What’s the worse story here — that Joe Biden used “cheat sheets” in his first full press conference, or that he used them badly? Both, really, although the featured image in the New York Post tweet isn’t much of a cheat sheet. It’s a seat map, which allowed Biden to choose questions by name:
— New York Post (@nypost) March 25, 2021
That seems like reasonable preparation more than “cheating.” When it comes to the cards that reminded Biden what his own policies are, well … that’s a problem. And misreading them in the moment is an even more embarrassing problem, of course:
New photos reveal several cheat sheets used by President Joe Biden during his Thursday press conference — including one with the headshots and names of reporters he planned to call on.
The president also used notes to assist with facts about US infrastructure, a policy area Biden is focusing on during his first months in the White House.
“The United States now ranks 13th globally in infrastructure quality — down from 5th place in 2002,” read one bullet point.
But despite having the answers in front of him, Biden still slipped up, saying America ranked 85th in the world in infrastructure, before correcting himself.
If I’m not mistaken, previous presidents have used reporter seating charts in pressers. However, it was obvious during the press conference that Biden was reading off of notes verbatim at times when answering reporters’ questions. Biden’s not terribly good at the quick downward glance method of note reading; his head tilted noticeably downward for several seconds at a time while responding.
Chris Wallace told a Fox News panel that he has never seen a president use “cheat sheets” to discuss his own policies, especially in Biden’s supposed area of expertise — foreign policy:
The picture of an actual cheat sheet captured by the Post doesn’t actually relate to foreign policy. It covered infrastructure, although those talking points involved comparisons to other countries, notably China. That’s the one that Biden misquoted, and then had to correct.
I’ll ask readers to click over to the NYP to take a look at that card rather than copy it here, but look at it closely. It’s not just handwritten notes jotted down by Biden as a reminder of points to cover. This card got a lot of design attention and was professionally printed. It didn’t just come off of the office inkjet. Is this why the White House announced the date nine days out from the presser — to make sure they could get the cheat cards printed for the president?
On the bright side, at least Biden didn’t plagiarize from anyone yesterday … that we know of. Yet.