Throughout his CNN town hall, he repeatedly expressed his belief that Republicans will come, even though some are poisoned by conspiracies, and others, he says, “lie” on his record.
He was confronted with open skepticism by some of his questioners, especially with regard to voting rights. But he sprang forward and raised his belief in bipartisanship as nothing less than a quest to prove that democracy can work.
It was a reflection of the place Biden has been in the presidency for six months. It is too early for him to give up his promise to unite the country. Still, the window closes to get something done with the Republicans.
‘This is not a pandemic’
“There are legitimate questions that people can ask if they worry about being vaccinated, but the question needs to be asked, answered, and people need to be vaccinated,” Biden said. “But this is not a pandemic.”
“It’s frustrating,” he continued, trying to downplay the current wave only as a pandemic among those who have refused to be shot.
Amid the rise in cases, Biden’s aides have been trying to underscore the real progress they have made with the pandemic, as his ability to stem the crisis will be how voters overwhelmingly judge him. They have been resilient to returning to previous levels of crisis messages and understanding the impact this could have on national impressions of progress.
Selling the plan
Still, he and his aides have signaled that the coming weeks will be crucial to the adoption of his sweeping agenda before the interim election period gets hotter. Then the clock also clicks to fulfill his campaign promise to work with Republicans to prove that democracy is still functional.
Biden acknowledged that it was a question he received from foreign leaders who asked him if the United States “will ever get it together.” And he said a proliferation of conspiracy theories made it harder to work together, quoting one that “the bite hides people and sucks the children’s blood.”
The president still insisted on working together to remain his North Star, even when asked by a member of the public about the “utopian need for support from both parties.”
“I may be the wrong guy to talk to,” Biden warned, acknowledging that he did not soon have plans to give up on his insistence that Republicans and Democrats can work together.
He said he was dealing with both Republicans and Democrats, saying the compromises are “real” and noting that there must be compromises within his own party “between the far left and center and some of the people who are more conservative. ” And without asking, Biden checked the name of Ohio’s Republican senator, Rob Portman, 25 minutes into the event. Portman is among the senators negotiating the two-party infrastructure plan, and Biden’s flattering message was laced with his expectations.
“I come from a tradition in the Senate, you shake your hand, and that’s what you keep your word,” he said. “And I found Rob Portman doing it.”
Hard financial love
Politicians are usually wary of carrying bad news. Biden has insisted he does not want sugar coat facts. And on Wednesday, he delivered somewhat unwelcome financial news in two separate responses.
He acknowledged that the current price increases were real when asked about an overheating economy. And he honestly told an owner of a restaurant chain that he would continue to fight to hire workers in the foreseeable future – and suggested that the restaurant owner raise wages.
It was a tough financial love. But Biden tried to make a point about the big changes he was trying to impact on the lives of American workers in his first year in office, convinced of what side effects were felt right now pale in comparison to the greater benefits along the way.
“There will be inflation in the short term because everything is now trying to be taken up again,” he said, detailing how his economic team has advised him that current price increases will not last as demand returns to normal levels.
The bite has come under fire from Republicans to inject trillions of dollars into the economy at a time when fears of inflation are penetrating. But he pointed to economists who say the two plans he is pushing for in Congress would actually lower prices.
When the restaurant owner stood up to ask how to encourage workers who returned to work in the midst of a nationwide struggle to retain employees, Biden acknowledged that it may take some time.
“I think it’s really a matter of people deciding now that they have opportunities to do other things. And there is a shortage of staff, people are looking to make more money and and to negotiate. And then I think , your business and the tourist business will really be in a bind for a while, ”said Biden.
But he said raising the wage would prove to be a safer thing, suggesting that a rate of $ 15 per tonne. Time could attract a more reliable workforce.
“But you might already be paying,” he said.
Biden lamented that the two points – suffrage and filibuster – have become so intertwined, although legislative progress is inherently linked to the existence of a rule that requires a 60-vote threshold on most bills.
Biden has said he is open to changing filibusters to require senators to speak on the senate floor when holding bills. But he has stopped not backing some Democrats’ calls to remove it altogether.
It was probably an unsatisfactory answer to the incoming law student who asked Biden about the logic of getting rid of the filibuster to “protect our democracy and secure the right to vote.”
But Biden seemed to suggest that changing the rules would now prevent any of his legislative agenda from being passed – and while he insists that voting rights are his top priority, there is likely to be greater progress in Congress in terms of his infrastructure and family plans.
“Abuse of filibusters is pretty overwhelming,” Biden admitted Wednesday – but later said cleansing that it would “throw the entire Congress into chaos, and nothing will be done, nothing will be done at all.”
The cage is still gilded
The last time Biden attended a CNN town hall, he compared living in the White House to living in a “gilded cage” and told Anderson Cooper that he was not used to being waited on by staff.
Things have not changed much since then: He said Wednesday that he missed being able to get out of his bedroom for breakfast in a cloak in the morning. And he would like to wear shorts and a T-shirt to stroll around outside.
The moment it sank into the fact that he is now president – the leader of the free world – was on his June trip to Europe, Biden said as he sat in front of leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin as equality.
“He knows who I am. I know who he is,” he said.
In fact, Biden emerged in his element abroad, seizing the four decades he had spent climbing the ranks of American foreign policy to finally lead the nation’s affairs.
Still, he acknowledged that it has taken some getting used to hearing “Greetings to the boss” as he enters the events.
“I went, ‘Where is he?’ , ”He said the first time he heard the opening trunks. “It’s a great tune, but you feel a little self-conscious.”
This story has been updated with additional takeaways.