Jake Tapper: Biden Gets 'Unfiltered' Off Camera with Fat Cats, But Avoids Interviewers

February 23rd, 2024 9:18 AM

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On Thursday's The Lead on CNN, in a segment he entitled "Biden Unfiltered," anchor Jake Tapper reported Biden telling a group of high-rolling San Francisco donors that although Putin is a "crazy SOB, and we always have to be worried about nuclear conflict," the real existential threat is climate change.

Tapper also highlighted Biden saying that he served with a "real racist," Strom Thurmond, but that today's GOP is worse. Not surprising from Biden, given that in 2019, Biden waxed nostalgic about the "civility" he enjoyed with hard-core Democrat segregationists, like Mississippi Sen. James Eastland and Georgia Sen. Herman Talmadge.

And for good measure, Tapper played the audio of Barack Obama's infamous "bitter clinger" remarks about the Republican base, which coincidentally Obama made at a San Francisco fundraiser. "Something about San Francisco fundraisers, I guess," Tapper sardonically observed.

Tapper relayed all this (and responses from the Kremlin and Speaker Mike Johnson) to underline that Biden's not going before the cameras. He reminded his viewers that Biden failed to accept a softball Super Bowl interview, this time from CBS: "If you're running for president, and a majority of voters think you're too old to serve another term, as polls suggest they think about President Biden, avoiding cameras might make it look as though you have something to hide."

Over the years, NewsBusters has documented Tapper's left-leaning tendencies. Just last month, for example, we caught him claiming that in an impeachment, Republican Senators wouldn't convict Trump if he ordered Seal Team Six to assassinate a political rival.

But in this case, Tapper showed political balance, quoting nasty takes from Biden and Obama -- and even suggested they're offering red meat to San Francisco Democrat fat cats!

PS: Tapper quoted Biden saying of Trump analogizing himself to Navalny, "If I stood here 10 or 15 years ago and said this, you all would have thought that I should be committed."

Pro Tip for Biden: Do not speak of people thinking you should be committed. Too many people in the audience would likely nod their head in agreement.

Here's the transcript.

The Lead With Jake Tapper
4:00 pm ET

JAKE TAPPER: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper, and we start today with our politics lead, Off script, off camera, and amongst friends, Democratic supporters and donors, is where President Biden appears most comfortable, leveling some of his sharpest and most direct attacks.

Speaking at a fundraising event in San Francisco last night, the president took aim at several of his adversaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We have a crazy SOB. That guy Putin and others. And we always have to be worried about a nuclear conflict. But the existential threat to humanity is climate," he said.

Continuing the back-and-forth, the Kremlin fired back today, criticizing President Biden for sounding like a quote Hollywood cowboy, more specifically, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, quote, clearly Mr. Biden is demonstrating behavior in the style of a Hollywood cowboy to cater to domestic political interests, unquote. 

. . . 

But about that rematch in 2024, Biden also took aim at the Republican frontrunner, and hit Donald Trump over Trump's attempt to compare his legal difficulties to the political persecution, poisoning, possible murder, of Alexey Navalny, who died in a Russian prison a few days ago.

DONALD TRUMP: I got indicted four times. I have eight or nine trials. All because of the fact that I'm, and you know this. All because of the fact that I'm in politics. It is a form of Navalny. It is a form of communism or fascism.

TAPPER: Last night, President Biden responded, "If I stood here 10 or 15 years ago and said this, you all would have thought that I should be committed. It's astounding." 

President Biden also singled out Republicans in Congress for criticism, arguing that this generation is worse than lawmakers he worked with when he first served on Capitol Hill: "I've been a Senator since '72, I've served with real racists. I've served with Strom Thurmond. And I've served with all these guys that have set terrible records on race. But guess what? These guys are worse. These guys do not believe in basic democratic principles."

In response, House Speaker Mike Johnson posted on X, "outrageous, the least popular president to seek reelection is now so desperate and so under water in the polls, he's playing the race card from the bottom of the deck."

Now, there might not be cameras, but there have been reporters at Biden's fundraising events. That's how we know what he said. And politicians tend to get a little looser when they think cameras are not recording what they're saying.

You might remember when Barack Obama was recorded in 2008, when he was speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco, talking about why working-class voters might be voting Republican: "And it's not surprising then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." Something about San Francisco fundraisers, I guess.

But, this all does raise a question in this modern era: why is Biden kind of camera shy? Before Biden announced he was running for reelection last year, the New York Times had reported Biden has held the fewest news conferences since Reagan. Biden again declined to hold the traditional end-of-year press conference in 2023. And for the second consecutive year, Biden skipped sitting down for a pre-Super Bowl interview. A move his advisers allegedly made because quote, they wanted to give the already fatigued public a break from politics during the big game. 

It was a curious choice by the White House though, given that this is one of the most consequential elections ever, and the Super Bowl allows the eyeballs for one of the biggest, if not the biggest, televised event in the country.

If you're running for president, and a majority of voters think you're too old to serve another term, as polls suggest they think about President Biden, avoiding cameras might make it look as though you have something to hide.