Rare lucid and coherent moment for Biden on ’60 Minutes’


Stop the presses. Hold the phone. Reboot the Internet.

Joe Biden gave a reporter an interview. For the first time in 223 days.

And here’s the deal: He was fine. He didn’t say anything he didn’t want to say, he didn’t embarrass himself, he didn’t step on any land mines. He wasn’t exactly commanding, but he was comfortable.

Maybe it’s a low bar to say he didn’t seem senile in his exchanges with Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” — but he didn’t, and that’s not nothing for the guy, considering the way he seemed during the first half of this year at least.

Even he seemed to acknowledge this was a matter that was on the minds of people when he told the American people to “watch me if you think I don’t have the energy level or the mental acuity.”

Even the most complicated and confusing moment was defensible on its own terms. 

The president said Americans would directly be involved in fighting in Taiwan should the Chinese invade the island — a view his own administration later called “60 Minutes” to “clarify” by saying American policy hadn’t changed.

Joe Biden and Scott Pelley.
President Biden walks around with Scott Pelley.
CBS News

The lack of clarity here has the virtue of advancing our strategic ambiguity about how we would respond to Chinese aggression — an ambiguity that might well be useful in confusing China and staying its hand without causing an out-and-out confrontation between our two countries.

So this raises the question: Why doesn’t he give more of these interviews? If he’s fine every day the way he was fine here, what’s the problem?

Or is that precisely the problem? Is Biden’s daily “energy level and mental acuity” such that he can only summon up the focus and the resources to get through one of these conversations every 223 days or so?

Joe Biden.
Scott Pelley mused about President Biden that “maybe there’s something to be said for know-how.”
CBS News

He chose well for his first interviewer since February. Scott Pelley started out respectful and then, by degrees, started to resemble a lapdog. 

In a voice-over, as he and Biden walked around the Oval Office, Pelley mused that Biden has been around for so long, his recent legislative successes suggest “maybe there’s something to be said for know-how.”

Biden’s own press people couldn’t have said it better themselves. 

Joe Biden.
President Biden’s “energy level and mental acuity” has been under question while in office.
CBS News

Bravo, Scott Pelley!

One reason such interviews are valuable, despite themselves at times, is that they provide a sense of how politicians like Biden deal with the bad hands they have to play.

Asked about inflation, which is running at more than 8% annually and the worst rate in four decades, Biden declared that “month to month [it] was just up an inch . . . you’re acting like all of a sudden it was up to 8.2.” 

Look, the guy has very little he can say to offer a positive case for his handling of inflation, but he has.


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