This morning Ed wrote about Joe Biden’s slip of the tongue yesterday. During a fundraiser appearance Biden seemed to become confused in the middle of a sentence and referred to “four more years of George…” George who exactly? As Ed noted this morning, it wasn’t clear but in context it seemed like he’d forgotten who was president. Now a few hours later the Washington Post fact-checker has rushed to the rescue and given the RNC rapid response director 4 Pinocchio’s over this. Here’s author Meg Kelly’s explanation including her own transcript of what Biden said:
The “I Will Vote” concert was hosted by comedian George Lopez and political commentator Ana Navarro. The segment begins with what looks like a fancy Zoom call. Navarro and Lopez are each in a separate frame, as are the Bidens and a sign language interpreter…
“First of all, the reason they should vote is there is a lot on, on the ballot this year. This is the most consequen — not because I’m running but because of who I am running against — this is the most consequential election in a long, long, long time and the character of the country, in my view, is literally on the ballot,” Biden responds. “What kind of country are we going to be?”
Then, he stutters, “Four more years of George, uh, George, uh, he, uh, are going to find ourselves in position where if uh Trump gets elected uh we are going to be uh, going to be in a different world.”
Or was it: “Four more years, uh, George, uh, George, uh, we, uh.” It’s hard to tell.
Actually, no it’s not hard to tell at all unless you’re a desperate partisan casting about for excuses just prior to an election. When you listen to Biden’s full statement, he’s clearly setting up a contrast between himself and President Trump. Here’s what he said minus the paragraphs used to break it up.
“This is the most consequen — not because I’m running but because of who I am running against — this is the most consequential election in a long, long, long time. And the character of the country, in my view, is literally on the ballot. What kind of country are we going to be? Four more years of George, uh, George, uh, he, uh, gonna find ourselves in a position where, if Trump gets elected, uh, we’re gonna be, uh, we’re gonna be in a different world.”
This is an accurate transcription of what Biden said including all of the stammering he did near the end. So the claim by Meg Kelly in that last line above is simply false. Biden didn’t say “four more years, uh, George” like an interruption. It was “four more of George, uh…” You can hear the difference between the “of” and the “uh” that followed clearly. Listen for yourself:
There’s no version of that sentence that makes any sense which doesn’t end with “Trump.” He’s the person who might be about to secure four more years. And it’s very clear from the rest of what Biden said that’s who he was talking about, i.e. the person he’s “running against.” All of the context before and after the fumble points to him meaning to say “four more years of Trump.”
In fact, if you just skip over all of the George confusion in the middle, it’s obvious that’s the case: “What kind of country are we going to be? Four more years of [blank]…gonna find ourselves in a position where, if Trump gets elected…we’re gonna be in a different world.” It’s all one thought about what will happen if [blank] is re-elected. The name “George” slipped out and created a moment of confusion that derailed the thought. It’s no accident that at that moment Biden began stammering, but he did eventually bring it back to Trump as intended all along.
In any case, whether you think “George” meant meant George Bush or George Lopez, it didn’t make sense. Lopez isn’t up for four more years of anything. But if it’s a choice between Lopez and Bush, I think he meant George Bush. Here’s why I’m pretty confident that’s the case.
Notice the one word I highlighted above. Here it is again: “Four more years of George, uh, George, uh, he, uh…” If Biden were referring to George Lopez he wouldn’t say “he” he would say, “you” because he’s talking directly to Lopez. Biden’s brain is clearly still thinking about that guy whose name he can’t remember so he says “he” meaning Trump. And then he finally does pull the sentence together and says what he meant to in first place, “if Trump gets elected…”, i.e. four more years of Trump.
But the Post’s fact-checker skips over all of that and just comes up with this lame excuse which makes no sense [emphasis added]:
Starting the clip when the moderators were no longer on the screen, he eliminated key context by removing the most obvious George that Biden could be referring to — George Lopez — and filled in the gap with an answer better suited to the Trump campaign’s unproven narrative of Biden’s faltering mental acuity.
Guest earns Four Pinocchios for his efforts.
That just happens to match up with what a spokesman for Biden told the Post: “He was addressing George Lopez, the interviewer, as is a common practice.”
This is the media at its worst. Presented with an uncomfortable moment for a Democrat, they rush to offer excuses that line up with the campaign’s own and try to brand Biden’s critics as liars. If Biden wins the election against George, uh, George, uh he, uh this is the kind of thing you can look forward to for the next four year, i.e. blatantly partisan coverage from supposedly neutral arbiters at major media outlets.