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CNN’s Biden town hall meeting was a fraud

CNN’s Biden town hall meeting was a fraud

I watched the entire program that CNN misbilled as a “town hall meeting” featuring President Biden.  Before getting into why I called it a “fraud” in the headline, a few observations about Biden’s performance.

He was not bad.  He stood throughout the program without showing any signs of physical fatigue.  He did cough several times.  I wondered why host Anderson Cooper did not offer some water.  

Biden did have a few minor “senior moments.”  At one point when he was trying to find his train of thought, he looked down and muttered “where am I.”  Another time, Cooper had to finish the thought for Biden.  And there were other times when Biden appeared to be searching for the remainder of his thought.

He also performed what I call the “Biden ramble.”  At times he would ramble and never get to the question.  There were his evergreen references to the things he learned for his working class father, which did not seem to have a relevant point..  

Some of the Biden fans, say that these pauses and mental searches are because of his early life history as a stutterer.  I have followed Biden’s 47-year public career, and he did not have these telling pauses in the past.  They could be related to his earlier speech impediment but seem clearly to be manifest in his elderly years.

My major take-away, however, was CNN’s shameful naming the event a “town hall meeting” when it was essentially a partisan rally – at least by Biden standards. 

In a town hall meeting, one should expect that the audience is random and representative of the community.  The questions should be tough at times – covering all the hot topics of the day.  Maybe even follow up questions.  This was not that.

The audience was drawn exclusively from the “friends of Biden” invitation list.  We know that from the frequent outburst of applause — and occasional cheers as Biden answered questions.  As one might at a political rally, Biden stopped to “recognize” two Democrat senators in the audience.  They were Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both of Maryland.

This appeared as a pre-arranged set up.  I recalled that when Biden first appeared on stage, he had to shield his eyes with his hands to look out into the audience.  Strangely, he later glanced out into the audience and saw the two gentlemen – who were seated in the middle of the auditorium wearing masks.  To use one of Biden’s favorite expressions … “Come on, man.”

But that was not the only obvious staging.  Someone with CNN – or even with input from the White House – had to select the audience, the questioners and the questions.  That is a fair assumption because in a previous CNN “town hall meeting” one of the questioners admitted that the question he asked had been given to him verbatim.  And that is how most of the questions were presented – read from pieces of paper.

Then there was the matter of those pre-selected to ask questions.  Some questions came from Cooper – but most were from the audience.  The majority were Democrats – as identified by Cooper.  Some were independents.  Only two were said to be Republicans and they were late in the show.  And even then, they were not the kind of questions a partisan Republican is likely to ask.

Softballs.  All the questions were softballs.  I am a single mother.  What are you going to do for me?  I am caring for my elderly parents.  What are you going to do for me?  I am a student.  What are you going to do for me?  I am a teacher.  What are you going to do for me?

All the questioners – with the possible exception of the two Republicans – were asking questions that fit into Biden’s big bold legislative proposals.  All the answer could have been summarized in … “I will give you more money.”

Biden was asked why he had not yet visited the border … but not specifically what he was going to do about the record number of illegal border crossings.  He did mention asking the longshore workers and the truck drivers to work 24/7 to unload the containers to address the supply-chain disruption.  At the rate that container ships are unloaded – several days per ship – the Biden plan would eliminate the back log in three years instead of five. 

There were no tough questions.  Nothing about Afghanistan and terrorism.  Nothing about inflation. Nothing addressing the issues that have plunged Biden’s favorable rating into the 30 percentiles.

