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

Biden not holding press conferences, either

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. aware

    Well, Obama has told him to watch it at least twice! So, I guess he doesn't want to take the chance that Biden might actually tell the truth! 🙂

    September 23, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |

    Hnmm about time McCain comes out of hiding. He has been pimping Palin to do his dirty laundry. This makes me angry that he is using a skirt tail to promote his hidden agenda by putting a female face on it. Silly her for allowing the pimping to go on!!!!

    September 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. KofTX

    Joe Biden has been a U.S. Senator for 36 years...

    Sarah Palin has been before the national spotlight for about 15min.

    There Is A Difference.

    September 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. S. Boatman

    Joe Has Given Enough Interviews And The People Know Where He Stands! Spit And Run Palin Have One Interview And Failed Miserably! Thats Why They Wont Let Her Do Anymore! The Only Thing She Could Talk Intelligently About Is How To Dress A Moose And Cook Moose Tail Soup!

    September 23, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. maynard hopkins wi

    neither candidate should give interviews, it would be detrimental to them... the way the press and mediators find everthing negative about what is said... the news media and mediators should all be banned from all politcal gatherings

    people will learn the facts at the debates then we can all watch the mediators and the news media have a frenzy about what was said.

    September 23, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Former Dem voting McCain

    The only reason why you all don't know a thing about Palin is that you don't know how to read.

    At least, anything besides the Huffington Post.

    September 23, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. We Get It In California

    I'm a young person, and my friends and I couldn't care less about JMac's POW experience. We would if he didn't use it for political gain. We're not stupid and if he doesn't care about tarnishing his past, why should we care about honoring it?

    I'm a new adult (3 months now), and I can't understand why John is running? He clearly doesn't like Americans or the Government. He should be in charge of a failing Fortune 500 company or something. At least he could walk away with a huge severance payment, like the rest of his buddies.

    I'm for Barack because he's for the people, even newly adults, like me and my friends. We’re voting for him on 11/4/08, and then we’re going to ride the waves. Hopefully by the time we get back, Barack will have won.

    September 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Reese from NC

    Can you be more idiotic CNN. There is a difference between avoiding the press all together and not having press conferences. Biden has not stopped press access. He answeres questions when they are asked. He does not have a campaign standing guard at his door saying no questions allowed. Biden has made an issue of press access not simple press conferences. There is more than one way to have interaction with the press you know. It is obsurd. It is infuriating how the you keep playing up to the McCain/Palin campaign game. You have listened to their talking points for so long that you have started to repeat them as if they were fact.
    Grow a Pair CNN.

    September 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Matt

    You do realize that tomorrow morning we will hear all about Biden's lack of press availability from the McCain camp. Yay. Way to feed the beast CNN...when it shoudl be eating its own tail from all the lying it's been doing. Perhaps you'd like to simply skip doing factchecks from now on as well? I mean, this is blatantly an unrealistic attempt to look balanced and skipping the factchecks would make that sooo much easier if you did that as well.

    September 23, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. EDW

    One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager from the end of 2005 through last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement. The disclosure contradicts a statement Sunday night by Mr. McCain that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years. Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

    September 23, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Sarah Who?

    Are you serious? Biden has done more interviews in his entire career than Barack has done in this entire campaign. CNN, get a clue–we already KNOW Joe Biden. We DON'T KNOW Sarah.

    Please post somthing intelligent because this post is not it.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. B

    Senator McCain was pretty clear that he was part of the financial meltdown when Bernanke blew the horn in Jerusalem.

    Hopefully, McCain,72, will retire now .

    September 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. Get Real

    The liberal media is just upset because they didn't get to vet Palin before she was put on the McCain ticket. Now the liberal media is resorting to despicable and outrageous personal attacks on the Palin family.

    September 23, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. The Truth About Sarah

    She's a puppet. End of story.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 23, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  15. Peachy Keen

    Writing speeches!?!? Suuure, Sarah is writing her own speeches. LOL. Come on, how stupid do these McCain people think the American public is?

    September 23, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. RyanD.


    Stop CNN.

    90 interviews > 3 interviews and no press conferences.

    September 23, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. Amy

    The difference is Biden has a wealth of experience, and the Obama/Biden campaign doesn't require that he be treated with deference either!

    September 23, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Karey

    Where is the outrage from the Media and the American Public that we can only see photos and hear speeches from Palin, but no one can question her??? What kind of idiot votes for a Vice President who won't answer any questions until they have been told what to say by the Bush/McCain staff????? If she is so great (as McCain claims) – let HER prove it!!
    Karey – Mpls, MN

    September 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. Tim

    And Obama went a year and a half without giving interviews, then when he fell behind, he all of a sudden found the need for the press.

    Who cares, the press doesn't serve a useful purpose anymore.

    September 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. Matt

    Hey Nightingale, here are your answers:

    a. Most of the time, they are called criminals. Those without a job or below the tax line, we'd usually call unemployed and blame the Republicans, because that's the truth.

    b. Who is this Hussein? The candidate is Barack Obama. His middle name is Hussein, but that would be like calling you Bob, right Billy?

    c. Right, and McCain never has "senior moments." Perhaps we shoud refer back to a week ago when he decided the fundamentals of the economy were sound.

    d. Infantile.

    As for PUMA, that's just a Republican fed outfit. Perhaps a few of the members were legit, but we all know it for what it is now. You can drop the charade.

    September 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Leslie, PA



    September 23, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Amy

    It's too bad that Palin isn't secure enough to agree to a free flowing debate with Biden.

    September 23, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Ann Romero

    America wake up, neither party will fend for the American Hard working people, we put money in our 401k's to save for retirement and they want to tax us to death to bail out the riches people on wall street. They don't care about the dreams we have for our children or our future retirement, they want us to work until we are 80 funding the government.

    I say no retirement no taxes no work. Lets go to their houses and demand a place to stay, eat from their tables and drink their wine. This country is not the great America which we thought we all love. We live in the land of the rich and greedy.

    September 23, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. sue

    How could you even compare the two...first o all, you all had no interest to speak with him, since barbie doll came on the scene...second, everybody knows what is on Joe Bidens mind & we also know his beliefs.
    The media have been made to look like a joke–they have allowed themselves to be the mccains puppet-what ever happened to real journalist? Where oh where are the Edward R. Morrows of the world-this is when we need you most.

    September 23, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. Matt

    Can't wait to see this in a tv ad by the McCain campaign: "Joe Biden refuses press access...what is he hiding?"


    September 23, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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