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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden agreed on Saturday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a good point last month when she said he ought to back out of debating President Donald Trump.
But then the former vice president couldn’t resist taking a dig at the man he’s trying to replace in the Oval Office.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, the former VP and long-serving U.S. senator addressed calls from leading Democrats and left-wing pundits that he shouldn’t engage in any of the three debates scheduled with the president, the first of which is Tuesday.
Those calls began over the summer as it appeared that Biden would become the nominee — and as Biden often struggled to remember facts, dates, and familiar phrases.
In early July, liberal New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said debates should only happen if they were premised on two conditions that are unprecedented and unlikely to happen: That Trump must first release his tax returns; and that there be a team of “real-time” fact-checkers.
Later that same week, Biden supporters took to social media to say he shouldn’t debate the president — using the same ‘dishonesty’ excuse — after the former vice president struggled mentally through a virtual conference hosted by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
In early August, Bill Clinton’s one-time press secretary Joe Lockhart said that Biden should skip the debates because of “lies.” And a few days later, journalist Elizabeth Drew wrote in the New York Times that the debates should be canceled, period.
Pelosi stuck with the ‘dishonesty’ theme late last month when she said during a news conference Biden should not participate.
“Don’t tell anybody I told you this. Especially don’t tell Joe Biden. But I don’t think there should be any debates,” she said.
“I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody…has any association with truth, evidence, data, and facts,” she added. “I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him, nor a debate, in terms of the presidency of the United States.”
In her interview with Biden, Ruhle asked, “Does she have a point?”
“Well, she does,” Biden said, saying that some notable liberal voices, such as Friedman, have called for him not to do it.
“Look, the people know the president’s a liar. I mean, they know that,” Biden said. “It’s not like it’s gonna come as a surprise. And so, I’m prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he has failed and why I think the answers I have to proceed will help the American people and the American economy and make us safer internationally.”
The former VP then predicted how the debate will go before taking another dig at the president.
“My guess is, it’s going to be just straight attack. They’re going to be mostly personal. That’s the only thing he knows how to do,” said Biden.
“He doesn’t know how to debate the facts because he’s not that smart. He doesn’t know that many facts,” Biden added. “He doesn’t know much about foreign policy” or “domestic policy. He doesn’t know much about the detail.”
To the point of observers who have theorized that Biden’s mental acuity has significantly declined following his two terms as vice president, at another point in the interview, Ruhle assisted Biden when he forgot his point.
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