The was not a town hall meeting.  What CNN ran was a partisan Democrat dog-and-pony-show for the President.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan Tyree

    A fraud just like retard joe

  2. Frank stetson

    Partisan, I dunno. Softball, most certainly. It was a platform for Biden to pump his platforms, update his message. Halting, pausing, hey —- it’s both stuttering and age. I would rather a pause than a knee jerk lie. A reflection versus braggadocio boast of fiction. A halt versus some stupid name calling. Larry, I am not holding my nose; I respect the man for his principles and service to our nation. Judge him on the result, not the manner of delivery. And results are pretty hard right now. If he can’t get folks vaccinated, can’t get unvaccinated protocols in place, it’s gonna be a long winter. Thank God for the mandates he does have. And yes Dan, I know God loves a mandate. Even as the unvaccinated are burning out in about two months if the surge and either get it or go into hiding, once the dumb fucks that are left will re-emerge at the end of the surge, we will surge again.

    You didn’t mention that Biden loses his patience when he gets peppered with stupid baiting questions like the ones he get from Peter DoucheBag, son of a daddy douchebag from Fox. Just a little better than Dan’s stupid tirades here. There’s a way to answer these, but Biden constantly loses his patience and starts with the old, “come on man…“ And it goes downhill from there. That’s why he should never take the questions as he’s walking away from the stage, between concentrating on his walking and losing his patience, they never go well.

    My now passed FIL, and immigrant born in 1912 in Italy, had a similar issue. As he aged, his accent got thicker and thicker. Used to laugh as he would tease waitresses as we ate in the NJ diners. They would smile appropriately and as they left I would turn to him and say “you know they can’t understand a thing you’re saying.“ He would smile and say,,” But it makes me so happy to do it.” Joe pauses but he’s happy with it.

    Personally, I am pleased with most of the decisions so far, even leaving Afghan, I hope he gets a good part, but not all of this program through Congress, and then more importantly I hope it gets implemented to the benefit of all Americans. A rising tide will lift all boats and I hope our boats get lifted.

    We could use some good news.

    • Dan Tyree

      Nobody is burning out. We will be around to kick your commie asses in future elections And my tirades and always 100% right

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        Danny Boy, the odds are against you. Even if we get to 80% vaccinated, there are still going to be surges that go through and take another bite out of the unvaxxed. And who knows, the next variant could take a third or a half instead of 2%. As long as COVID is around, you’ve got a better-than-even chance of getting it. And if you suddenly disappear from these pages, we’ll know why. What I would rather see, is someday you sheepishly admit “I got the COVID, man, and it was rough… GET VACCINATED! You don’t want to go through what I did”. Or even better, tomorrow you go and get vaxxed and write here, “I decided to follow your advice… I don’t want to put my family and friends at risk anymore”.

    • larry Horist

      I do not rate my Presidents by party label — but unconservative principals. I also do not condemn or praise a President based on party label. I have been critical Trump — both personality and issues — and I have found reasons to praise President Obama when I thought he was doing the right thing in a situation. I had praise of President Clinton regarding some issues. Conversely I have often posed the question to Trump haters — asking then to point out what accomplishments they liked by Trump. Never got an answer. Maybe you can be the first. You criticize Dan for his name-calling — and so do I — but then you refer to Peter Doocy ad “Peter DouchiBag.” That does not gain you any points with me.

      And as far as your late-f-i-l, I have had to deal with people loosing it. There can be even a charming simplicity in some cases. But, I am sure you would not want your f-i-l to be President of the United States in those declining days. I am not suggesting that Biden is an extreme case, but I do believe it is fair to question whether he is up to doing the job with full energy and acuity. We know from Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt that staff and advisors can keep the ship floating after the Captain has left the wheelhouse. It seems to me that the side that says “nothing to see here” is the same side that was suggesting President Reagan was mentally compromised — and they were saying it during his first 1980 campaign. And we have seen a lot of armchair shrinks when it comes to Trump.

      At least we seem to agree that CNN created a “platform” for Biden to present his case without tough questions. I just do not believe that is the appropriate role for a so-called news organization.

