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CNN: Biden’s Mind Seemed ‘Fairly Sharp’ Even if He Mispronounced Riley’s Name

via CNBC Television
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During CNN’s coverage of the State of the Union, hosts Jake Tapper and Abby Phillip analyzed President Biden’s performance.

Tapper noted Biden’s mind seemed sharp as he ad-libbed a response to heckling about the murder of Laken Riley, though he incorrectly said her name was “Lincoln Riley.”

Biden’s “mind did seem fairly sharp. He ad-libbed a response to a pretty harsh moment, some heckling about the tragic murder of UGA student Laken Riley. He got her name wrong,” Tapper said.

Phillip said Republicans handed Biden opportunities to show fight and react in the moment as his aides wanted, by heckling despite being counseled not to.

She said Biden liked to ad-lib and did so a few times without major gaffes, which was the bar his aides wanted him to clear.

Tapper later stated Biden wanted and prepared for the moment when Rep. Greene shouted about Laken Riley’s murder during his immigration discussion, indicating the White House anticipated such an interruption could occur.

Biden went “without any major gaffes, and I think that was ultimately the bar that his aides wanted him to clear,” Phillip said.

Tapper added, “His presentation, his enunciation, of course, is not as clear as it once was a decade or two ago. His mind did seem fairly sharp. He ad-libbed a response to a pretty harsh moment, some heckling about the tragic murder of UGA student Laken Riley. He got her name wrong. He called her Lincoln Riley, but, as a general note, he condemned her murder, which was something that people were talking about.”

“Republicans, I think because their whole thing right now is that Joe Biden is slow, that he’s too old, that he can’t do this, they walk into this trap every time that the White House sets for them. Their Speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), tried to counsel them not to heckle, not to react in this way, and they did it. And it creates an opening, an opportunity for Joe Biden to react. He said to them, I know you know how to read,” Phillip said.

“He had a lot of moments where he was kind of trolling them, and that worked for him in this speech, because that’s essentially — at the end of the day, this was a speech about all of the things that presidents make speeches about, but the question before Joe Biden today that he needed to answer the most was, how does he present to the American public?”

“Republicans, it seemed to me, really handed him a golden opportunity, on multiple occasions during the speech to do exactly what his aides wanted him to do, which was show, some fight, show his ability to react in the moment. He likes to ad-lib. It’s not — it doesn’t always work out well for him. He did it a few times tonight without any major gaffes, and I think that was ultimately the bar that his aides wanted him to clear,” she said.

The analysts generally felt Biden benefited from being able to respond spontaneously to heckling as planned.

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