September 23rd, 2008
05:29 PM ET
3 years ago

Biden not holding press conferences, either

Sen. Biden hasn't held a press conference or taken questions from voters in two weeks.
Sen. Biden hasn't held a press conference or taken questions from voters in two weeks.

(CNN) – On Tuesday, John McCain held a press conference for the first time since becoming the Republican nominee, his first in six weeks. Much has been made of his running mate Sarah Palin not talking to the press corps traveling with her, and rarely sitting for interviews. But amid all the criticism of the Republican ticket avoiding the press, it has slipped the notice of many that Joe Biden isn’t giving press conferences either.

His last media availability was over two weeks ago on September 7 aboard his campaign plane, flying from Montana to Wisconsin. He spoke for about half an hour, over a third of which was in response to a question about partitioning Iraq.

But since then, there has been no interaction with the small band of reporters on the Delaware senator’s plane.

To be fair, the famously talkative Biden has given 89 national and local interviews, according to the campaign. Palin, in contrast, has granted just a handful, including one to People Magazine.

Biden's press secretary David Wade blames the lack of access on a compressed schedule, combined with a workload that includes preparing for next week's debate and writing speeches, like Wednesday's foreign policy address in Cincinnati. He says that there will be a press conference once things slow down, but adds that as Barack Obama prepares this week for Friday's presidential debate, Biden will pick up the slack by adding more events.

But Biden isn’t just keeping his press corps at arm’s length - he isn’t taking questions from voters either. As he left the convention in Denver and started campaigning alone, Biden answered voters’ questions at town halls every day for ten days in a row, except for the one day he took off.

On the tenth day, September 10 in Nashua, New Hampshire, Biden committed one of his biggest gaffes on the trail: when responding to a supporter he said Barack Obama might be better off if he had chosen Hillary Clinton as his running mate.

Now, gone is the town hall format - a change Wade also attributes to a tight schedule.

Last Thursday, in Akron, Ohio, Biden accused McCain and Palin of hiding from the press.

“When’s the last time John’s had a press conference?” asked Biden. “When elected officials stop holding press conferences, it ain’t because he’s found a new way to communicate, it’s because he doesn’t want to communicate.”

In early August, McCain hadn’t spoken to his press corps in over a month. So they jokingly bought a cardboard cutout of the Arizona senator for their cabin on the plane as a sad reminder of the access they once enjoyed on the Straight Talk Express. Three days later, McCain gave a press conference, and followed it up with two more in the following week.

Monday morning, Wade sent reporters on the bus a link to a Web site with a cardboard cutout of the Democratic VP nominee for sale — perhaps not a bad investment for an access-hungry press corps.


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    WE ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT BIDEN!

    September 23, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    WE DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PALIN!

    September 23, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    DUH!!!!

    September 23, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    You know, when I look at Biden, there's an air of confidence of a man with steady hands. This is all we need to know about him.

    A lot of people have come out to express that he has what it takes to lead.

    September 23, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. Jen

    You must be joking CNN if you are even attempting to make comparisons regarding Bidens and Palins media availability.

    September 23, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  6. Dan in Waukegan

    We've known Joe a long time, anyone that wants to talk to him can. Sarah Palin is a different story.

    September 23, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  7. Lydia

    Biden doesn't need any press conferences. He has been fully vetted. Focus should be placed on the one unknown in this race...the Republican VP candidate.

    September 23, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  8. Meka

    IT'S UNDERSTANDABLE THAT MCCAIN DOESN'T WANT PALIN TO HAVE INTERVIEWS. . .HAVE YOU HEARD HER, WHEN SHE OPEN'S HER MOUTH?

    September 23, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. stella801

    Biden is out there everyday talking up a storm. We have seen him in the primary debates and seen him in action for many years. He doesn't need to reveal who he is. Palin has been hiding from and avoiding the press and the public. Other than her scripted speeches and "field trips" ti various places, we know nothing of how she will react. I can't wait for the debate.

    September 23, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. Jess

    AMEN Gorbashov!!! Exactly we know everything about him and he was on a lot of shows!! Palin nothing! ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 23, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Peter (CA)

    How is this a story?

    McCain has not had a conference in 6 weeks. Palin has not had one and the campaign sees no reason to put her out there.

    Biden had one two weeks ago and he has been out on the trail since.

    September 23, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Too Much to Ask in CA

    Has Biden refused to answer questions? Seems like he is out there everyday talking to the press through interviews. He also ran for President and participated in multiple debates.

    On the otherhand, I have no idea if Gov.Palin can think on her own.

    What if she thinks bear markets can be fixed by shooting and skinning them?

    This is not news. Do not bend over backwards to be fair in your coverage.

    September 23, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. Enough!!!

