* President Biden finally gave a press conference, and it was good enough. He’s not JFK, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama—but he’s also not George W. Bush or Donald Trump. He’s qualified for the job; he knows the issues; and he knows the players. But press conferences are unique forums—with overlapping agendas. The multi-tasking president must be well briefed and prioritized and able to pivot—from sending domestic and foreign messages to working the room full of journalists, some of whom preen while trying to max out on international face time. It’s partperformance art.
*Press conference outtakes: “A smart, smart guy” who “doesn’t have a democratic bone in his body.”–Biden on Chinese President Xi Jinping. “That’s my expectation.”–Biden on whether he plans to run again in 2024. “I have no idea whether there will be a Republican Party. Do you?–Biden on what the 2024 opposition could look like. “It’s sick. It’s sick.”–Biden on efforts by Republican State Legislatures to restrict voting rights. “That’s right, 200 million shots in 100 days.”–Biden in announcing that he would double his goal of 100 shots by his 100th day in office. “The next major initiative … is to rebuild the infrastructure, both physical and technological, so that we can compete and create significant numbers of really good paying jobs. … I (also) want to change the paradigm. We start to reward work, not just wealth.” Biden in underscoring plans to increase the tax burden on wealthy Americans to fund spending programs meant to help people who earn their money via wages. “The Secretary of Defense has just made available Fort Bliss-–5,000 beds be made easily available on the Texas border. We’re building back up the capacity that should have been maintained and built upon that Trump dismantled.”–Biden on providing for unaccompanied children.
* “Republican voters agree with what I’m doing.”–President Joe Biden, underscoring that at a gut level—excluding greed-heads and spineless, self-serving GOPster pols—hurting Republicans, as shown by polls, want to be helped too.
* White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was on “Fox News Sunday” recently to talk about the Administration’s infrastructure–and social-welfare-program spending. Good move; Chris Wallace isn’t Sean Hannity, and you don’t want to just preach to the converted. Plus polls, as noted above, continue to show Republican voters are hardly averse to stimulus help.
* The good news for Vice President Kamala Harris: She now has center stage for something very important. The flip side is that her charge is more than formidable. She will be leading the White House effort to rein in the migration surge at the Southern border and working with Central American nations—the “Northern Triangle” countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras—to address the root causes. Buena suerte, Sra. VP.
* “A Cuba policy shift is not currently among President Biden’s top priorities.”–That was White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Alas, Marco Rubio would agree.
* The Senate (52-48) voted to confirm Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health. The Biden appointee becomes the highest-ranking transgender official in U.S. history. (The two unsurprising, GOP crossovers: Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.)