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This is Totally Normal Quote of the Day, a feature highlighting a statement from the news that exemplifies just how extremely normal everything has become.

“Right after I was elected, I went to what they call a G7 meeting, all the NATO leaders. And it was in the South of England. And I sat down and I said, ‘America is back.’ And Mitterrand, from Germany—I mean, from France—looked at me and said, ‘How long you back for?’ ” —‍President Joe Biden in Las Vegas on Feb. 4

“And then Helmut Kohl turned to me and said, ‘What would you say, Mr. President, if you picked up the London Times and learned that 1,000 people had broken down the doors of the British Parliament, killed some bobbies on the way in, to deny the prime minister from taking office?’ ” —President Biden in New York City on Feb. 7

Democrats have a few things going for them heading into November’s presidential election. President Joe Biden, despite his poor approval ratings, is more or less even with Donald Trump in the polls. Trump may shortly begin a series of criminal trials, and many voters say they would be less likely to vote for him if he’s convicted. Biden also does better in surveys of likely voters than those of registered voters, which is to say that some of the people who tell pollsters that they currently prefer Trump to Biden are judged, by those pollsters, to be unlikely to show up in the fall. Lastly, the economy has been doing well for quite a while, and you know how Americans love themselves the economy.

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On the other hand, Democrats also experience every second that Biden opens his mouth as a cliff’s-edge moment of sheer terror. Each word that shoots outward from the presidential lectern is laden with the potential to feature in a viral senior moment that further persuades casual followers of the news that Uncle Joe has a bit too much gravel rattling around the old brainpan to serve as the nation’s chief executive. To wit, the two anecdotes above, in which Biden placed former French President François Mitterrand, who died in 1996, and ’80s/’90s German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died in 2017, at a gathering of world leaders held in 2021. (Biden seemingly meant to refer to current president of France Emmanuel Macron and then–leader of Germany Angela Merkel.)

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The irony, here, is that for all Biden’s absent-minded slippage and age-related pronunciation difficulties, he is manifestly still in charge at the White House. There is no way a behind-the-scenes puppeteer-slash-strategist would, for instance, pull the strings to make a Democratic administration in 2024 skeptical toward the idea of unencumbered abortion rights but fully supportive of the current Israeli government. Those remain this administration’s positions, though, and they bear the marks of a leader who is still treated with deference even if his ideas about what constitutes the political mainstream can sometimes be dated, with an uncomfortable precision, to the era of Kohl, Mitterrand, and a much younger Joe Biden.

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QOSHE - Biden Has a Lot Going for Him in the Election. Then There’s This. - Ben Mathis-Lilley
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Biden Has a Lot Going for Him in the Election. Then There’s This.

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09.02.2024
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This is Totally Normal Quote of the Day, a feature highlighting a statement from the news that exemplifies just how extremely normal everything has become.

“Right after I was elected, I went to what they call a G7 meeting, all the NATO leaders. And it was in the South of England. And I sat down and I said, ‘America is back.’ And Mitterrand, from Germany—I mean, from France—looked at me and said, ‘How long you back for?’ ” —‍President Joe Biden in Las Vegas on Feb. 4

“And then Helmut Kohl turned to me and said, ‘What would you say, Mr. President, if you picked up the London Times and learned that 1,000 people had broken down the doors of the British Parliament, killed some bobbies on the way in, to deny the prime minister from taking........

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