Joe Biden’s campaign is lashing out at the media for covering the former vice president’s persistent gaffes.
Symone Sanders, the campaign’s spokeswoman, appeared on CNN Monday to discuss the numerous verbal missteps that have plagued Biden over the past week. In particular, Sanders was asked if voters cared about the gaffes or if Biden’s standing would be diminished by them— as polling seems to suggest.
Sanders responded by accusing the media of playing up the gaffes to further their own “narrative” at the expense of voters.
“This is a press narrative, not a voter narrative,” Sanders said. “If you were to look at the coverage in Iowa this weekend and juxtapose the local newspapers and local television coverage to national media coverage you would have thought these reporters were at two different events.”
She proceeded to argue the media should “elevate the conversation” surrounding the election and refrain from prioritizing things that do “not matter.”
“We cannot allow this election to devolve in a tit for tat over name-calling and ‘gaffes,’ something that does not matter,” Sanders said. “This is not something that’s registering with the American people.”
Other top Biden aides made a similar argument on Monday, in what appeared to be a coordinated attack on the national press.
Kate Bedingfield, the former vice president’s deputy campaign manager, asserted on social media that the press should “cover the substance of what the candidates are saying” instead of “applying Donald Trump’s frame” to the race.
Crazy idea: instead of applying Donald Trump’s frame to this race, let’s cover the substance of what the candidates are saying and let voters make their decision that way. https://t.co/TNxLPTwQ8I
— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) August 12, 2019
Bedingfield continued her attack on the media Tuesday, claiming the press was “hyperventilating” about Biden’s persistent gaffes, while most voters were “focused on beating” Trump in 2020.
NEWS: While the national press was hyperventilating about “gaffes,” @JoeBiden was was the only top-tier candidate to gain ground in the early primary states.
Voters value authenticity and they are focused on beating Donald Trump.
— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) August 13, 2019
TJ Ducklo, the campaign’s national press secretary, also jumped into the fray by accusing the national press of prioritizing Biden’s gaffes over his positions on gun violence and the and “the threat of white nationalism.”
**Joe Biden goes to Iowa to talk about the threat of white nationalism and the national gun violence epidemic**
Iowa press: The stakes of this election couldn't be higher
National press: "But his gaffes!" pic.twitter.com/UrTiteGGYn
— TJ Ducklo (@TDucklo) August 12, 2019
The response from Biden’s campaign comes after a hellish week for the former vice president on the campaign trail.
When Biden first journeyed to Iowa last week, it was as the vaunted frontrunner. Not only had Biden redeemed himself at the second Democrat presidential debate, but he also brushed off questions about his brother being sued for fraud by accusing Trump of having “fanned the flames of white supremacy.”
Biden’s momentum only seemed confirmed when a national poll found him leading the field by double digits and support for his most vocal critic, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), cratering.
Then within the span of four days it all fell apart. The gaffes began innocently enough last Thursday, with Biden telling voters at the Iowa State Fair that “we choose truth over facts.”
“Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division,” he said towards the end of his stump speech. “We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.”
Many of the those watching were confused. As Breitbart News has reported, the comment was likely the result of Biden flubbing an applause line he frequently uses on the trail: “we have to choose hope over fear, unity over division and, maybe most importantly, truth over lies.”
Even though the gaffe received media attention, it was soon outdone by bigger and more prominent verbal missteps. Later that evening, Biden confused the name of recently ousted British prime minister, Theresa May, with the late-Margaret Thatcher – who left office in 1990.
“Words that stunned the nation, and I would argue – I know – shocked the world. International leaders spoke about it,” Biden told the Asian and Latino Coalition of Des Moines, Iowa when falsely alleging Trump praised the neo-Nazis that marched on Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 as “very fine people.”
“You had people like Margaret Thatch… excuse me,” the former vice president said catching himself. “You had people like the former chairman and the leader of the party in Germany. You had Angela Merkel stand up and say how terrible it was. International leaders looked at us like, ‘what in God’s name is happening to the United States of America?’”
The blunder, while noticeable, was not Biden’s biggest of the night. While discussing his plans to reform America’s education system, Biden stated that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
“We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools,” the former vice president said. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
While the gaffes drew notice and derision from across the political spectrum, with Trump even mocking the former vice president for not “playing with a full deck,” it was a statement the 76-year-old Biden made on Saturday while discussing gun control that raised the most concerns.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden told a group of reporters, before claiming that when the survivors visited Congress, lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.”
Many were quick to point out that the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which resulted in 17 fatalities and over a dozen injuries, occurred on February 14, 2018, more than a year after Biden left the White House.
Although a number of prominent liberals had expressed doubts about Biden’s capabilities as a candidate and his fitness to be commander in chief, the Parkland gaffe stirred a strong response from those on the left. Some, like Jamil Smith, a senior writer for Rolling Stone magazine, called on the former vice president’s campaign to “step forward” and explain “what is going on with him.”
This is akin to his repeated Margaret Thatcher gaffe. Or it may be somehow different. I don’t want to speculate about what caused Biden to say it. Again, his campaign needs to step forward, and we need to not be afraid to have a conversation about this. https://t.co/bSouvK3hO9
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) August 10, 2019
While Biden’s campaign has countered such questions by attacking the media, the former vice president has refrained from doing so himself. In fact, when asked by a reporter over the weekend if the gaffes served to “dim” his electability, Biden seemed unfazed by the notion.
“Well that will be determined pretty soon, won’t it,” he said by way of response.