Biden Live Press Conference No Malarkey For ElectionLine Podcast; Clooney & Cracks In The Donor Dam

Biden Live Press Conference No Malarkey For ElectionLine Podcast; Clooney & Cracks In The Donor Dam

Editor’s note: Running until the final general election results come in & no matter who is at the top of either ticket, the Deadline ElectionLine podcast spotlights the 2024 campaign and the blurred lines between politics and entertainment in modern America. Hosted by Deadline’s political editor Ted Johnson and executive editor Dominic Patten, the podcast features commentary and interviews with top lawmakers and entertainment figures. At the same time, you can follow all the news in what is still the Biden & Trump rematch and more on the ElectionLine hub on Deadline.

Let’s agree on one thing, the Joe Biden of July 11 taking questions from the media at the end of the NATO Summit seemed a very long way from the Joe Biden of the debate debacle of June 27 against Donald Trump.

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As we discuss on the Deadline ElectionLine podcast today after the president’s hourlong press conference, that might be both a good and a not so good thing.

“This is not someone who’s going to move out of the nomination race, or out of the nomination, simply because there’s a pile of paper of polling in front of him from frontline Democrats in the House shows him dipping five to 10 points,” CBS News’ chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa says of Joe Biden the dogged street fighter on today’s podcast – as you can hear above.

As calls for the 81-year-old nominee to step aside can be heard from various quarters, Costa adds that Biden likely wouldn’t leave “even if President Obama came to see him, Secretary Clinton and President Clinton and said, ‘Joe, it’s over,’ the CBS Sunday Morning contributor added. “This is not August 1974, when Barry Goldwater and other senators came to Nixon.”

Robert Costa, Chief election and campaign correspondent for CBS News (Photo by Mary Kouw/CBS via Getty Images)

At his press conference on Thursday, Biden countered his debate showing to some extent by delivering substantive answers to complex foreign policy situations, including the war in Ukraine and the potential cease fire in Gaza.

He did make one significant gaffe though, referring to Kamala Harris as “Vice President Trump” right near the top of the event. The slip of the tongue made a lot of headlines and social media posts and may have overwhelmed what else Biden had to say. Still, Biden laughed it off and took a departing swipe at Trump mocking him on social media as the presser ended.

In his speech before taking questions, Biden boasted of his ability to strengthen NATO, resist Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, took some swings at his predecessor, touched on the situation in the Middle East and praised his own economic record. As a campaign speech it was muscular, even for Biden’s usual teleprompter enhanced delivery.

It was a strong speech, but it almost didn’t matter what the president said.

In fact, emphasizing his reliance on piece of paper in his hand, Biden seemed to stumble at the start of the press conference when he said he “had a list of reporters to call on.” That was followed by the mixing of Trump and Harris’ names, drawing blood as the major headline of the night.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Back from a trip to New Hampshire, Costa put forward a question of his own on today’s podcast: How much of this matters to voters?” His answers may surprise you.

An impossible task by any measure, the highly anticipated and much delayed press conference was Biden’s first significant unscripted turn in front of the media. With the stupor of the CNN debate last month and a very uncertain fortnight since, the Q&A was seen as a pivotal junction for Biden’s presidency and stagnant re-election campaign — which it was, kind of.

Still, when it was all said and done, POTUS’ improved performance didn’t stop one top Democrat, Jim Himes, from being the latest to call for him to exit the race right after the primetime press conference concluded. Within minutes, pundits and political operatives were starting to shift from how Biden did to predicting a presidential downfall again with many focusing on ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama as holding the future of Biden’s time in office.

George Clooney‘s bombshell New York Times op-ed this week was the latest sign that many in Hollywood are abandoning Biden.

While the president certainly has drawn heavy support from the industry in 2020 and 2024, Biden has not had the same ties to the industry that two of his Democratic predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, had. Even with Jeffrey Katzenberg in a senior campaign role, the unraveling of Biden’s ties to Hollywood are undeniable after Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof was the first to say the quiet thing out loud and prove the original crack in the Tinseltown donor dam, with his guest column in Deadline on July 3.

Mock Hollywood all you like, but the calls by Lindelof, Clooney, Rob Reiner, Reed Hastings and Abigail Disney matter. Why? As they used to say, it’s all about the Benjamins. 

Donor money talks and more, stick with ElectionLine all the way through to Election Day itself: Subscribe to the Deadline ElectionLine podcast on Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart, and all podcast platforms.