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The Old Man & The Scene

joe biden
The last week has been filled with pearl-clutching in the wake of the Hur report, Biden’s uncomfortable response to Peter Doocy, and the surrogates who subsequently flooded the cable airwaves. Mandel NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
February 15, 2024

Washington is rarely known for its profiles in courage. Instead, it’s a place, as the old saw goes, where a political gaffe is that rare example of a politician telling the truth. Anyway, you know where this is going… The last week has been filled with pearl-clutching in the wake of the Hur report, Biden’s uncomfortable response to Peter Doocy in the Brady Room, and the flotilla of surrogates, as my Puck partner Dylan Byers recently noted, who subsequently flooded the cable airwaves to defend their boss or mentor or old friend with familiar tropes. The White House spent the weekend in overdrive, pushing stories about Biden chewing out his staff over immigration, cursing about Hur to lawmakers, and calling Benjamin Netanyahu an asshole.  

And then, on Monday evening, The Daily Show’s newly reinstated host Jon Stewart said the quiet part out loud. In an eight-minute segment, Stewart carefully lanced the narrative of the 81-year-old president as secretly spry, focused, and in-control behind the scenes. If Biden was so privately energetic, Stewart asked, why didn’t the Democrats release that video. Yes, sure, Trump is a horrific danger, but was Biden really the only option?