Fact-checking Biden’s high-stakes ABC interview | CNN Politics (2024)

Fact-checking Biden’s high-stakes ABC interview | CNN Politics (1)

President Joe Biden speaks during an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in Madison, Wisconsin, on July 5.

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President Joe Biden sat down with ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos fora high-stakes interviewon Friday, the week after a poor debate performance prompted questions about his fitness for the presidency and calls for him to withdraw from the 2024 race.

Here is a fact check of some of Biden’s claims in the interview.

New York Times polling

Biden claimed that “the New York Times had me down 10 points before the debate, nine now, or whatever the hell it is.”

Facts First:Biden’s claim that he gained a point in New York Times polling after the debate is false. In fact, the Times’ post-debate poll, conducted with Siena College,showed Biden doing three points worseagainst former President Donald Trump than he had done in thefinal Times/Siena poll before the debate.

Biden’s specific numbers were also wrong. He was not “down 10 points before the debate” in Times/Siena polling. In fact, he was down three percentage points with likely voters and six percentage points with registered voters. In the Times/Siena poll after the debate, those margins grew to six percentage points with likely voters and nine percentage points with registered voters.

Biden did acknowledge his uncertainty about the data when he said “or whatever the hell it is.” But he was wrong, nonetheless.

Sen. Mark Warner and the presidency

When Stephanopoulos noted aFriday report in The Washington Postthat said Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is trying to put together a group of fellow Democratic senators to ask Biden to withdraw from the election, Biden responded, “Well, Mark is a good man. We’ve never had that – he also tried to get the nomination too. Mark’s not – Mark and I have a different perspective. I respect him.”

Facts First:Biden’s claim that “he also tried to get the nomination too” needs context. Warner has never run for the Democratic presidential nomination. He didmake extensive preparationsfor a possible run for the 2008 nomination, including hiring staff and raising millions for a political action committee, but heannounced in October 2006that he had decided not to launch a campaign after all. And he has not sought the nomination since then.

Biden did run in that 2008 presidential primary, which was won by Barack Obama.

Trump and bleach

Biden repeated his familiar claim that Trump “is a guy who told us to put bleach in our arms to deal with Covid.”

Facts First:Biden’s claim is misleading. Trump never portrayed his ill-informed and widely denounced musings about using disinfectants to address Covid-19 as advice to Americans. Rather, Trump was talking about the possibility of scientists conducting tests of this idea.

Trump made his remarks, at apress briefing in April 2020after BillBryan, the acting undersecretary of science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, outlined tests in which he said sunlight or disinfectants likebleachand isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the coronavirus on surfaces and in saliva.

When Trump jumped shortly afterward to the dangerous idea of injecting disinfectants inside people’s bodies, he said: “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So we’ll see.”

Trump’s comments wereslammed by medical expertsas highly dangerous, and they prompted urgentwarningsfrom public health authorities and companies that sell household disinfectants. But he never actually said he was suggesting citizens go and use such products.

Trump and jobs

Biden repeated another one of his regular campaign claims about his Republican opponent, saying Trump was the only president other than Herbert Hoover “who lost more jobs than he created.”

Facts First:This is true, but Biden left out some important context. While there was aloss of about2.7millionjobsfrom the beginning of Trump’s four-year term to the end, there was a gain of about 6.7 million jobs until the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country about three years into that term.

Nearly 22 million jobs were lost under Trump in March 2020 and April 2020 when the global economy cratered on account of the pandemic. The US then started regaining jobs immediately, adding more than 12 million from May 2020 through December 2020, but not enough to make up the massive early-pandemic losses.

Fact-checking Biden’s high-stakes ABC interview | CNN Politics (2024)
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