Speed Reads

get yourself out there

Biden's tally of 1-on-1 interviews lags behind Trump and Obama

Though some Americans may feel relieved President Biden has opted to take a softer and more restrained approach to the press than his predecessor, not all of his allies are convinced such a strategy is working out, The New York Times reports.

Now nine months into his tenure as president, Biden has conducted approximately "a dozen one-on-one interviews with major print and television news outlets," the Times writes, a pace that falls decently behind that of former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, each of whom completed over 50 and 100 one-on-one interviews within the same period, respectively.

That said, allies and strategists want Biden to make better use of his pulpit, "one of a president's most powerful tools of communication," rather than rely on "on fleeting, impromptu exchanges with White House reporters" to effectively message his policy objectives and goals, reports the Times.

"What they're missing is salesmanship," said veteran Democratic strategist James Carville. "Everybody wants to be a policy maven, and no one wants to go door to door and sell pots and pans."

Of course, there are risks to these things, but "high-profile interviews give you the opportunity to really get across key points that you want to make, that are important in building public support," added Scott McClellan, press secretary to former President George W. Bush.

"[Y]ou sacrifice part of the megaphone by not having the president do these interviews," further explained Jonathan Lemire, host of MSNBC's Way Too Early. "Every network would give him time if he asked for it," continued Democratic Party adviser Kurt Bardella.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki rejected the idea Biden is purposely avoiding the spotlight, the Times notes. But whatever's happening, McClellan said, the administration shouldn't wait "too much longer" to course correct.