Joe Biden may have stumbled yesterday at the US Air Force Academy graduation, but the President had some swagger tonight.
“There were extreme voices threatening to take America for the first time in our 247-year history and a default on our national debt,” said Biden with a swing at Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans in his first Oval Office address to the nation since taking office. Nothing, nothing would have been more irresponsible. Nothing would have been more catastrophic.”
In much criticized CNN town hall on May 10, the past and potentially future president urged Republicans “to do a default” if they couldn’t get massive spending cuts and more.
Underscoring the importance that the current occupant of the Oval Office wanted to give to the “vital” debt ceiling deal that passed both chambers of Congress this week after some down to the wire negotiations, Biden’s speech was covered live by CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the BBC. Fronted by anchor Norah O’Donnell, CBS also carried the almost primetime address live in a special report as did ABC and NBC. On the West Coast, the Comcast owned network missed the first couple minutes of Biden’s speech due to local news coverage.
If anything, tonight’s speech was a sneak peek at the Rose Garden strategy one of America’s great retail politicians has planned for next year’s election campaign.
In that vein and wrapping himself in the power of the office, the President made it official in his 13-minute-long remarks that he would sign the debt ceiling bill into law on Saturday. That’s two days before the Treasury Department estimated the United States would hit its debt limit and run out of cash to pay the bills, a historic fail. Biden’s bill signing almost guarantees that Wall Street will open strong on June 5 – a follow up to the 701 points the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied today with a muscular jobs report.
Which is exactly the sort of news and footage any candidate wants for campaign ads – especially for a contender that is polling as low as Biden is right now.
Today’s quickly arranged speech comes less than 24 hours after the Senate passed the Bipartisan Budget Agreement 63-36, averting a damning default. Pulling the Oval Office card and getting the full glare of cable news and networks almost primetime spotlight, Biden also hopes to overshadow GOP rivals like Trump, Disney foe Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others who are campaigning in early primary states today in the hopes of replacing the incumbent in the White House on January 20, 2025.
Chuckling over memories of spontaneously sparring with House Republicans at the State of the Union, the atypically relaxed and mainly even toned POTUS took a victory lap over the debt ceiling deal he worked out with Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Offering a spattering of his well-trodden homespun homilies and the greatest hits of the administration’s policies over the past two years, Biden praised the GOP Speaker, adding “both sides operated in good faith, both sides kept their word” on the path to a deal – as you can see in the video below:
“It was critical to reach an agreement, and it’s very good news for the American people,” Biden said tonight after months long standoff with Republicans. “No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed. We averted an economic crisis — an economic collapse.”
Wanting to put the stakes of a debt ceiling collapse on the domestic and global economy in perspective, and land a few reelection campaign points in the process, the frequently underestimated Biden was also basking in the success of pulling off another bipartisan victory despite threats from the Right and the Left.
Now a deal has been done and is about to become law, the US will retain its perfect AAA credit rating, despite nerves that a downgrade could be in the making.