monday’s tumultuous White House press briefing, the networks apparently accepted Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s pathetic excuses for why Parkinson’s expert Dr. Kevin Cannard visited the White House eight times within an eight-month span. 

To anyone, the disunity within the Democratic Party might either be entertaining or alarming but, as many Democrats have affirmed, nothing else truly matters to them, just the simple fact that “we’ve got to beat Donald Trump.”

The transcripts for all three morning shows are below. Click “expand” to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America

7/9/2024

07:02:38 AM EST

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: First, the latest on President Biden defiant in the face of calls to bow out of the race, even daring his potential rivals to challenge him at the convention.

ROBIN ROBERTS: This comes as there are new questions about a doctor’s repeated visits to the White House. Our chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce starts us off. Good morning, Mary.

MARY BRUCE: Good morning, Robin. While President Biden is digging in this morning, adamant that he has what it takes to stay in this race, he is launching a full-blown, full-throated defense of that decision, scrambling to reassure Democrats, donors, and voters that he can beat Donald Trump. 

[Cuts to video]

BRUCE: This morning, President Biden is fighting back, making clear he is not leaving this race.

[Biden call on Morning Joe]

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I am not going anywhere!

BRUCE: Scrambling to contain the defections on Capitol Hill, he’s upping his outreach to lawmakers, overnight speaking with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

REP. STEVEN HORSFORD (D-NV): The president was clear that he is in this race to win. We have one objective and that is to win.

BRUCE: Hours earlier on a fundraising call, Biden promising doubting donors he can beat Donald Trump, saying his plan for the next face-off “Attack, attack, attack.” But his administration is also facing new questions about the president’s health after visitor logs show a Parkinson’s expert visited the White House eight times within an eight-month span, including meeting once with the president’s doctor.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Has the president been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkison’s? No, he’s not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s? No. So, those are the things that I can give you full-blown answers on.

BRUCE: Overnight, Biden’s doctor Kevin O’Connor explaining in a letter that this expert evaluated the president three times, each as part of his regular annual physical. Those results publicly released most recently in February with Biden showing no signs of Parkinson’s. O’Connor says he obtained Biden’s permission to confirm those details after the White House refused to answer questions earlier in the day.

[Monday White House press briefing]

BRUCE: I’m sure you can clear this all up just by saying what he was doing here and if it was connected to the president, yes or no?

JEAN-PIERRE: I am not going to confirm the–the–a neur–a particular nar–neurologist, anybody.

BRUCE: 12 days after his disastrous debate performance, the president fed up, telling Democratic lawmakers in a letter, “The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it’s time for it to end.” Biden aggressively rejecting calls to drop out and challenging his critics to take him on.

[Biden call on Morning Joe]

BIDEN: If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead, announce the–announce the president. Challenge me at the convention.

BRUCE: While Biden stayed out of the public eye Monday, the campaign deployed the first lady to reassure voters her husband is up to the task. Jill Biden visiting North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida all in a single day.

FIRST LADY JILL BIDEN: Joe has made it clear that he’s all in! [Cheers and applause]

BRUCE: But also making it clear she’s had enough with the questions about her husband’s future.

REPORTER: Dr. Biden, do you have any message to House Democrats who are calling for your husband to drop out of the race? How are you feeling about the state of the race?

BYSTANDER: Alright, lady.

BIDEN: Why are you screaming at me? You know me. Don’t scream at me, just let me talk. 

[Cuts back to live]

BRUCE: Now these next few days will be critical. The president will be on the world stage as he kicks off the NATO Summit here in Washington today, a chance to show not just voters but also other global leaders that he is up to this task. And then, of course, he has that big solo press conference coming up on Thursday. George, the president well aware of just how high the stakes are here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We will be tracking it all. Okay, Mary, thanks.

(…)

CBS Mornings

7/9/2024

07:01:54 AM EST

GAYLE KING: We’re gonna begin, though, with a defiant President Biden pushing back very forcefully against pressure to drop out of this presidential race. On live TV yesterday, he dared anyone in his party to challenge him for the nomination, and now he is winning some key support from members of Congress.

Also this morning, the administration is clarifying why a neurologist made multiple visits to the White House. Nancy Cordes, of course, is following all of this. Nancy, good morning. There are so many questions today. Good to see you.

NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Gayle. And now, we have some answers. Late last night the president’s personal physician released this letter stating that a neurologist, who has visited the White House repeatedly over the past year, was not here to care for President Biden and has been treating patients, from time to time, in the White House Medical Unit for the past 12 years. The Biden camp making the case aggressively Monday that it is now time for the party to move on. 

[Cuts to video]

CORDES: President Biden made it through Monday without any new Democratic defections and with some key backing from his party’s House leader…

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): I support President Joe Biden in the Democratic ticket.

CORDES: …and from high-profile progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The matter is closed. (Transition) He is not leaving this race. He is in this race and I support him.

CORDES: It came after Biden himself turned up the heat on Democratic doubters Monday, with a defiant appearance, by phone, on cable news.

[Biden call on Morning Joe]

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead, announce the–announce the president. Challenge me at the convention.

CORDES: He also sent a two-page letter to congressional Democrats, insisting it’s time for this debate over his health to end.

[Monday White House press briefing]

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Has the president been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkison’s? No, he’s not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s? No. 

CORDES: White House officials initially declined to say, Monday, why Dr. Kevin Cannard, a neurologist and Parkinson’s specialist, had visited the White House eight times in eight months.

