The Brady Room Rater

joe biden press
Since taking office, and especially during the campaign, the Biden press team had largely succeeded in making any scrutiny around the principal’s age taboo. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
July 3, 2024

On Tuesday, amid an onslaught of questions from the White House press corps about President Biden’s mental fitness, his acuity, and whether he suffers from “any form of dementia,” CNN correspondent M.J. Lee asked press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre if the administration would release more comprehensive medical records for the incumbent. “You’ve said a couple of times now that the White House has provided thorough medical records for the president,” Lee said. “I’m not sure that was a full account, necessarily.” Biden’s doctor had described him as “a healthy, active, robust 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” But, noted Lee, “I think that is clearly not what the majority of Americans are seeing.” Predictably, Jean-Pierre countered that the medical records the administration had already released were, in fact, very comprehensive.

Inside CNN, I’m told, the network’s White House team had determined that it would use its allotted time at every briefing for the foreseeable future to press the administration for more official documentation on Biden’s health—and, indeed, Lee followed up with the same question at the briefing today. Presumably, every news organization with a seat in the Brady Briefing Room has established its own variation on the theme—the angle by which it hopes to break the dam of Jean-Pierre’s calm and collected filibuster and advance, however incrementally, what is obviously the only story on the beat right now. For Biden campaign reporters, of course, the line of questioning has a more tactical insinuation: What is the fate of his reelection effort, and will he be at the top of the ticket come Chicago, or even next week? In either case, it’s clear the Biden press corps has the bit between its teeth.