In a tale of two pundits, competing networks MSNBC and Fox News had very different takes on what President Joe Biden’s advanced age meant for his performance during the State of the Union address, and, spoiler alert, only one of them suggested there was “considerable doubt.”
While political junkies at home gathered around TVs, tablets and smartphones to boisterously react to inane moments from their ideological opposites like it were a sporting event, anchors and commentators with advanced copies of the State of the Union, and prepped by producers, readied remarks to set the spin as soon Biden signed off.
Given her chance to pontificate, MSNBC’s Joy Reid aimed to tackle the never to be settled concern over Biden’s cognitive abilities as an 80-year-old gaffe machine. Admittedly, she presented the case that it was a concern shared by Democrats before she inexplicably lauded fellow octogenarian Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as a comparable talent to the president while knocking House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), roughly a quarter of a century their junior.
“There’s a lot of anxiety in the Democratic…political world about Biden’s age. He shattered that tonight. He’s obviously … it’s similar to what Nancy Pelosi is able to do,” Reid contended. “There’s certain things that an experienced politician can do … that an inexperienced politician, even a Kevin McCarthy, who’s been around a long time, but is obviously not as ready for primetime as Joe Biden.”
Not ten minutes earlier on Fox News, journalist Brit Hume, himself enjoying his 80th trip around the sun, had a more lucid take on the speech after suggesting the first way to consider it would be to examine it for factual accuracy, something for which Republicans in attendance were prepared to fact check him on the spot over.
“The other way is looking at this man, this 80-year-old man, the oldest president, I guess, ever, and whether he got through the speech well,” Hume said as he considered from the same angle as Reid. “And it seemed to me there was an awful lot of stumbling and slurring and words left out and so on.”
(Video: Fox News)
“So the question becomes this: Does someone sitting at home worried about the future of our country, perhaps suffering from inflation and the other maladies, and worried about crime, worried about the border — look at this man delivering this speech tonight and say, ‘I have confidence to give him four more years. He’s the man who’s led our nation so well, he’s fully in command?” the former Fox News anchor asked.
“Or do they look at him and have doubts? Doubts that they may already harbor based on Afghanistan and certain other things…I have considerable doubt as to whether this was a confidence-inspiring speech tonight,” he concluded.
Hume’s analysis followed the already considerably poor outlook marked by an ABC News/Washington Post poll that found Biden had set the record worst result when voters were asked to consider if they were better off financially under his leadership. So bad was the result of 41 percent declaring themselves worse off that even CNN had no choice but to call it out as John King said, “that’s a tough one.”
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