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Tipsheet

Try Not to Laugh: AP's Zeke Miller Knows Why Biden's Approval Rating Is in the Toilet

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A new Associated Press "news" story from Zeke Miller might be the most brazen attempt to rehab President Joe Biden's failed image this year as the mainstream media finds itself grasping at paper straws to come up with reasons to speak favorably of the president whose approval remains underwater and is set to cost his party even more seats in an already unfavorable midterm cycle. 

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"One hug and one selfie at a time, Biden's mission to connect" is the headline of the alleged news dispatch from the AP's chief White House correspondent that argues, "If President Joe Biden could greet every American this way, longtime allies say, his approval ratings would soar." 

That assertion is hard to believe, given Biden's 2020 campaign strategy was "hide in the basement" and not "go hug every voter."

Comically, AP's Miller tries to rewrite the historical record on Biden's gaffe-prone speeches with some excessively generous reframing of what Americans have seen and heard for themselves. "Biden has never been at his best in big speeches," Miller says in a significant understatement, "where his delivery can be stilted, his stories sometimes meandering." 

If written accurately, Miller's piece would say: "Biden is not good at public speaking, routinely botching his prompter reading, going off-script so drastically that his staff often has to scramble to correct what U.S. policy actually is or whether the president has cancer, and he often relies on falsehoods in his awkward attempts to pander."

Where Biden fails — on the economy, his Afghanistan withdrawal, the supply chain, southern border, crime, etc. — AP's "news" story proclaims that Biden's aides "say the 79-year-old has perfected his selfie arm, the products of which are widely shared on social media." America is saved?

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Heralding Biden's "one-on-one warmth and empathy" — seen...when exactly? — AP laments the fact that "most voters, most of the time, only see the president in scripted or staged moments," like when he declared war on half the country — with "warmth and empathy" of course — during a speech in Philadelphia or demonized "the unvaccinated" despite Biden becoming a fully-vaccinated and -boosted superspreader himself. 

Straying into even more speculation, Miller's story in AP quotes Biden aides also saying the president "seems to detect when someone may be going through a personal or family crisis," which is again literally unbelievable for Biden, who was seen checking his watch while welcoming home the remains of 13 U.S. service members killed during his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

In summary, Miller and AP are trying to rehab Biden's image a bit before the crushing midterm red wave hits by asserting that his underwater poll numbers and overall malaise are a result of...Biden not being able to take selfies with more voters? "Believe me!" Miller seems to plead, Biden is very empathetic and simply not "at his best" when speaking to larger groups. But accepting that premise requires rejecting the last nearly two years of chaos that Biden and his administration have brought to Americans. 

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Real wages are down more than three percent, crime and drug crises are out of control, the unsecured southern border is being run by cartels, inflation remains at 40-year highs, and a recession has already hit in the first two quarters of 2022 with no relief for any of those issues in sight. That's why Biden is unpopular, not that he isn't able to try out his "perfected selfie arm" with more people. 

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