White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was out with quite the spin during Monday's press briefing, as is usually the case. In addition to her framing the revelations from the "Twitter files" as a "distraction" as Katie highlighted earlier, she also had quite the narrative when it comes to her framing of last month's midterm elections.
Jean-Pierre discussed the midterms when being asked about Tuesday's runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Republican opponent Herschel Walker. Jean-Pierre was asked why it was that Biden did not appear in Georgia to campaign for Warnock in person, despite doing so for the last runoff. As highlighted last Friday, Biden instead fundraised from Boston.
Just as she did in previous press briefings, Jean-Pierre refused to fully answer the question, pointing out she could not do so due to the limitations of the Hatch Act. She did offer what excuses she could, when it comes to how "I have said many times before at this podium that the President will do anything that that he can do for Senator Warnock to be helpful to him." She then claimed to the press corp that "as you all have seen on the President’s schedule, recently he’s done a high volume of fundraising; attended several political events, including phone banks and unions, and much and--with unions; and much more."
More substance, which also amounted to larger claims, came from Jean-Pierre's reminder of how supposedly successful Democrats were during the midterms.
"Look, the way that we see this, if you think about the midterms that just occurred: The president played a big role here," she claimed. "He set the narrative on how Democrats were going to move forward in the midterms, how they were going to talk about the successes that they had, how they--how they were going to talk about what was important to American families. Right?"
The press secretary than launched into how Democrats "made that contrast" with Republicans, which included fear-mongering on issues such as Social Security and Medicare--which have been fact-checked--and a so-called "national abortion ban," which in reality restricts abortions at 15-weeks, with exceptions, based on when unborn children can feel pain and how the gruesome procedure is more dangerous for the mother.
"So, the president played a big role in setting that narrative, setting that contrast. And let’s not forget: The successes that we have seen--his economic policy successes, as we talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act--those are the things that the president was able to get done, and Democrats were able to run on it," Jean-Pierre also claimed before moving on to take another question.
KJP: Joe Biden "played a big role" in the midterm elections. pic.twitter.com/lAtWEhCiqb— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 5, 2022
That tactic came up again further in the press briefing. Jean-Pierre was asked a question that raised potential issue, or even just questioned, with Biden's campaign strategies, and the press secretary stuck to a script.
"When I--when we look back on the president’s role during the midterm elections, he played a significant role for Democrats," Jean-Pierre offered, getting more specific in offering "it was because of the way he made the contrast with Republican officials," as she once more made claims about Social Security and Medicare and praised the so-called, misnamed Inflation Reduction Act.
"And the American people were very--spoke very loud and clear. That’s not what they want. They want us to continue to fight for their freedoms. They want us to continue to fight for democracy. And, you know, that red wave never happened," Jean-Pierre proclaimed.
REPORTER: "Have Democrats. determined that a [Biden] visit to Georgia would not help Senator Warnock's reelection bid?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 5, 2022
KJP: Joe Biden "played a significant role for Democrats" in the midterm elections. pic.twitter.com/ccksSAtsc9
While the Democrats did perform better than expected per expectations based on polls and historic precedence when it comes to how the president's party in power usually performs, one might say that that is in spite of Biden rather than because of him.
Biden's approval rating was in the low 40s headed into the election, with many approval metrics working against him and his party. Discontent with the direction of the country was also particularly high going into the midterms, which is why the results were as shocking as they were when it comes to how Republicans did not gain a larger majority in the House and to some extent, how they didn't get back control of the Senate.
Candidates were also hesitant to have Biden join them on the campaign trail, with many opting for former President Barack Obama. This includes Warnock, both in that he kept his distance from the president this time around, while welcoming the former president to campaign for him in Atlanta last week.
If Warnock manages to win reelection, he will help Democrats expand their majority in the Senate beyond Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Should Walker best him, Democrats will remain with the slimmest of majorities.