Biden Preparing to Limit ABC’s Post-Debate Interview to Just 15 Minutes


Behind the scenes, President Joe Biden’s team is negotiating with ABC to limit his first post-debate interview to as little as 15 minutes.

Persons familiar with the plan, speaking with the Daily Beast, revealed that George Stephanopoulos — a mainstream media host and former Democratic operative — won’t have much time to conduct what was expected to be a wide-ranging interview with the president. The sit-down was announced by the White House earlier this week as part of a flurry of media moves intended to reassure panicked supporters that the 81-year-old is still in the fight against former President Donald Trump.

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The source also revealed deep concern within ABC’s higher-ups that the White House is prepared to pull the rug out from under Stephanopoulos after promising an “extended” interview with Biden. A spokesperson for the president quickly shot down that notion, telling the outlet, “False. The interview will be longer.” Still, senior network executives met on Wednesday to strategize which questions would receive priority in the event that Biden arrives on the set with plans to not stay for long.

At the same time, ABC is well aware that the president can be long-winded at times, making non-sequiturs or telling stories that stretch out his answers. Some are simply hoping that the president will disregard his aides’ request to keep things short and told donors in a private retreat last week that he was “clear eyed” about his need to reassure the public that he has the stamina for another four years.

The AP previously noted that President Biden has appeared at fewer news conferences at this point in his presidency than any predecessor going back to Ronald Reagan. His number of general interviews fares even worse; Biden has answers questions 128 times compared to 369 by Trump and 497 by Obama.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre agreed with the premise that Friday’s interview would be Biden’s best attempt to “turn the page” on a disastrous debate performance that has broken the levee previously limiting calls for him to drop out of the presidential race. Suggestions for a new nominee are now coming from sitting members of Congress, some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors, and even former President Barack Obama as anxiety mounts that Biden will be walking into a buzzsaw in November.

A New York Times report on Wednesday indicated President Biden is, for the first time, giving serious consideration to dropping out of the race. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said to The Hill on Wednesday, “That claim is absolutely false. If the New York Times had provided us with more than 7 minutes to comment we would have told them so.”

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