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Sunday Shows Provide Pete Buttigieg Platform to Spin Biden's Supposed Successes

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

While many of the Sunday shows were understandably focused on discussing the Chinese spy balloon, multiple programs had on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to discuss a variety of topics, including spinning President Joe Biden's record. 

As Buttigieg framed it on ABC News's "This Week," the Biden administration is apparently experiencing "accomplishment after accomplishment." The transportation secretary was nevertheless dealt a cold dose of reality, though, given that host Jonathan Karl reminded him that, according to a just-released ABC News poll, just 16 percent of Americans feel that they are better off today than they were when Biden took office.

When Karl aptly pointed out, "That's a tough number to make the case that, 'Hey, happy days are here again!" Buttigieg stumbled to come up with any kind of actual answer. 

"Look, we've been through a lot. And, you know, the president and the entire administration recognize that there continue to be headwinds, challenges, problems facing this economy. After all, the president took office under some of the most challenging circumstances facing any president in modern times," Buttigieg tried to respond. 

The secretary then went on to tout wages and unemployment. "And I think we can expect continued improvement if we stay the course of these successful policies," he added as if that's all that Americans are concerned with. It's worth emphasizing that because of the highest inflation we've seen in four decades under this administration, wages have actually gone down

Buttigieg then pivoted to focus on Tuesday night's State of the Union, where he lambasted Republicans by bringing up a talking point that's not even reflective of the entire party. 

"And part of what I think you're going to see on Tuesday, when you see the president's addressing the nation and the Congress in the State of the Union, is a reminder that this successful approach stands in stark contrast to a strategy that would focus on things like preserving tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, looking at cutting Social Security and Medicare, which we're hearing about from a lot of House Republicans," Buttigieg claimed. 

As we have seen time and again, this is a pattern of the Biden administration and Democrats overall. It's not just Buttigieg, and that's not to cut him some slack. Members of the Biden administration just expect the American people to believe their narrative that the country is doing well, even as multiple metrics – including and especially polls like the one Karl confronted Buttigieg with – show otherwise.

This was also the case with outgoing National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who, as we highlighted on Monday night, had a less-than-stellar performance during that day's press briefing. 

The transportation secretary again brought up Biden's supposed successes when pressed by Karl about a 2024 announcement, which is expected to come soon after the State of the Union address. Buttigieg reminded that he has to be cautious when appearing in his capacity as secretary, but he did have kind things to say about Biden's time in office. 

"He is an absolutely historically successful president, and I want to see that continue," Buttigieg offered, later adding, "what he's achieved is extraordinary."

What's particularly noteworthy is that Buttigieg sang the president's praises, despite how he himself has been floated as a possible 2024 candidate and even though polls are showing not even Democrats want Biden to run again, as Karl referenced. 

Perhaps the most direct response that Buttigieg gave during the entire interview was to address the polls about 2024 and dismiss them. "And when I see tongues wagging about polls and this sort of thing, I can't help but think about, you know, the tongues that were wagging in October. One thing this president has done again and again and again, whether it's politically or whether it's policy-wise, is defy expectations. And that's one of many reasons why I'm humbled and honored to be part of this team."

Buttigieg's spin was even more absurd on his other Sunday show appearances. Again, Biden just isn't popular, and people don't want him to run. Madeline just recently highlighted a poll showing as much. 

Such was the backdrop that host Chuck Todd reminded viewers of when introducing Buttigieg on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

"When President Biden addresses the nation on Tuesday night, he will be speaking to a skeptical public. Despite the low unemployment rate, a stronger than expected midterm performance for his political party, and a string of legislative accomplishments, the president's job rating sits at just 45 percent," Todd noted. "His poll numbers are even lower on his handling of the economy, foreign policy and specifically the war in Ukraine. Two-thirds of voters have reservations or are very uncomfortable with the idea of Biden running for a second term. That's the backdrop for the State of The Union. Joining me now is the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg." 

