Joe Biden: Case study in how to blow an interview

Joe Biden: Case study in how to blow an interview

He was all over the map in an interview with NBC’s David Gregory:

Gregory: “Is it strong enough of a Republican Party for its nominee to beat this president?”

Joe Biden: “Oh absolutely, absolutely. It’s strong enough to beat both of us. Look, look – no matter what the circumstance, at the end of the day, the American people right now are – many of them are in real trouble – an even larger percentage have stagnant wages and a significant majority of the American people believe that the country is not moving in the right direction. That is never a good place to be going into reelection whether it’s your fault or not your fault. It’s almost sometimes irrelevant. … But what I’m counting on, I’m counting on, what I read out there, is the judgment of the American people to decide they know the hole we’re in, they know how far we’ve come out, they’re dissatisfied how fast we’re going, and they’re going to have to choose whether or not the path we have set the country on is the path that we should continue to go or we should go back to liberating the economy in the terms of…”

Good Grief.

Number one. He did not need to answer the question about the Republican Party’s strength.

Number two: Toward the end, before his voice trailed off, he portrayed the election as a referendum on “whether or not the path we have set the country on is the path that we should continue to go or we should go back to liberating the economy…”

Well, wasn’t that abundantly clear? Especially after he just acknowledged that most Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Number three: “whether it’s your fault or not…” In other words, it’s not my fault, even though we’ve been in office nearly three years and had control of both houses of Congress for the first two. When voters are in a nasty mood, they are very intolerant of the blame game.

There is a lesson in this for all those running for public office and all incumbents seeking reelection.

1. Have your message and your talking points in your head before you start the interview. Make sure they are crisp, concise, clear.

2. Don’t play blame games. Voters don’t want to hear it. They don’t care what your predecessor did wrong. They want to know what you are doing to make it right.

3. You don’t have to answer the question posed to you in the interview, and you are not required to allow the interviewer to lead you around by the nose. Use the question to get back to your talking points, and stay on message. (see #1).

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