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. KATHLEEN

    McCain has not held Press Conferences because it would show
    people that his lies are all that he has to offer the American People.

    Go to Huffington Post and read THE SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi
    Klein, then click Link to Newt Gindrich, just to SEE for yourself what
    is happening to our Country.

    This "bailout" is only a "band aid"! Banks have transferred their money
    overseas. Read and get educated instead of fighting over Palin's
    lies. Yes, it has already been established, Palin lies. So does McWar.
    GET EDUCATED on what the REAL ISSUES ARE. WE are very close
    to losing our COUNTRY!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA BIDEN 2008

    And, I think Bill Clinton turned Republican on us!!!!

    September 23, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. VP

    So, Palin will not give press conferences and Biden hasn't given one in 2 weeks.

    Your point?

    September 23, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. Former Dem voting McCain

    Biden's an idiot. Read this:

    In gaffe, Biden says FDR led when market crashed

    WASHINGTON — Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says today's leaders should take a lesson from the history books and follow fellow Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to a financial crisis.

    "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened,'" Barack Obama's running mate recently told the "CBS Evening News."

    Except, Republican Herbert Hoover was in office when the stock market crashed in October 1929. There also was no television at the time; TV wasn't introduced to the public until a decade later, at the 1939 World's Fair.

    FDR was elected three years later when voters denied Hoover a second term. The Democratic challenger appealed to the "forgotten man" by promising a "new deal" to solve the Depression era.

    Democrats usually like to remind the public that a Republican was president during the 1929 stock market crash. During the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry's campaign repeatedly cited Hoover as the last president until George W. Bush to oversee a loss of jobs during his time in office.

    Biden was commenting on the stock market crash when he said leaders should explain the current economic crisis and how to solve it to the public.

    "Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence, is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people ... this is how we can fix this," Biden said.

    September 23, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. KG

    Joe, best thing you can do is to keep your mouth shut. If nothing else, but to keep from inadvertantly blurting out that your Presidential candidate has no experience; has ties with felons, radicals, and terrorists which he refuses to explain; has a tax plan that is guaranteed to wreck the economy; and who, when it came his chance to take a stand on an issue through his votes as a senator, simply voted "present" 70% of time.

    September 23, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. Renee

    Who says we know everything about Biden? I don't. I know he got very few votes in the primaries, said that Hillary would probably have been a better VP candidate, said that the Obama ad accusing McCain of not being able to use a computer was "terrible", and that Obama has had to reprimand him twice in the past couple of days about shooting off his mouth.

    Just read a comment by an Obama supporter asking CNN "not to bend over backward being fair". Now THAT is what is scary! Win at any cost, will you? And you're afraid of Sarah Palin and what we DON'T know about her? Well I know enough about YOU! You actually ask CNN not to be FAIR???????? I think that pretty much says it all.

    September 23, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. Courtney H

    This is a really bad case of false equivalency.

    Biden hasn't stopped talking and answering questions long enough to hold a press conference. The guy has probably answered more questions from both the press and voters than anyone over the past few weeks. When else would he be able to give the small gaffes he gets called on on a daily basis. Good thing no one pays Biden any attention at all.

    Hopefully, he will be much more useful in an Obama White House, getting legislation through Congress. That and his foreign policy experience should be helpful in actual governance. Can't say the same about Palin, but then again, no one can say either way since she is in witness protection.

    September 23, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Shannon

    We know Biden. We dont know Sarah Palin. Thats a dumb question....

    September 23, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. Last Honest Man

    Let see.....Joe Biden has asked a cripple to stand up and take a bow.
    He said FDR new what to do when the Great Depression occurred
    even though he wasn't President ......AND.....he said FDR went on TV to talk to the American people.....even though TV had not been invented
    for another DECADE. WHO ARE THE DEMMES calling OLD and senile???????

    September 23, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  9. Dax

    The PUMAs need to come out and say we are sexist organization who will only vote based on anatomy. To Hell with issues and anything Hillary stood for! I a PUMA too.

    September 23, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. Trang, Fremont, CA

    The implication of this article is amazing. Joe Biden is out there, speaking to people. He is accessible. He speaks his mind, although at times, say something that is awkward for the campaign to handle. However, he speaks the truth, and Obama accepts this knowing his tendency to make gaffes because he sees many other greater qualities in Joe Biden. I love both of them.

    Sarah Palin, on the other hand, once discovered she lied about the 'Bridge to Nowhere' still continue to lie to the public unashamedly w/ this 'Thanks, but no thanks.' The campaign protect her from interviews, and we remain clueless about her, and she fills no small position – it's a VP post, a heartbeat from the presidency.

    We all make mistakes, but we can learn from mistakes and improve. Sarah, once found out that she lied to the people, still continue to lie to the people, and proud of it.

