CNN pundit wonders if Biden 'can't handle' doing live interviews or debates

 February 8, 2024

A CNN commentator may have slipped up and said too much about President Joe Biden's declining mental capabilities when she wondered if he "can't handle" sitting for a live interview ahead of the Super Bowl, Breitbart reported.

The stunning admission came amid a panel discussion of the news that Biden would skip the traditional pre-game interview with the host network -- in this case, CBS News -- as well as a curious and confused response that Biden gave to reporters when asked about a debate challenge from former President Donald Trump.

"Is it because he can’t handle it?"

The Daily Caller reported on a "CNN This Morning" panel discussion segment on Tuesday that began with a clip of former President Trump calling for a debate "immediately" against President Biden followed by Biden's odd response when informed of that challenge by reporters while campaigning in Nevada.

"Immediately?" Biden replied after an initial confused laugh. "Well, I -- if I were him, I’d want to debate me too. He’s got nothing else to do."

Co-host Phil Mattingly turned to the panel and said, "I think I’m in the minority on our team in that I am convinced there will be debates, and I don’t see any way there is not. Am I wrong?"

Bloomberg News' senior Washington correspondent Salena Mohsin said in response, "Look, since 2016, everything we were convinced of, we need to throw out. Maybe it will happen; it will happen for different reasons than it used to."

"What’s interesting, though, is that President Joe Biden said 'no' to the traditional '60 Minutes' interview before the Super Bowl," she continued. "And to me, him saying no to something that he’s expected to do -- a serious interview, he can really get his message out to an audience, just sitting, waiting for him, waiting for his message -- is telling. Is it because he can’t handle it?"

"Just look at that clip we just saw"

Fox News reported that CNN co-host Poppy Harlow observed that President Biden sat for an interview less than a year ago with a CBS News reporter and asked Mohsin, "Do you have any sense of why 'no' on this one at such a crucial moment?"

"I have no idea. I mean, just look at that clip we just saw," the Bloomberg reporter replied. "If he is not able to follow the questions, if his staff is worried that he can connect the dots and find the word that he’s looking for -- that’s a problem."

Mattingly noted that "poll after poll after poll" has highlighted serious voter concerns about Biden's age and mental health decline and wondered if Biden refusing to debate Trump would "exacerbate that problem."

Panelist Lee Carter, a former GOP pollster and strategist, told Mattingly, "Absolutely. I mean, the narrative is already there."

Vast majority concerned to some extent about Biden's age and health

To what Mattingly said about the polls and President Biden, NBC News reported this week that a new survey of registered voters revealed that a combined 89% had some level of concern about Biden, at age 81, "not having the necessary mental and physical health to be president for a second term," including 62% with "major" concerns, 14% with "moderate" concerns, and 13% with "minor" concerns, with just 11% who had "no real concerns" about the president's mental and physical health.

Also of note is the fact that, of the combined 76% who had "major" or "moderate" concerns about Biden's age and health, that number included not just 95% of Republican voters but also 81% of independents and even 54% of Democrats -- as well as, apparently, some media pundits on CNN.

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