The rumors that staff are really in charge of the White House are only going to increase after Joe Biden turned down the biggest interview request of the year. The president will not be taking the “The Super Bowl Interview.”
“We hope viewers enjoy watching what they tuned in for — the game,” White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt told Variety.
This will be the second time in a row that President Biden has declined the opportunity to be interviewed in front of one of the largets audiences in the United States.
The New York Times explains why the decision is so strange, especially from a sitting president running for re-election.
In a tradition dating to 2009, presidents have recorded an interview with the network that broadcasts the Super Bowl, although there have been exceptions. Donald J. Trump did not appear on NBC in 2018. Last year, Mr. Biden declined to appear on Fox, home of cable hosts like Sean Hannity who are sharply hostile toward him.
But the White House has been receptive to CBS News in the past. The president was interviewed by the “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell ahead of the 2021 Super Bowl, and he participated in two lengthy “60 Minutes” pieces, in 2022 and 2023, with the correspondent Scott Pelley.
The Super Bowl, typically the most-watched telecast of the year, offers an unusually large audience for a sitting president to address current events and advance his agenda to the public.
And there is plenty of news for Mr. Biden to comment on. Starting on Friday, the United States carried out military strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Three American soldiers were killed last Sunday in Jordan. The government just released a positive jobs report. And Mr. Biden is ramping up his re-election campaign as Mr. Trump has moved closer to clinching the Republican nomination.
Axios reported last month that despite the clear limitations of being 81, Biden has refused to accept the fact that he’s old and has lost a step. The situation “is causing some tension on his team, as senior aides and First Lady Jill Biden push him to rest more and be vigilant about his health going into 2024.
In conversations with aides and friends, Biden frequently says some version of: ‘I feel so much younger than my age.'”
Maybe he feels like a spritely young 71 year old.
The voters do not feel the same way. Last August, nearly three-quarters of American adults told an Associated Press-NORC poll that they think Biden is much too old to be president. Even among Democrats, the numbers should cause panic at the White House. 69 percent said he was too old.
Rumors have been running wild that a Democrat superstar, fearful that Biden is losing it, will jump in the race this spring.
Nikki Haley, challenging 77-year-old Donald Trump, has hit both Biden and Trump for their age, telling them it’s time to retire.
The GOP front runner helped allay those concerns last night. As migrants pour into the country and war against Iran heats up. Donald Trump asked his followers on social media if he looked like Elvis.