President Biden gave remarks on Wednesday after the FDA approved COVID vaccines for children, urging parents to get their children vaccinated, despite the low instances of cases, hospitalizations, or fatalities among young people in the United States.
But Biden took questions from reporters at the end of his remarks, and as soon as he said he would, the press corps went wild. It was clear they were hungry for a chance to question the president.
Most of those were not about shots for kids, but about the elections on Tuesday that were seen as a sweeping loss for his administration and the progressive social program.
"As leader of the Democratic Party, how much responsibility do you take for the digital results in Virginia?" Biden was asked.
Biden sidestepped the question, saying that "no governor in Virginia has ever won when he is of the the same, or he or she, is the same party as a sitting president." Despite the losses, he claimed that "people want us to get things done. They want us to get things done." And with this, he pressed for his massive spending plans, that have hit snag after snag in the Democrat-controlled legislature.
"People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things," Biden said, "from COVID to school, to jobs to a whole range of things and the cost of a gallon of gasoline. And so if I'm able to pass sign in law, my Build Back Better initiative. I'm in a position where you're going to see a lot of those things ameliorated quickly and swiftly. So that has to be done."
He was asked about that plan. "Do you think that Terry McAuliffe would have won if your agenda is passed before election?" He said that he thought it should have passed, but that it likely would not have changed the minds of the "Trump voters" who turned out.
Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris all showed up in Virginia to back the Democrat candidate for governor, and that candidate, McAuliffe, still lost.
PBS' Yamiche Alcindor asked "What should Democrats possibly do differently to avoid similar losses in November especially as Republicans are now successfully running on culture war issues, and false claims of critical race theory?"
"Well, I think we should produce for the American people," Biden said, not answering the question about the culture war issues, or noting that Alcindor's claim that claims of critical race theory were false, were actually false.
"Look, one of the things that is important to understand if we pass my legislation, we're going to be able to reduce the price people are going to see a reduction in the price of the drugs they have to get because Medicare will be able to negotiate and lower the price of drugs. If they pass my legislation, they're going to see that nobody, and some of you who have children's daycare children in childcare, you're paying up to $14,000 a year if you live here, you will never have to pay that much money if you live in Washington or wherever you live no more than 7 percent of your income. They're going to see that you know they'll get tax breaks, genuine tax breaks."
"The point is," he went on to say, "that, you know, we have to move and make it clear that what we've done is increasing a little— look people. People need a little breathing room. They're overwhelmed. And what happened was, I think we have to just produce results for them to change their standard of living and give him a little more breathing room."
"What's your message to voters," he was asked, "especially black voters, who see Republicans running on race education, lying about critical race theory, and they're worried that Democrats don't have an effective way to push back on that?"
Biden still didn't speak on critical race theory and education, which was the crux of the questions. "Oh, I think the whole answer is just to speak the truth lay out where we are. Look. I'm convinced that if you look at everything from my view on criminal justice system, to my view on equal opportunity to my view on economic issues, and all the things that have, and what I'm pushing legislation, is the elements are overwhelmingly popular. We have to speak about them, we have to speak about them and explain them.
"Look. I just think people are at a point and it's understandable where there's a whole lot of confusion. Everything from: are you going to ever get COVID under control? To are my kids going to be in school? Are they going to be able to stay in school to whether or not I'm going to get a tax break that allows me to be able to pay for the needs of my kids and my family. And they're all things that we're, that I'm running on will run on and I think we'll do fine."
When he was asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy why he blames Trump so much, he said that it's because "the issues he supports are affecting their lives every day and have a negative impact on their lives."
As for the vaccines, Biden spoke about the FDA's approval, which comes with a roll-out that will use both lower doses of the mRNA vaccine, as well as smaller needles. Biden praised the day, saying that it was a "giant step forward" for American families and children to "further accelerate our path out of this pandemic."
Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are now eligible to receive the vaccine, Biden announced, saying that it was "a day of relief and celebration" for parents "after almost 18 months of anxious worrying every time the children how to your child has a sniffle or started cough, but you cannot protect them from this horrible virus because everyone's always worried that was coming along."
As to when and where the vaccine will be available, Biden said that "As soon as next week we'll have enough vaccine and enough places that parents will be able to schedule appointments to get their kids their first shot. And we've already secured enough vaccine supply for every single child in America ages five through 11 and weeks ago, we asked states and pharmacies to put together their detailed plan to start placing their orders for these specially formulated vaccines for young children."
He claimed that vaccinated kids would help keep schools open.
Biden coughed, explaining that a big part of the rollout of vaccinations for kids is about making sure that the locations of the vaccine will be "places that parents know and trust: their local pharmacies, their pediatricians, family doctors and children's hospitals."
Equity, never far from the president's agenda, was also foremost in his mind. He said that the plans for the pediatric vaccine rollout "will also ensure equity as a center of our children's vaccination program." And he pressed for boosters.