After delivering a meandering speech in Scranton, PA on Wednesday, Joe Biden was moderately cogent during a town hall on Thursday with CNN's Anderson Cooper. He wants more spending, more social programs, and he wants to protect Americans from themselves.
He took questions from the audience that gave him ample opportunities to expound upon his Build Back Better agenda. He took aim at trust funders, advocated for paid parental leave, and spoke to the need for parents to have someone else take care of their children so that they could participate in the workforce.
Biden was very interested in expressing his view that the federal government should foot the bill for everything from childcare to health care to education and job creation. He complained that big corporations don't pay anything at all in taxes, though there's no reason to believe that this is accurate information.
When he was asked about his campaign promise of offering free community college, he went off on a tangent and Anderson Cooper had to get him back on track. The question was what will Biden "do to ensure that all Americans can get the education that they need…?"
In response, Biden went off on a tangent.
"First of all, professor you made a very profound point," he said. "I'm not being sarcastic. And that is, and Jill uses a slightly different phrase, any country that out educates us will out compete us. Any country that out educates us will out compete us. You have the vast majority of the 37 major corporate countries in the world, economies. We rank 35 and our investment in education, we're in a situation where if you if you think about it, what caused us to move ahead and and dominate the 20th century, and the late 1900s, early 1900s late 1890s, we came up with say 12 years of free education. That was revolutionary at the time. I mean seriously."
"Now, if we were sitting down today and say no we got to put together an education system," Biden continued. "Raise your hand if anybody thinks 12 years is enough to compete in the 21st century. So that's why what I propose is free child, free school, preschool for every three and four year old in America, no matter what their background, all the data shows that no matter what home they come from, they increase exponentially the prospects of succeeding all the way through 12 years of school. You know, you know all the statistics and statistics go that if you come from a home where there's no books in the home, and a single mom or single dad, they don't, they're not well educated, they don't talk a lot. The kid from a middle class average middle class home versus at home will go to school, having heard one million more words spoken, and the childhood dude. A gigantic disadvantage."
"Mr. President," Cooper nudged, "the question was on the community college, which was a big campaign promise that you made you talk about that a lot."
Biden then spoke about the plan for increasing grants for community college students and joked about the pressure his wife is putting on him to get the federal government to pay tuition costs for community college students.
These long, winding answers that veered off topic were exemplary of Biden's answers at this CNN town hall. Biden blamed Trump, he blamed OPEC, he blamed Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, he blamed Republicans for not passing anything, though they are the minority in both chambers of Congress. What Biden didn't do was take on any responsibility himself for his administration's failures.
Biden was asked if "Do you think there's, um, do you see, do you have a timeline for gas prices when you think they may start coming down?"
"There's a lot of Middle Eastern folks who want to talk to me. I'm not so sure I gonna talk to them. But the point is, it's about gas production. My guess is," Biden said, "you'll start to see gas prices come down as we get by and going into the winter. I mean, excuse me, in the next year in 2022. I don't see anything that's going to happen in the meantime that is going to significantly reduce gas prices."
He did say that his vaccine mandates were a massive success, because they have successfully forced compliance to the mandates. Biden made fun of people who want to maintain their own choices over their medical decisions, mocking their want for "freedom."
Biden mocked those who are opposed to vaccine mandates, saying that one thing that concerns him "are those who just try to make this a political issue, 'freedom! I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID!' Freedom," he mocked.
Then he took a question from a man who claimed that he was watching his "voting right vanish before our very eyes." This man asked about police reform, as well, without noting the drastic crime increases across the US. The man asked "what would you do over the next three years to rectify these atrocities, secure our democracy, and ensure the freedoms and liberties that all Americans should be entitled to?"
The answer, apparently, isn't to let Americans have freedom over their medical choices.
Biden took a question from a woman who was identified by a Republican, but Anderson Cooper answered a bunch of it. She wanted to know why Biden kept criticizing Trump but kept some of his border control policies, and also wanted to know why he hadn't visited the southern border.
Biden said kids were not facing the same kinds of border hardships as they were under the Trump administration, saying that there weren't photos of kids camped out under tarps. This despite the numerous photos of kids camped out under tarps, such as those among the thousands of Haitian migrants who were camped out under a bridge, or those children abandoned by the side of the Rio Grande, or the many, many children admitted to the US and sent around the country in the dead of night.