During the segment, when Buttigieg was called upon to explain why the president's supposed accomplishments were not resonating with the American people, he was not deterred. But that didn't mean he had a satisfactory answer to provide. In fact, his response was laughable. 

"Look, he's got a lot of things to tell. Why do you think that it has not penetrated the American public?" Todd asked. 

As Buttigieg would explain it, it's almost as if there are just too many good things to keep track of. "Well, look. These things don't sell themselves. And it's one of the reasons I'm really looking forward to that State of the Union address. I will say that there have been so many accomplishments under this administration. It can be difficult to list them in a distilled way," Buttigieg said, which he was actually serious about.

The secretary went on to quote outgoing White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who is arguably even more of a joke when it comes to how he handles his job, especially when it comes to providing spin for the administration. Buttigieg also launched into comparing Biden to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, offering that Klain "put it in a way that I thought was especially moving. When you think back in historic terms to what it means to inherit one of the toughest situations faced by any president since FDR, pass the most significant legislation on our economy in many ways since FDR, while facing the largest land war in Europe since Truman, achieving the second-most-important health care bill since LBJ, and the most important infrastructure bill since Eisenhower. As Ron put it, 'and that was just the beginning of the list of accomplishments.'"

That may all sound nice, but it doesn't really amount to anything. 

"But one of the things that we found is that this is happening simultaneously with some of the toughest circumstances ever. We recognize that. And there continue to be a lot of issues that Americans are facing every day, even as we see extraordinary economic news: up 500,000 jobs just created in the last month," Buttigieg nevertheless continued, bringing up once more the narrative that the Biden administration continues to cling to. 

Say what you will about FDR, but he's generally highly regarded when it comes to overall presidential rankings. It doesn't look like Biden can expect that same kind of treatment from historians. 

Not even Todd was really buying Buttigieg's excuse. "Well, that's the thing. Nothing seems to accrue to his benefit," he reminded the secretary, who dismissively went on to offer, "Well, people say that," before claiming, "This president has exceeded expectations again and again, politically and functionally in terms of what we're getting done." 

When Buttigieg was confronted about a particular issue affecting Biden in the polls – his handling of classified documents – the secretary's answer was just as laughable and dismissive. 

"If you go week by week through the polls, you'll drive yourself crazy," Buttigieg offered, reminding viewers this administration isn't paying attention. What he said next was even more tone-deaf, though. "The president and the administration remain focused on getting things done. Think about how rare it is to have unemployment this low and inflation coming down at the same time. That's not something that just happens on its own," he offered, continuing to harp on that one narrative. 

When pressed even more so by Todd, Buttigieg's response didn't get any better. 

When asked by Todd, "Do you think, though, if he had been more transparent about this classified documents situation earlier that he might be in a better place?" Buttigieg dismissively responded that "coulda, woulda, shoulda is not the strategic direction or focus of this administration" instead of offering to do better. "There's too much on the line. There's too much to do." 

Like a broken record, Buttigieg again touted supposed "accomplishments," which he desperately sought to draw in contrast to Republicans, adding, "especially when you see some of the saber-rattling going on among House Republicans. If this kind of MAGAnomics takes hold," a new term Todd took note of. 

Just like the Biden administration has been doing since the start, and is getting increasingly worse at, the real agenda is to smear and demean their Republican opponents. 

That view of Republican opponents is even more glaring in contrast to how Buttigieg tried to sell Biden's accomplishments to host Jake Tapper while on CNN's "State of the Union," pointing to "a bipartisan basis." 

When bringing up the jobs report, Buttigieg actually bragged about inflation, pointing out how it's going down. Well, given that the administration is responsible for the highest inflation in four decades – though Biden on Friday just reminded us he doesn't take any blame for it – going down from there isn't exactly an accomplishment. 

The American people recognize as much, too, given that Biden has an overall approval rating of 33.2 percent on inflation, according to RealClearPolitics. 

"You look at what's been done in two years, and I think the president is going to be going into the State of the Union speech with a context of extraordinary, historic accomplishment," Buttigieg tried to offer. 

This administration just doesn't get it. 

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