JEAN-PIERRE: I am not sharing, confirming names from here! It is a security reason.

CORDES: But late last night, the president’s personal doctor revealed that while Dr. Cannard was the neurological specialist that examined Biden for each of his annual physicals, President Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical, and that Cannard sees a variety of patients and problems when visiting the White House Medical Unit.

BIDEN: Look–if–we finally beat Medicare.

CORDES: Several Senate Democrats said yesterday they want more time after last month’s debate to see how things go for Biden.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): I think a lot of folks are raising some questions. They need to get asked. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to beat Donald Trump.

CORDES: Congressman Adam Smith is one of the nine House Democrats who’s saying they’ve seen enough.

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): We would be better off with another nominee, okay? I believe that in my heart, my soul, my brain. I’m 100 percent convinced of that.

CORDES: Biden’s opponent, Donald Trump, has been keeping a low profile without any public appearances in 11 days. He resurfaced last night in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. 

[Trump interview with Sean Hannity]

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It looks to me like he may very well stay and he’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit.

[Cuts back to live]

CORDES: Today, President Biden addresses foreign leaders at the NATO Summit taking place here in Washington, DC. And on Thursday, he’s going to hold a rare press conference there, which will be another big test as he works to convince his party and the public that he’s fit to run for re-election. Gayle?

KING: All right, everybody’s watching. Thank you, Nancy. 

(…)

NBC’s Today

7/9/2024

07:07:22 AM EST

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We turn now to politics and the turmoil that continues to surround the president and his reelection campaign. Overnight, the White House doctor put out a letter seeking to clear up why a specialist in Parkinson’s disease has been to the White House several times in recent months. This came–coming after a tense daily White House briefing yesterday that left unanswered questions about those visits and the president’s health. 

NBC’s chief White House correspondent Peter Alexander joins us with more. Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Savannah, good morning. This morning, President Biden is set to host dozens of world leaders for the start of the NATO Summit right here in Washington, allies who are privately expressing their fears about the increasing possibility former President Donald Trump could return to the White House. 

The president, for his part, is trying to slam the door on the Democratic debate following last month’s shaky debate performance, arguing, “We are done talking about it,” in his words, “It’s time to put Trump in a bull’s eye.” And overnight, as you note, with the president’s permission, his doctor is addressing concerns about his health.

[Cuts to video]

Overnight, President Biden’s personal doctor confirming that a neurologist, who specializes in Parkinson’s, saw the president as part of his physical exams. The president’s doctor saying in a letter that the neurologist, Dr. Kevin Cannard, has examined President Biden for each of his annual exams, adding the president has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical. All of it following a tense White House briefing.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Has the president been treated for Parkinson’s? No. Is he being treated for Parkison’s? No, he’s not. Is he taking medication for Parkinson’s? No.

ALEXANDER: The administration under pressure to explain why Cannard visited the White House eight times in eight months, according to logs. The president’s doctor saying Cannard held, quote, “Regular neurology clinics at the White House Medical Clinic in support of thousands of active-duty military staff assigned there.” It comes as President Biden is trying to put an end to the post-debate drama, calling into MSNBC’s Morning Joe and issuing a challenge to those who say he should drop out.

[Biden call on Morning Joe]

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I’m getting so frustrated by the–by the elites. (Transition) If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead, announce the–announce the president. Challenge me at the convention.

ALEXANDER: The president late Monday also calling into a meeting of the influential Congressional Black Caucus that’s still supporting him, like other key House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Joe Biden is our nominee. He is not leaving this race. He is in this race, and I support him.

ALEXANDER: So far, nine congressional Democrats have called on the president to leave the race.

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA): I think he should step aside. I think it’s become clear that he’s not the best person to carry the Democratic message.

ALEXANDER: Former President Trump, in his first post-debate interview, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity, by phone, he believes President Biden will stay in the race.

[Trump interview with Sean Hannity]

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit.

ALEXANDER: Mr. Trump adding he expects to face Vice President Kamala Harris if President Biden is forced out, and that he may wait on his own vice presidential announcement as the Democrats sort out their path forward.

TRUMP: We wanted to see what they’re doing, to be honest.

[Cuts back to live]

ALEXANDER: And now back to that letter from the president’s personal doctor. He reiterates that during President Biden’s most recent neurologic exam in February, there were no findings consistent with any neurological disorder like a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s. Savannah?

GUTHRIE: Peter, a big test for the president, a crucial moment hosting NATO allies in Washington. What do you expect from this summit?

ALEXANDER: Well, you’re right. I mean, this is a crucial several days for the president where a lot of the focus, of course, at the NATO meetings is gonna be on Ukraine. But everything President Biden himself says is gonna be heavily scrutinized amid all these concerns about his age, his fitness. So that really does make this another critical public test after that rough debate. Also important for the president, reassuring those American allies, many of whom, as we said, are worried about a second Trump term. 

President Biden is gonna kick off the summit today. He’s gonna deliver remarks, then tomorrow he has a series of high-profile meetings. And one of the most watched moments, I think, this week is gonna happen on Thursday, two days from now, when President Biden’s gonna hold his first solo news conference here, in Washington, at the White House, in exactly 20 months. Savannah, this is a rare opportunity to demonstrate that he can handle a high-stakes, unscripted event. Savannah?

GUTHRIE: Peter Alexander, on the north lawn for us, thank you.

(…)

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