Money Still Talks And Numbers Still Don’t Lie. Now, Perhaps, Biden Might Join Them.

Usually, the only night of television less devoid of anything worthy of watching beyond the 4th of July is the 5th of July.  At least the 4th has been dominated by the Macy’s spectaculars, giving NBC a pyrrhic victory for little more investment than a bunch of cameras aimed at the sky.  The 5th is usually reserved for reruns of shows that were barely watched the first time around and burn-offs of shows that few thought were worthy of being sampled in the first place.  We’re all basically still either bloated or hung over from holiday indulgences, and in my case working on scant little sleep because, gee, why stop lighting all of those illegal firecrackers at 3:30 a.m., right?

But tonight it looks like at least one outlet is going to try and give some of us a reason to actually watch something, as THE DAILY MAIL reported yesterday:

The White House is making urgent moves to get President Joe Biden in front of cameras and crowds on an expedited schedule amid growing calls from within his party to step down after his debate disaster. Biden’s handlers had already put in place a sit-down interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to try to fend off calls from lawmakers and donors to demonstrate that he is still up to the task of campaigning. Now, the interview will air days sooner than originally scheduled.

The full interview will now air in prime time on Friday night – giving Americans their first extensive look at the president in a Q&A format since Biden trailed off, rattled off odd phrases, and appeared to lose his train of thought during Thursday’s debate with Donald Trump. ‘The down-ballot freakout from elected Democrats has not ebbed, and the negative media coverage and information flow about Biden’s debate debacle has only intensified,’ former Mitt Romney senior advisor Kevin Madden told DailyMail.com.

As a result, the White House is motivated more by necessity than design to schedule a major interview. There’s an urgency to get the President out there so he can address the blowback directly.’ But the move follows days lost time when senior members of his own party raised doubts about his candidacy and three elected Democrats have called on him to step back.

AXIOS’ Rebecca Falconer added a few more details:

The first clip of Biden’s interview will air on “World News Tonight with David Muir” Friday evening and then it will be broadcast in its entirety from 8pm ET, per an ABC News statement.

  • The president will sit down in Wisconsin on the campaign trail earlier on Friday with the ‘Good Morning America’ co-anchor and “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos,” the statement said.
  • The interview will air again in its entirety on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” on Sunday, according to the network.

Not quite live, which some might say is in line with the condition of the subject.

To be sure, folks are concerned, even if it’s more about Biden’s political health than his physical health.  And the well-heeled and influential aren’t alone in those opinions.  The NEW YORK TIMES’ Shane Goldmacher dropped this latest sparkler early Wednesday:

Donald J. Trump’s lead in the 2024 presidential race has widened after President Biden’s fumbling debate performance last week, as concerns that Mr. Biden is too old to govern effectively rose to new heights among Democrats and independent voters, a new poll from The New York Times and Siena College showed.

Mr. Trump now leads Mr. Biden 49 percent to 43 percent among likely voters nationally, a three-point swing toward the Republican from just a week earlier, before the debate. It is the largest lead Mr. Trump has recorded in a Times/Siena poll since 2015. Mr. Trump leads by even more among registered voters, 49 percent to 41 percent.

Doubts about Mr. Biden’s age and acuity are widespread and growing. A majority of every demographic, geographic and ideological group in the poll — including Black voters and those who said they will still be voting for him — believe Mr. Biden, 81, is too old to be effective.

The poll offers early empirical evidence of what many Democrats have feared: That Mr. Biden’s faltering debate performance has further imperiled his chances against Mr. Trump this fall. 

The full report from Goldmacher is detailed and revealing and is indeed worth a click-through to peruse.  So, too, is the very detailed description of the methodology and sample size used.  And the very fact that the previous wave was conducted a day before said fumbling debate minimizes the amount of extraneous noise that may have been fed into the baseline that is being used for these statistically significant swings.

As a Democrat, one may have reason to be upset.  As a researcher, at least I can’t dismiss something like this as disparingly or defensively as mere focus groups or smaller sample sizes condcuted on the spur of the moment.  And none of us have license to be a truth denier, especially when one of your major gripes may just be how your competition does exactly that.

Could be why this piece from THE DAILY BEAST’s Corbin Boiles was also an early morning holiday “gift” yesterday:

White House correspondents told The Daily Beast they have lost faith in the White House press team’s credibility, with one reporter claiming the saga over a lack of transparency around President Biden’s health shows “how much trust they’ve [the White House] lost with the American people.”

Wednesday’s White House press briefing blew the sensitive issue wide open, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fielding sustained questioning about Biden’s health, his jet lag, and his cold that all allegedly affected Biden’s debate performance. It did not matter how old a person was, suffering a confluence of such things, Jean-Pierre said. It takes “a toll.” However, she added, her words should not be seen as an “excuse,” but rather an “explanation.”

I’d like to believe that Jean-Pierre’s attempt at transparency in this case was as exemplary as the seemingly Freudian slip where she referened Biden’s running mate as “President Harris”.  I have my doubts.

But so too do a lot of those donors who have impacted ABC’s summer programming strategy. The WASHINGTON EXAMINER’s Cami Mondeaux dropped this story last night that reveals that they may have found a way to be heard in ways that mere polling and editorializing has so far be unable to:

A group of top Democratic donors and strategists is pooling resources into a new political action committee to help fund an alternative candidate to President Joe Biden should he withdraw from the presidential race, according to a new report from the New York Times.

The fund, coined the Next Generation PAC, is aiming to raise as much as $100 million to help support a candidate who replaces Biden at the top of the ticket, according to the outlet. If Biden doesn’t drop out of the race, the money would then be used to fund down-ballot candidates.

Maybe that’s why Team Biden pressed the one-time Clinton White House strategist to get his current employer to lobby for a prime time run?  After all, back in his day, that kind of move actually seemed to matter.

Yes, I’ll be watching, though not necessarily live.  Can’t guarantee I’ll be able to stay awake till 9; thank you once again, firecracker enthusiasts.

But when I do I’ll hope against hope that Stephanopoulos will at least try to ask some of the questions that Goldmacher’s poll asked American voters, in at least what will be edited to appear like real time.   Will at least try to show that Biden isn’t working with a script or a teleprompter.  Will at least try and create a environment as challenging as the one which CNN did a week and a day ago and give him a chance to show how he’s still capable of answering questions without a cold, jet lag, or onsetting dimensia–you take your pick.

And perhaps even ask–are we here because you’re finally wanting to remove the barriers that your increasingly inept press secretary seems to be determined to keep in front of you, or is the appearance that she’s already dreaming about a new, more “relatable” boss possibly a factor?

I kinda doubt we’ll get anything that eye-opening.  But I sure hope it’s not yet another rerun on the 5th of July.

Until next time…

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