CNN: Biden's Mind Seemed 'Fairly Sharp' Even if He Garbled Riley's Name, No 'Major Gaffes'

During CNN’s coverage of the State of the Union on Thursday, host Jake Tapper stated that President Joe 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.” And host Abby Phillip stated that Biden ad-libbed “without any major gaffes, and I think that was ultimately the bar that his aides wanted him to clear.”

Tapper said, “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.”

Phillip stated, “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. 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.”

Later, Tapper stated that Biden “wanted, and was prepared for the Laken Riley moment.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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