Joe Biden’s MSNBC town hall on Monday night was trashed by critics who questioned whether audience members who lobbed the former veep softball questions were really “undecided voters” — calling it an “infomercial” for the Democratic nominee.
During the 90-minute outdoor event in Miami moderated by anchor Lester Holt, Biden fielded more questions about President’s Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis than his own 47-year record in Washington.
The dozen audience members who were able to ask Biden questions were all identified as leaning towards voting for Biden already, and instead of scrutinizing his legacy, pressed him on things like how he would restore the tourism industry if elected president.
Politico reporter Marc Caputo, who covers the Sunshine State for the publication, derided the town hall as an “infomercial.”
“NBC’s town hall with Joe Biden & ‘undecided voters’ in Miami didn’t seem to have undecided voters. Nor was it much of a Miami town hall, which would have way more yelling & pointed questions,” he wrote on Twitter.
“It was a TV show that doubled as a Biden infomercial. Can’t blame him for doing it,” he went on.
Journalist Michael Tracey echoed Caputo’s criticism and said the event lacked any scrutiny or pushback on Biden’s comments, much like his CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper last month where he also only fielded easy questions from Democratic voters.
“Biden’s town hall with Lester Holt tonight on NBC was a joke. Just a pre-screened infomercial with no follow-up questions on anything — enabling Biden to spend 10 minutes reciting the same 1973 anecdote about Sen. Mike Mansfield that he told at a CNN ‘town hall’ last month,” Tracey wrote.
The Daily Caller’s Greg Price also wanted to know why the Democratic nominee, 77, wasn’t pressed on his stance on China or any other policies of substance.
“I just watched that entire, hour-long NBC News townhall with Joe Biden. No questions about whether he will pack the court, nuke the filibuster, or add DC and Puerto Rico as states,” Price wrote. “There were also no questions about China.”
The Federalist’s David Marcus said the audience members were “about as undecided as a fat kid at Taco Bell.”
McClatchy’s Dave Catanese said the questions on Monday night were “pretty underwhelming,” while Chris D. Jackson, a former Democratic Party chairman, called out his MSNBC for obsessing over Trump at Biden’s town hall.
“The media never learns. NBC just spent the first 12 mins of @JoeBiden ‘s town hall talking about Trump. Damn,” Jackson wrote.
At one point during the debate, Biden trashed socialist Bernie Sanders as the independent senator from Vermont travelled to Michigan to stump on behalf of the candidate in the must-win state.
“Do I look like a socialist?” Biden said when a Cuban American voter told the candidate his community was concerned by messaging from the Trump campaign that a vote for him was a vote for socialism.
“I’m the guy that ran against the socialists. Remember I got in trouble through the whole campaign- twenty-something candidates… “Joe Biden was too centrist, to moderate, too straight-forward.” That was Joe Biden. I have taken on the very people that in fact you’re worried about,” he said.
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