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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden refuses to apologize for calling a voter a “damn liar.” But he regrets challenging the 83-year-old retired farmer to a push-ups contest after he was told he was “too old” to be president.
“I probably shouldn’t have challenged him to pushups,” Biden told reporters when asked about the run-in.
But the controversy over his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine appears to be growing — largely because Biden isn’t addressing the issue.
So far, Biden has demonstrated two ways to handle questions about Hunter: “denial and anger,” according to Politico. Any neophyte political consultant could tell him that’s not the way to get the issue to go away.
But Biden is ignoring the problem and it’s beginning to concern voters.
“He needs to be prepared to answer questions about it. And I don’t think he is. I don’t think he’s come up with an answer,” she said. “Loving his kid to death and not doing anything wrong is not an answer. And I, as someone who thinks he’s a really decent human being, when I first started hearing about the Hunter connection, it bothered me. I wanted an answer because it doesn’t look good. It’s a bad perception.”
Democratic voter Ann Gibny said she didn’t like Biden’s exchange and said he should explain more about Hunter.
“He shouldn’t act like Trump. We don’t need that,” she said. “I don’t like what Trump is doing at all [concerning his unproven claims about Hunter Biden and Ukraine], but some people have real questions about this and he needs to respect that.”
What usually begins as whispers can quickly become audible questions. Unlike Biden and most Democrats, voters think that “asking questions” isn’t akin to spinning a conspiracy theory. They believe it’s a perfectly legitimate and responsible thing to do.
But Biden seems to think he’s addressed the issue thoroughly enough.
“Hunter Biden spoke publicly about it,” Joe Biden said. “He said that in retrospect if he had thought about what was going to happen — how it was going to be handled by Giuliani and company — he wouldn’t have done it. Nothing he did [was] wrong. The appearance looked bad. And he acknowledged it. And that’s it. That’s all I’m going to talk about.”
Asked if he shared his son’s view about how “the appearance looked bad,” Biden wouldn’t say.
“I’m not going to comment on anything other than that my son speaks for himself. He’s a 47-year-old man,” Biden said. “He didn’t do a single thing that was illegal or wrong. He didn’t like the way it appeared.”
Just a misunderstanding. It only “looks” like influence peddling.
Biden is not trying to make political hay out of the confrontation with the voter, which is puzzling.
Political pros were scratching their heads at the missed opportunity.
“Voters are desperate for honest, authentic candidates and Biden had a highly visible honest, authentic moment,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist, who was surprised the campaign didn’t do more.
“Not talking about the moment doesn’t magically make it go away,” Wilson said. “When the campaign gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade.”
Biden is going to keep holding town halls where the questions — even from friendly Democrats — will continue to be asked. This doesn’t mean that the media is suddenly going to discover the story and start giving it the attention it deserves. But it means that voters are watching and listening and will continue to try to get some accountability from the former vice president.