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Friday, April 23, 2021

Thursday: Biden on Perry, Cruz, Trump

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Biden Was Being Biden

Before an uncomfortably cajoling crowd of about a thousand, a hoarse, smiling Joe Biden returned to the debate stage to stay in the game at a place on Madison Avenue where he knows all the deep stuff that makes this site a favorite of political bachelors. In the crowd were two of his young-ish daughters, at one point leaning forward to put her hand on the steel curtain of a black minivan parked to the rear of the stage. But it wasn’t a contest — it was just a forum in which both he and the Republican candidate he hopes to face next fall, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, both seemed to be auditioning for their next role.

Mr. Biden accepted Mr. Cruz’s invitation to debate, promising that his campaign would participate if it could continue raising money. And there was nothing wrong with that. There was nothing wrong with either man putting on a hectic show for an audience that most likely had not studied the issues before them, nor with Mr. Biden spelling out his policy plan — which addressed none of the issues that might be of concern to most voters in the presidential election.

Mr. Biden was being Biden, following up a display of last-minute aggression (which won him few admirers) with a second act that, because it was less self-promotional, might be more effective and sustainable for his current campaign.

And at the conclusion of his hourlong appearance, he returned to the stage to answer three questions that, for reasons unclear to everyone, have been championed by Mr. Cruz’s supporters. That this came before Mr. Cruz was seated — and thus was pitched at an audience that knew Mr. Biden probably had nothing to gain by simply taking questions — was both a reminder of what a special guy he is and also of the reality that Mr. Cruz cannot compete with Mr. Biden in self-promotion or charm.

Ms. Pirro: Why Would You Write That Letter in Support of Donald Trump?

Ms. Pirro had one question for Mr. Biden, a question that she not surprisingly anticipated when he mentioned that he wanted to do some debate prep before the fall campaign begins.

Ms. Pirro, who was in the room along with hundreds of other apparent Republicans, wanted to know what Mr. Biden thought of an official letter from the campaign of Bernie Sanders that praised Mr. Trump.

“We cannot, the record shows, nominate a guy who is not an elected official,” Mr. Biden said, a statement that immediately became one of the truest reflections we’ve seen from a presidential candidate this week.

But Ms. Pirro and many of the rest in the audience did not see it that way. When Mr. Biden mentioned that he wanted to do some debate prep, they booed and hissed, some urging him to have a ball at the event. One boomed “Stupid” as if Mr. Biden were a moron.

Or they thought he was. Then Ms. Pirro played a clip from a Republican debate in February in which Mr. Trump said about Mr. Cruz’s father, “He was in the Kennedy assassination.”

Mr. Biden did not say much about this, but we don’t suppose he can do much about it, either. One could expect that it will not stick.

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