    Joe Biden, yes, he did plagiarized, but he apolized and said it was a dumb thing to do. Joe Biden did vote for the war, but he expressed remorse knowing what he knows now. That's why we love Joe Biden. Nobody is perfect. He makes mistakes, he apologized, and he improves. Nobody expect perfection. None of us are. But we want them to be truthful when they talk to us.

    September 23, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  11. Bill, MA.

    The republicans have failed again. When republicans get into power Americans suffer. Big business is allowed to rape the nation in every way imaginal. Do we need Obama, or Biden to tell us what anyone can see? The people are the country, and Bush, McCain, and other republican sleaze have done nothing to put the people first. The news media is just feathering their nest with hours of useless news. It's time to sweep out the dirt, and start anew.

    September 23, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Scott Tucson

    If the Obama camp were to let Ol Joe Biden talk at every turn, besdies being boring, he's sure to put his foot in his mouth as he often does. Guess the two only have one telepromter and it belongs to Obama.

    September 23, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. Annie

    We've all seen Joe Biden for weeks now talking all by himself on news shows, morning shows, etc. without note cards. Does anyone (especially women) find this whole situation profoundly sad. John McCain is once again using a woman who may not fare well in this farce to achieve his goal. Would he sell his soul, too?

    September 23, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  14. Cindy

    Oh puleeze.. Wasn't Biden recently on Meet the Press? Do shows like this not count for anything?

    September 23, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. John Smith

    What does McCain like about Sara Palin? Her LEGS. But there is really nothing under those legs!!!

    September 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. Texas

    What about the interview last Thursday with Katie Couric that was aired last night? Did you guys forget about that? All the media is focussed on is Palin as VP. I don't see CNN interviewing him for the last few weeks except on "Revealing the VPs". This is amazing how the Democrats can't get a break from CNN. At the end, to point out. How about tell everyone there is a "black-out" for Palin for interviews and also the Alaskan government is frustrated they can't talk to their Governor. Only McCain's staff and his lawyers can. Let's be fair here.

    September 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. Ann Canas

    CNN's John King's attempts to defend the manipulative and transparent shielding of Sarah Palin from reporters and the press corp literally since her selection, are altogether asinine and insulting to anyone with an atom of intelligence and discernment. Ironically that would seem to exclude Palin and include King himself...hopefully.

    If his rightist leanings are so compelling, surely Mr. King can fashion more cogent arguments which do not make him appear a lame-witted GOP strategist instead of a national news reporter.

    September 23, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. Noemi in Los Angeles

    Latinos love JOE!!

    September 23, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. Independent, white female !

    you could not pay me to vote for someone who is hiding from the press! not a republican or a democrat! most independents like myself depend on, on the spot interviews, Q & A sessions and that sort of thing to determine if the person deserves our votes. Palin has shown me that she is clueless and that is the reason why Mccain and his advisors are keeping her away from the press. The fact is, she does not know enough and they expect us to vote for her as VP and possibly as president? no way, no Mccain, no Palin....Obama got my vote!

    September 23, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. Scott

    What, is the Obama campaign afraid of another Biden "blunder" such as his comment about the attack ad on John McCain's ability to use computer technology? I don't hear the media being critical of Senator Biden's lack of press conferences but then again, CNN is the official press secretary of the Obama campaign. So much for the media being fair or equal.

    September 23, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  21. David

    Two weeks??!! Oh yeah, he's really avoiding the press, isn't he?

    How long's it been for McCain? Forty-something days? How long for Palin? Never?

    Of course, Obama has had at least two in the past week, so there's no denying who the President here is.

    September 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. VP - North Carolina

    There are people screaming about sexism in this campaign. Well I want them all to take a step back, wipe their eyes and realize that McCain's campaign is extremely sexist. They will not let Palin talk unless they give the say so... sounds like a bit of control and not having any trust in her. Don't dress her up and put her out there bit keep a hands off and no questions allowed approach and say others are being sexist towards her... McCain's campaign is the #1 culprit! Heck Campbell Brown challenged the campaign to stop all the nonsense and let her talk to the press!

    The self proclaimed pit bull should be up for any challenge! She already said she is ready to be VP... Americans are saying PROVE IT!!!!!

    September 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. GT in CA

    This Republican has had enough and voting for Obama this year!

    September 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. AndrewK

    Well, you see, Biden isn't doing any press conferences because he's too busy interacting with the actual electorate. Palin should be doing a press conference because she's at the UN interacting with dignitaries and the electorate deserves to know why she's there, what her intentions and are, and to have her answer those questions themselves. We really are comparing apples and oranges here.

    I think there is a basic expectation that in the 21st century the candidate for VP should be able to interact with the media. It's frightening that people find Sarah's media blackout to be a good thing.

    September 23, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. We luv ya' Joe!

    Just remember that, OK? This is going to be one dirty campaign, for sure.

    September 23, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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