John Harwood claimed the economy is doing well and Biden is handling things effectively at 80-years-old
Several media figures have rushed to the defense of President Biden as a growing cohort of Democratic colleagues and potential voters express concerns about the 2024 candidate’s age and handling of the economy.
According to a Monmouth University poll released in October, 76% of voters agreed that Biden, at 80, was “too old” to serve a second term.
A separate poll from Marquette University found former President Trump had a 23- to 24-point lead with voters on handling inflation, the economy and the border over Biden. Trump also held a 19-point lead over Biden in voters’ confidence in the candidate creating jobs.
MSNBC host Jen Psaki, who previously served as the White House press secretary for Biden, brushed off concerns about Biden’s age over the weekend when she said the president “isn’t perfect.”
“Guess what?” Psaki said on her show. “Joe Biden isn’t perfect. No candidate is, by the way. But we have to understand what the alternative is here. If elected to a second term, Donald Trump would prosecute anyone he deems an enemy, unleash troops on protesters, and essentially unravel the rule of law as we know it, and this time, he plans to align his administration with people who will actually do it. But sure, Joe Biden is three years older and occasionally trips on things.”
A CNN survey published on Monday found that 74% of voters do not believe the president “has the stamina and sharpness to be president.” Meanwhile, only 47% of those polled felt the same about Trump.
That same day, former CNN White House Correspondent John Harwood warned voters were “unhappy” with Biden and urged the president to seek “expert political guidance.”
“Trump could win despite his flagrant criminality and deranged mental state,” he wrote on X.
He also called on journalists to better convey two “realities” about the current administration.
One, “The U.S. economy is doing well, not poorly” and two, “Biden at 80 is handing the job effectively right now.”
Harwood’s comments drew considerable backlash on social media, with many suggesting the veteran journalist was essentially running PR for the Biden administration.
“Journalists aren’t supposed to help administrations; that’s why we hate you propagandists,” one user tweeted.
“Realities but tough sells. When a restaurant tells me this, I think the economy is doing poorly,” retired journalist Stephen C. Fehr wrote on X. His post included a picture from a restaurant that imposed a 3.75% fee for 2023 in response to inflation, rising wages and supply chain challenges.
“I’m not talking about sales, which is the job of campaign strategists. I’m talking about reporting what’s true, which is the job of journalists,” Harwood told Fehr.
He then claimed there has “never” been a time when Americans and businesses didn’t struggle to make ends meet. “The issue is compared to what,” he added.
Harwood’s position on Biden’s age and accomplishments was shared a day later by MSNBC senior contributor and columnist Mike Barnicle, who said “very few” in the media pay attention to the enormous weight Biden carries daily.
“Right now, he is carrying two twin towers of tyranny. One in Donald Trump here domestically, the other Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, who’s perhaps the biggest obstacle to a two-state solution that exists today. So, the president has that on his plate,” he said.
Barnicle said that nobody could comprehend the struggles of the presidency, noting that the world often looks to the United States for solutions and help.
“But you read every newspaper in the country, read every newspaper in the country about President Biden, within the first two paragraphs, they’ll point out he’s in his 80s. No kidding. He knows how old he is,” he continued. “You couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. Someone 45 years of age couldn’t do what he does every day, but he does it.”
Many key media reporters and pundits have been exasperated since a new poll found Biden losing to Trump by up to 10 points in five battleground states in a hypothetical 2024 rematch.
The New York Times-Siena College poll found Trump leading Biden by 10 points in Nevada, six in Georgia, five in Arizona and Michigan, and four in Pennsylvania. In Wisconsin, Biden held a two-point lead over Trump.
The results saw media members suggest it may be the right move for Biden to drop out of the impending race.