It has been three days since the now-infamous special counsel report first sparked panic in both the White House and the Biden-friendly media by essentially calling the president senile. But after several poorly managed attempts by the administration to discredit Robert K. Hurr’s cognitive health commentary, the panic in the press has become full-blown pandemonium. The Biden ship certainly seems to be sinking – and the Fourth Estate is scrambling for the lifeboats.
It’s rare when emotion takes center stage during a presidential address to the nation. But that occurred Thursday evening when the White House press corps was summoned to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to cover a defiant and defensive speech by the president over a special counsel report that essentially cleared him in an investigation of classified documents uncovered in his home.
At issue was the characterization of the president by special counsel Hur as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” who suffers from “diminished faculties.” Hur ostensibly used this cognitive assessment of the president as the primary reason not to charge him.
The Biden-advocacy media correctly discerned the explosive political impact this would have on the president’s re-election efforts and surprisingly did not omit Hur’s comments from their evening reporting. CNN’s Jake Tapper was all over it. CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell asked relevant questions regarding Hur’s remarks. Even MSNBC’s Joy Reid was chewing it over on her program. It was as if the special counsel report permitted them to say the quiet thing out loud: Is Joe Biden cognitively up to four more years in the Oval Office?
But where things began to unravel for the president and the leftist press was just before 8 p.m. when Mr. Biden took to the podium in vigorous defense of himself. The more he spoke of his competency, the worse it got. He stumbled over the name of a church connected with the death of his son, Beau, and – in typical Shakespearean-speak – protest[ed] too much about his fine memory and ability to serve competently.
Had it ended there, perhaps the president could have called it a decent though not a good day, but then the unthinkable happened, and he walked up to the gaggle of reporters to “take a few questions.” Why his aides thought it was a good idea for him to speak directly to the media beggars belief. The usual note cards with names, faces, and questions were not prepared for him, so he had to wing it. Shouting at the president all at once, the frustrated correspondents appeared as an angry mob: “How bad is your memory, and can you continue as president?” “Do you think your memory has gotten worse, Mr. President?” It was nothing short of a living nightmare for Campaign Biden.
Then, just as he was about to get out of Dodge, he turned around, returned to the podium, mixed up the names of the presidents of Egypt and Mexico, and confirmed every fear the American people have about his cognitive state.
Special Counsel Report Opens the Floodgates
Both before and after President Biden’s speech, the leftist media appeared to be scrambling for the lifeboats. Forget women and children first – it was an every-man-for-himself moment. One could almost hear the rumblings from the press: “We’ve had your back all this time, and now your candidacy is imploding? No way – we are done with you.”
Leftist media angst spilled over into Friday with more than a few irritated headlines. NBC News intoned: “A ‘Nightmare’ Special Counsel’s Assessment of Biden’s Mental Fitness Triggers Democratic Panic.” And this one from CNN: “Biden Erupts Over Special Counsel’s Report as Aides Look to short-Circuit Campaign Risk.” On Fox in a morning-after haze, Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. succinctly said, “The president has lost his fastball.”
This is not news to the 75% of Americans polled who say they don’t believe Biden is up to the job. But apparently, it is news to the leftist media backing him for a second term. Long-time Democratic strategist David Axelrod put it this way in Friday’s edition of the New York Times, “The most damaging things in politics are the things that confirm people’s pre-existing suspicions, and those are the things that travel very fast. It’s a problem.” Then the Times added, “The Biden campaign declined to comment.”
Then, the White House called a press conference for 1 p.m. Friday, February 9. However, just before the presser, Vice President Kamala Harris took a moment to disparage the special counsel report as a gratuitous political attack on the president. Her comments were a portent of things to come when Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House counsel, stepped up to the microphone in the briefing room and began prosecuting the case of Mr. Biden’s innocence in the classified records case. He also repeatedly used the “g” word – gratuitous – stating unequivocally that Robert Hur’s comments about the president’s cognitive state “were inappropriate.”
In talking about the evidence, it appeared that Sams desperately tried to change the subject. That was a heavy lift, though, considering the primary takeaway of the report was not the president’s guilt or innocence but his fitness to be charged. However, some in the White House press corps sounded wary of this defense and pursued the question of Mr. Biden’s faulty memory. Sams shot back with, “I dispute that the characterizations of his memory in the report are accurate because it’s not.”
One wonders whether this is the moment the leftist media will end their role as apologists for the president. Will they head for the hills and wash their hands of Joe Biden? Or will they begin the age-old tactic used on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program and go after Robert Hur with figurative guns blazing? The old standby “shoot the messenger” is pretty much all they have at this point because the media has boxed itself in with nowhere to go.