- Wednesday, February 28, 2024

At age 81, President Biden has developed a rather troubling addiction to notecards, aka cheat sheets.

The commander in script has taken to dragging these crib sheets along to exclusive, no-press shindigs with Democratic donors. The cards instruct the most powerful man in the world where to sit and what to do right down to the smallest detail — and even give him answers to easily answered questions.

While it’s cute for a regular old guy, some who attend those high-powered campaign fundraisers are whispering that Mr. Biden clings to those paper prompts like a lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” His addiction is stirring some concern about whether Scranton Joe really knows his policy potatoes or if he’s simply reciting the specials off the cue cards.

“Biden’s cheat sheets at fundraisers worry donors,” Axios wrote last week. The liberal political website notes that at events, Mr. Biden calls on screened donors and then consults his notes to provide detailed answers to their questions.

“Why it matters: Biden’s reliance on notecards to help explain his own policy positions — on questions he knows are coming — is raising concerns among some donors about Biden’s age,” Axios reported. Well, duh.

“The staged Q&A sessions have left some donors wondering whether Biden can withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign, let alone potential debates with former President Trump, 77,” the site wrote.

Of course he can’t. Mr. Biden got away with hiding in the basement of his mansion through the 2020 campaign, but he won’t be able to get away with that strategy this time around.

For the record, Axios’ real mission was to say that Mr. Biden — who often appears unable to put together a coherent sentence and falls down a lot — is really all there. “Certain donors,” the site said, “have been impressed.”

“He’s always been an extemporaneous speaker, and he spoke off-the-cuff. Not scripted at all,” Fred P. Hochberg, a donor who attended a fundraiser in Manhattan earlier this month, told Axios.


Ah, but we all know Mr. Biden is highly scripted — when his handlers even allow him to appear at all. His team famously nixed his appearance at the year’s Super Bowl, which is the most softball interview a president can sit for and reaches 125 million Americans. You watch: Mr. Biden will soon refuse to debate the presumed GOP nominee, former President Donald Trump, who was known to hold his own in 90-minute press conferences with an adversarial media.

Mr. Biden’s love of cheat sheets is long documented. Last April, White House photographers snapped a photo of a notecard in his hands at a press conference that showed he had advance knowledge of a question from a reporter. And in June 2022, Mr. Biden was caught clutching a cheat sheet that laid out extremely detailed instructions: “YOU enter the Roosevelt Room and say hello to participants. YOU take YOUR seat.”


In one news conference last year, Mr. Biden had a list of pre-approved (friendly) reporters on whom to call written down on a little piece of paper. But his handlers had also armed him with even more: cheat sheets. And Mr. Biden is so out of it that at several points, he held the cards up so photographers could snap pictures of them.

One card said “Tough Putin Q&A: Talking Points.”

“1. If you weren’t advocating for regime change, what did you mean? Can you clarify?” the sheet said.

Of course, the White House press office correctly picked the first question reporters would ask. And then they gave Mr. Biden the answer on the cheat sheet. The answer:

• “I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the actions of this man.”

• “I was not articulating a change in policy.”

Oof. Mr. Biden’s handlers know he can’t handle answering questions at pressers, and now they’ve gone so far as to pack him little cheat sheets for private meetings with donors when the press is locked out.

It is as special counsel Robert Hur said last month. He found that Mr. Biden was irresponsible in handling classified documents but decided he couldn’t charge the doddering old man. Why not?

“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Mr. Hur wrote.

No cheat sheet will get him out of that one.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on X @josephcurl.

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