Vittert: What happened to Scranton Joe?

On Balance with Leland Vittert

President Joe Biden speaks at the Volvo Group Powertrain Operations in Hagerstown, Md., Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(NewsNation) — President Biden’s supporters say part of his charm and authenticity comes from the gaffs and the odd jokes; it makes him relatable to people. He could talk about his time growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a hard scrabble coal town.

That’s one of the reason’s he won in 2020.

Where is Scranton Joe now? Because he didn’t show up yesterday to a Jake Tapper interview on CNN.

In that interview, Biden said he did not “anticipate” a recession coming to the United States. He must literally be the only one, because much of America thinks we are currently in one. The folks in Scranton are hurting.

Roughly three out of every five Americans were living paycheck to paycheck as of August while grappling with decades-high inflation, according to a survey conducted by LendingClub Corporation.

In fairness, the president can’t be an expert in everything. Maybe he’s listing to the folks who told him the following:

  • Inflation was transitory.
  • Stopping domestic oil production wouldn’t raise gas prices.
  • Supply chain issues could get solved.
  • To focus on the root causes of immigration rather than stopping illegal immigrants at border.
  • Shutting down a major baby formula factory wouldn’t cause a baby formula shortage.
  • The Taliban wouldn’t take over Afghanistan.
  • And Russia would quickly take over Ukraine.

Who knows what the president’s advisors say now?

The American people want to believe their president. From World War II through the Cuban Missile Crisis, through the Cold War, into Desert Storm and 9/11, we will sacrifice. We will support. We will even take it on the chin, when we feel our president understands our pain. Mr. Biden last night barely acknowledged it.

Maybe his advisors don’t show him the same polls we see. The last time over 50% of Americans approved of Mr. Biden’s job performance was 424 days ago.

This is from CNN’s own polling: “Only 32% of this poll’s respondents approve of the White House’s handling of inflation. On the economy as a whole, only 36% approved of his performance. Approximately 50% of those surveyed said Biden’s policies were making economic conditions in the U.S. worse.”

Again, why not tell the truth? Just say he gets how hard it is.

He understands wages haven’t kept up with inflation, that literally every day the dollar we make buys just a little less.

One of the great things about America is we all want our president to succeed. People might disagree with him or not like the job he’s doing, but we all need him to succeed.

This isn’t me criticizing Mr. Biden, its members of his own party; they won’t even campaign with him. Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan doesn’t want to campaign with Biden and noted in a debate all the times he agreed with Donald Trump on issues.

That’s a Democrat talking about all the times he agreed with President Trump. Ryan laughed at a reporter when asked if he would campaign with Mr. Biden. Maybe he doesn’t want to campaign with Mr. Biden because he would say something like this.

Let me give you another answer. I used to work in Washington and covered Biden, this is the Scranton Joe answer:

“Jake, I am not an economist, the American people think we are in a recession because they are hurting. I know because when I was a little boy my family hurt. I got handed an economy drunk on President Trump’s COVID corporate bailouts. He ignored the little guy and they are getting crushed because of it. I am trying my best to get them real relief from these high prices and you know who isn’t helping, Republicans in Congress.” This is what Biden should have said.

Ok, now back to Leland. I am not a political expert, pundit or a consultant, I am a reporter and the man we watched in that Jake Tapper interview is very different than Scantron Joe.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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