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Report: Biden’s Reliance on Cheat Sheets at Fundraisers Concerns Donors

President Joe Biden’s unabashed reliance on pre-prepared notes to help him explain his own policies in response to questions he knows are coming is sparking concern about his age from party donors.

An Axios report sets out even in closed-door fundraisers, where prescreened donors can ask questions of the octogenarian, he can be seen consulting his notes to provide detailed answers, according to people familiar with the routine.

The staged Q&A sessions have left some donors wondering whether Biden can withstand the rigors of a 2024 presidential campaign let alone potential debates with former President Donald Trump, 77, according to the Axios story.

File/U.S. President Joe Biden holds his notes while answering a question during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House after a meeting with South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol April 26, 2023, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
File/U.S. President Joe Biden looks over Q and A media notes during a joint press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2023. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The practise of reading word-for-word prompts has led to stumbles in the past for Biden, who was most recently described by Special Counsel Robert Hur as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” who could not remember significant life events.

As Breitbart News reported, in 2021 he read “end-of-message” from his notes during a eulogy for the late Bob Dole:

Biden also delivered a speech in Pittsburgh, PA, in 2020 during a rare day on the campaign trail and appeared to have trouble reading off the teleprompter.

“COVID has taken this year, just sinthe outbreak, has taken more than 100 year—look, here’s, the lives, it’s just, it’s, er, I mean, y’think about it. More lives this year than any other year for the past hundred years,” he said during the speech.

Prepared remarks reveal that Biden was supposed to say, “COVID has taken more lives this year than any outbreak in more than 100 years. More than 180,000 lives in just six months. An average of 1,000 people dying every day in the month of August”:

Biden resorted to notes out of his jacket when asked about “the most recent hack by the Russians” during an ostensibly unscripted visit to a farmer’s market on Saturday in Central Lake, MI, in July 2021.

A woman, unseen in video of the moment, asked the president, “With the most recent hack by the Russians, would you say that this means that…?”

Biden interrupted the woman before she could complete her question.

“We’re not sure it’s the Russians,” the president interjected. “I got a brief while I was on the plane. That’s why I was late getting off the plane. I got a brief. I’ll be in better shape to talk to you about it, hang on a second.”

Biden then reached for and withdrew notes from his jacket pocket. He remarked:

I’ll tell you what they sent me. The idea that, first of all, we’re not sure who it is, for certain, number one, and what I did, I directed the full resources of the government to assist in a our response if we determine … and the fact is that the director of the intelligence community gave me a deep dive on what’s happened and I’ll know better tomorrow, and if it is either with the knowledge of, and/or a consequence of Russia, then I told Putin we will respond.”

The woman asked, “You did tell [Putin] already, sir?”

“No, no, I haven’t called, because we’re not certain,” Biden replied. “The initial thinking was it was not the Russian government, but we’re not sure yet.”

The Axios report details Biden’s reliance on notecards is partly the result of a detail-oriented staff that wants to ensure his fundraisers are successful.

As a senator for 36 years, then vice president for eight years, Biden expects to be prepped by staff for nearly every meeting on his schedule.

In those briefings, Biden is demanding, difficult to please — and frequently profane, Axios notes.

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