HOUSTON, Texas — Former Vice President Joe Biden avoided the spin room for the third consecutive Democrat debate on Thursday evening, making him the only candidate never to have made a spin room appearance in the 2020 election cycle.
Two prior absentees, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, both made their first appearances in the spin room.
Sanders spoke to reporters for several minutes.
Buttigieg showed up, but evaded most questions.
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) September 13, 2019
Biden, however, never arrived.
Biden’s continued absence could be a strategic choice: as the frontrunner, he may feel he has little to gain by letting reporters fire questions at him in a confrontational setting.
However, then-candidate Donald Trump was well-known for spending hours in the spin room after Republican primary debates in 2015 and 2016, long after he had opened a wide lead over the rest of the field.
The fact that Biden avoids the spin room has also led to speculation about his physical stamina. Though Sanders, at 78, is the oldest candidate in the field, he is often animated and energetic on the campaign trail (though he told the press in the spin room that his throat had become hoarse from speaking to voters across the country). Biden, at 76, often appears to conserve his energy.
He has also been accused of having mental lapses. During the debate, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro made a comment about Biden failing to remember something he had said earlier in the evening, prompting boos from the audience, who understood the comment as a dig at Biden’s age. (Castro later told Breitbart News that he had not meant his remark in that way.)
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.