High Stakes — Joe Biden at 1:15 Today
Author: Greg Valliere
March 25, 2021
ALL EYES ON PRESIDENT BIDEN: No president in decades has gone this long without an initial press conference. This delay has simply amped up the suspense, as his critics and supporters watch his 1:15 ET press conference very, very carefully.
THIS WILL BE CRUCIAL on two levels. First, Biden’s performance. He has stumbled recently, forgetting the name of his Defense Secretary and slipping on an airplane ramp. So he will have to show the aggressive press inquisitors that he’s at the top of his game.
SECOND, Biden may have to play defense on several issues that have erupted in recent days. He’s off to a good start on vaccinations, and his Covid relief bill gets high grades from the public, but Biden suddenly faces very tough questions:
Immigration: This has become so controversial that Biden has given the issue to Kamala Harris, clearly a mixed blessing for her. Republicans, led by the hungry Ted Cruz, have pounced on this issue and the press will also. How could the Biden Administration be so unprepared for this crisis — and what’s the solution?
Guns: We expect Biden will make a passionate case for background checks and banning assault weapons. But he doesn’t have the votes in the Senate, so the fallback will be executive orders, which Biden surely will discuss today.
Filibuster fight: The two biggest issues in Congress are voting reforms and a mammoth infrastructure bill that includes tax hikes. Both of these bills face filibusters from Republicans. Will Biden endorse filibuster reforms — or abolition? This could be the big news-maker in his press conference.
Angry Asians: Biden obviously will condemn violence against Asians, but there’s a big issue within his administration — the lack of Asians in his cabinet, which has angered even his supporters.
Covid relief: Biden may be asked why checks have been slow to reach recipients, why some schools are still not open, and AstraZeneca’s controversial data. But he should be able to easily handle Covid; U.S. vaccinations have far exceeded his modest goals.
Geopolitics: As we predicted, North Korea has stirred the pot, as missile tests increase tensions in Asia. Biden may be asked about this, and his rocky relations with China. And his assertion that Vladimir Putin is a “killer” may provoke a question.
OUR MAIN FOCUS will be on Biden’s grasp of the issues and his ability to make his case clearly. We’ll get emails for saying this — but from what we’ve seen lately, Biden’s verbal and cognitive skills appear to be adequate at best. Too harsh? You be the judge this afternoon.
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