  3. Arthur

    As your fellow opinion poster child for conservative values, Ticker Carlson, argues his points with questions. You should appreciate the question I have for you. So, what’s your real point?
    After following your consistent linguistics drenched in blood hate for all things democrat and especially Pres.Biden. Not any of your tirades has yet convinced me of anything other than your being an unredeemable hack blogger. In the same vein as the personalities on FOX only you are not hauling in the cash hand over fist.
    Fake News, so called by the right, is pure projection. You and that lot see the world through doom and disparate glasses.
    As a confirmed political independent and sworn advocate for critical thinking seeking out what is truth in all positions on the important issues. Sadly, your contributions have not rung true. I thought muckrakers did not flourish for long becoming stuck in intractable morass of politics past.
    Negativity rarely comes to any good long term.
    The Republican Party had parted ways with the truth and holds to individual freedom to do and say as the moment suits , with out regard for others being hurt by some exercise of right wing view on Freedom.
    Last Carlson/esque question for you. What are you so afraid of? Anger outlet in writing cathartic relief home public is misdirected and fruitless. Of this I’m experienced in understanding through seven decades plus of this life’s fastballs aimed at the gut. My impression is you have me by a decade.
    Like I was told by a coworker from the hills of Tennessee some 40 years back, “ I taught ya everything I know, still ya don’t know nothin’”.
    Still it’s about recognizing another’s expressing guilt by projection. In this instances, Biden’s and the Democrats are convenient whipping boys, so called.

    • larry Horist

      Arthur … you self-proclaim to be “a confirmed political independent and sworn advocate for critical thinking” and then write in a way that proves you are neither. in this particular reply, you seem to be a very narrow-minded individual who gets personal satisfaction out of irrelevant ad hominin attacks — in this case on me. I noticed that there was nothing intelligent or the apparent result of “critical thinking” in your comments. In fact, nothing even deals with the subject of my commentary — and where you might disagree. You offer not intelligent rebuttal. In fact, some of your comments were incoherent. Like … “Anger outlet in writing cathartic relief home public is misdirected and fruitless.” What the hell does that mean? I have never understood why some people derive satisfaction by offering nothing more than mendacious insults and negative generalizations. And what could be more ironic than your saying “Negativity rarely comes to any good long term” in the middle of a rant that is nothing but baseless negativity. You have a right to your opinions, but you do not have a concomitant right to be taken seriously.

  4. Frankstetson

    So there ‘tis.

    Judge a man by his deeds and words, not his delivery. I will take stutters and pauses all day against non stop never ending lies. Especially The Big Lie that is believed as truth by 70% of Larry’s Republican Party. Fix that first. Stop stealing the truth. Fix those living the vaccination lies; most of them reside in your party as well. Lies can kill.

    As Trump oils his way across the floor, truth hightailed it out the door.

  5. Frank Stetson

    Almost 2,000 die every day Danno, mostly unvaccinated. Some high risk vaccinated but unvaccinated have 11 times the risk.

    And they are mostly in Trump country. Maybe it’s God’s plan, but IMO, man’s free choice. .

  6. Joseph S. Bruder

    Leave it to Larry to play both sides of an issue… not wanting to criticize Biden right out of the gate, Larry says Biden’s performance was “not bad”… then lists off all the reasons he thinks it was.

    I don’t remember Trump taking ANY questions during his Nuremburg-style spectacles, but I do remember him shutting down a few press conferences because he got a question he didn’t like. Come to think of it, I don’t think Trump did ANY town-hall meetings.. He damn-sure didn’t have any programs to help people with day-to-day problems (unless you’re a multi-millionaire).

    And just what kind of questions do you expect from a town hall meeting? People are concerned about their families, and their futures. They want to know what the government will do to protect them, help them, make the economy better, help their children. That’s Biden’s thing, so of course, it’s softball questions for him. He’s got plans that address problems that affect normal people, after those issues have been ignored and/or blocked by Republicans for the last 20 years. Yes, it all requires money, and it still has to get past Congress, but at least Biden is working on something to help people.