Biden to Doocy: It's not personal, sonny, it's strictly business

“Mr. Unity strikes again,” Sean Hannity quips, but he and Peter Doocy eventually laugh off Joe Biden’s irritated riposte to Doocy’s question on inflation. Doocy revealed on Hannity that Biden tracked down Doocy to apologize … kinda. When pressed on that point, Doocy tells Hannity that they agreed to keep “moving forward,” which amuses Hannity:

“After years of quips of the president and I mixing it up on the campaign transition and the transition and here in the White House, within about an hour of that exchange he called my cell phone and he said it’s nothing personal, pal,” Doocy shared.

“We went back and forth and we were talking about just kind of moving forward,” Doocy added.

“I made sure to tell him that I’m always going to try to ask something different than what everybody else is asking and he said, ‘You’ve got to.’ And that’s a quote from the President, so I’ll keep doing it,” Doocy said.

Hannity feigns dissatisfaction, and pitches his services as an agent to Doocy. Hannity wants Biden to apologize and offer a big concession, while Doocy’s fine with Biden actually talking with reporters:

“I think the president should apologize by giving you 20-minutes uninterrupted one-on-one interview,” Hannity said. “And first Jen Psaki, she owes you 20 minutes too.”

“Hey, they keep calling on us at the briefing,” Doocy said. “The president said, ‘Nothing personal, pal,’ so I think that’s enough. It’s enough.”

Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that Biden bothered to do that much. Presidents have insulted reporters in the past, both inadvertently and with great deliberation, strategy, and frequency, as Donald Trump did for four years. George W. Bush famously got caught in an open-mic situation calling Adam Clymer a “major-league asshole” on the 2000 campaign trail. Bush apparently didn’t apologize to the New York Times reporter either:

If anything, this might have made Joe Biden look more coherent than usual, John Hinderaker posits. The sarcasm and name-calling reflect that Biden really is worried about inflation and its effect on Democratic electoral prospects, a point that some missed in the exchange:

First of all, contrary to what many are saying, this is not a “hot mic” situation. Biden was perfectly aware that he was sitting at a microphone, ostensibly in order to answer questions, and that anything he said would be heard by everyone. He did it on purpose.

To me, what is notable about Biden’s answer is not that he said to Doocy, “You’re a stupid son of a bitch.” That is just Biden’s usual senile hatefulness. Rather, it is the fact that for a change, Biden was able to recognize reality, saying sarcastically, “It’s a great asset. More inflation.” That represents an unusual moment of lucidity. Even Joe Biden understands that rising prices are damaging to the Democrats.

Ehh, I don’t consider that hatefulness any more than Bush’s sotto voce quip to Cheney 22 years ago. It’s a rather human reaction to frustration and accountability. This pales in comparison to the hatefulness of Biden’s equating his opponents on the radical election-federalizing bill to Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis earlier this month and other such Biden demagoguery. But in terms of showing a flash of recognition of his political predicament, John’s spot-on.

In the end, though, this is an amusing episode at most with little meaning other than the hypocrisy of the tongue-cluckers over presidential temperament in the previous administration. Actually, that’s far more amusing than meaningful, too. Insulting reporters wasn’t the end of the Republic in 2000, and it wasn’t yesterday either, but it’s certainly ripe for some fun. Kudos to Doocy and Hannity for grasping that and giving it the light treatment it deserved. And, if Doocy’s reporting is accurate, give Biden credit for his Godfather reference: