President Joe Biden has remained quiet during the final days of the midterm campaigns. Meanwhile, his onetime boss — former President Barack Obama — is touring swing states to stump for vulnerable Democrats.
Biden’s absence has raised some questions… but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre can’t be expected to answer.
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On Sunday, Obama spoke at a campaign event in opposition to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc.
“They had long hours and sore backs, and bad knees, to get that Social Security. If Ron Johnson does not understand that, if he understands giving tax breaks for private planes more than he understands that seniors who worked all their lives are able to retire with dignity and respect, he is not the person who is thinking about you and knows you and sees you and he should not be your senator from Wisconsin,” the former president said.
MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart watched the speech, and he asked Jean-Pierre about Biden’s minimal role, compared to Obama’s
“Quite the passionate statement from the former president,” Capehart said. “My question is: Why is the former president making this case and not the current president?”
Jean-Pierre dismissed the premise of the question.
“So, I would disagree with that characterization of your question or how it was characterized there,” Jean-Pierre responded.
“The president has been talking about this almost every day for months now. He’s been talking about the choices that are at stake here, which is what I was just talking about moments ago, which is what Republicans are trying to do.”
Jean-Pierre went on to talk about the Republicans’ plan to roll back Biden’s record.
“Congressional Republicans are trying to take away our Social Security,” Jean-Pierre continued.
“They want to chop it off, they want to chop off, they want to put it on the chopping block. The president has said this, which is why he has taken every action he can to make sure we strengthen Medicare, right? That’s why the Inflation Reduction Act has been very, very important and critical, which is going to lower costs for Americans, really deal with what Americans are currently dealing with, when we talk about inflation. And the first thing that congressional Republicans say they want to do is repeal the Inflation Reduction Act.”
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“The president has been talking about our economy every day,” Jean-Pierre continued. “The things that we saw the former president — President Obama — so passionately speak about are the things that are at stake, but also the work that the president — President Biden and Vice President Harris — have done to get out economy back on its feet for the last 20 months.”
Jean-Pierre failed to answer the substance of Capehart’s question: the reason for Biden’s absence from the campaign trail.
Rather, she repeated White House talking points about Social Security heading toward the “chopping block.”
Three days before, Jean-Pierre was speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, and she used the phrase “Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block” three times.
Biden, still struggling with low approval, has remained notably absent from several midterm campaigns. In August, Biden said at an event with one senator, “I’ll come campaign for him or against him, whichever will help the most.”
Obama, on the other hand, has been making a warp-speed tour of swing states like Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The two-term president won all those states in both his presidential campaigns.
Take a look at Obama’s remark and Jean-Pierre’s reaction —
The Horn editorial team