    Why should he hold any press conferences if Palin is allowed so much 'privacy'. Please let the McCain camp complain about this. Being the known liars that they are, they probably will.

    September 23, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. David E for Obama/Biden

    ya c'mon CNN-Joe's at least in the mainstream. And I offer this: Biden would hold a prs conference ANYwhere ANYday ANYtime-can the same be said about Palin? I'm waiting...

    Joe's been in the spotlight

    September 23, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Democrat....no matter what!

    We don't need press conferences. We just need for everybodty to take away the priviledge of having the Republicans govern again! They had 8 years to prove what they can accomplish with their ideology of the Republican way of governing and, still, people are actually thinking of throwing their vote away to McSame!! These Republicans lost their chance to govern this country! We can't afford one more Republican presidency anymore! It's a matter of life and death!

    September 23, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Danielle

    Oh, please!! As we've constantly been reminded by republicans, "Biden has been in Washington for more than 30 years", so there's much about him that the American people are already familiar with. Sarah Palin has only been in the spotlight for 3 weeks. The comparison is futile. This particular blog article was unnecessary. Next?

    September 23, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Michael

    Good thing Biden isn't holding press conferences who knows what other nonsense would come out of his mouth. Like how FDR as president explained the stock market crash on TV 3 years before he was elected and ten years before it was available. And democrats are saying the McCain is losing his mind.

    September 23, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. lgioia

    Palin is smarter than anyone thinks. She is keeping people and
    the press excited and wondering, just like col. Parker did with
    Elvis Presley. Then, watch out. This lady is smart and will
    outsmart the best of you. And I am one that is rooting for her and
    McCain!

    September 23, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Shannon, Independent Voter

    We already know who Joe Biden is, we know nothing about palin. It looks like the mccain camp is really trying to hide her from the media and from answering questions about anything.

    Does mccain really expect us to vote for someone we know nothing about, and who is shrouded in secrecy. I have had enough secrecy and lies from the Bush admin, I am not about to vote in another person/group who is full of lies, deceit, and secrecy.

    September 23, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Al in Alabama

    The only time Biden closes his mouth is when he's covering up something.

    September 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Alabama fan for Obama

    I do not see anything Biden has said that I consider a gaff!
    He just speaks what he feels , he knows Hillary is capable and would have made a good choice and would have helped the campaign ...So what he said was the truth, so why is that a gaff?
    And when he said he thought the ad about McCain was terrible , well so did I and I feel the one in Spanish is in poor taste . But I am still voting for Obama. I don't like many ads on either side , they do not always speak the whole truth....McCain has done worse with his. SO
    When does speaking the truth tranlate into a gaff?

    If they would turn Palin loose we might find out what real gaffs are!

    September 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. mitchell

    HE'S PREPARING FOR THE DEBATES! WE'VE SEEN HIM FOR 36 YEARS! WE KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM! WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT MOOSE HUNTING MOM! WHAT IS HER VIEW ON THE BEST WAY TO SOLVE THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN IRAQ? IRAN? RUSSIA? ISRAEL? LEBANON? VENEZUELA? BOLIVIA? CUBA? THE MISSILE DEFENSE SHIELD IN EASTERN EUROPE? OUR DETERIORATING RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA, AFTER THE FOOLISH ATTACK ON SOUTH OSSETIA? WHAT ROLE DID RANDY SCHEUNEMAN HAVE IN LOBBYIST TIES TO GEORGIA? UNFORTUNATELY, MCCAIN'S PRESS CONFERENCE HAD 2 QUESTIONS, SO WE COULDN'T ASK HIM MUCH EITHER. SHOULDN'T SARAH BE HELPING MCCAIN GET OUT HIS MESSAGE ON "SECONDARY ISSUES,AT LEAST? NEVERMIND I'LL JUST VOTE DEM!

    September 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. Missy M

    Thank you CNN for being fair. People forget that Palin has given several very long interviews (the transcripts are online), there is a book out about her (it's available in bookstores) and most networks have exhaustively interviewed her friends, family and political enemies in the past few weeks. As well, most of Wasilla's and the state of Alaska's docuements and meeting transcripts are online – the information is out there. If people don't know about her, it's because they don't want to know. It's easier to complain that "she's hiding from the media" and believe half-truths then to actually read an article online.

    September 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. anyonmous

    debcate

    September 23, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. Nunya

    How laughable to 'notice' that Biden isn't holding press conferences. Biden has been a prominent public figure on the national scene for years. He has held many such conferences during that period. He has held many events during the last few weeks, whether they are technically 'press conferences' directly between him and reporters or other types of events.

    Palin, however, is new to the national scene. People naturally are more curious to find out more about her and how she handles herself, and it is not just idle curiosity. Those can be very important things to know before electing someone to high office.

    To compare the two situations as if they were two peas in a pod is simply ludicrous.

    September 23, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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