a way with words
May 22, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised some eyebrows Friday during a heated interview with Charlamagne Tha God on The Breakfast Club. Charlamagne began by pressing Biden, telling him that "black people saved your political life in the primaries this year, and they have things they want from you, and one of them is a black woman running mate."

"I guarantee you that there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple," Biden said, just as he was interrupted by someone off-frame telling him his interview time was up.

"You can't do that to black media," Charlamagne protested.

"I can do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at six o'clock," Biden replied. Charlamagne, visibly peeved, told Biden he ought to pick up the conversation again down the line because "it's a long way to November, we've got more questions."

"You've got more questions," Biden said. "I'll tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, then you ain't black."

Charlamagne waved off Biden's comment, saying "it ain't have nothing to do with Trump, I want something for my community." While it's true that more than than 8 in 10 black Americans believe Trump is racist and 9 in 10 disapprove of his job in office, Biden's comment, even if it was directed specifically at Charlamagne, was clearly based on a sweeping generalization. "A white guy lecturing black Americans that they 'ain't black' if they don't vote for him is about as condescending and racist as it gets," tweeted Republican strategist Andrew Surabian.

"WTF..." added Virginia Republican congressional candidate Jeffery A Dove Jr. "Because I don't support your failed policies. Things like the '94 crime bill, Obamacare, and others, 'I ain't black' based on Joe Biden's words. That is basically saying the Dem party owns me because of skin color." You can watch below, starting around 16:17. Jeva Lange

February 28, 2020

Pollsters at The Associated Press and NORC gave the public a chance to describe presidential candidates in one word or short phrase. The results were... telling.

Democrats described former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as nearly equal parts "smart," "young," and "gay." Independents and Republicans were far more likely to describe him as "gay," as well as "inexperienced," and "centrist." Philanthropist Tom Steyer was more overwhelmingly described as "rich" by Democrats, while independents and Republicans opted for "inexperienced."

While former Vice President Joe Biden scored some mentions of "good person" among Democrats, he mostly got "old." Independents and Republicans also mostly called him "old," followed by "corrupt" and "creepy."

Democrats and independents similarly described Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as "old" at the highest rate, though Republicans went straight for "socialist," followed by "old," and "communist."

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is older than Biden and just months younger than Sanders, is universally regarded as "rich" (a fair assessment), and Republicans said he's "buying the election."

Democrats were split in describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as "smart" and "strong," though independents and Republicans view her primarily as a "liar," as well as "crazy" and a "woman," which is hardly up for debate.

While the Democratic candidates were generally regarded more positively by members of their own party, surveyed Republicans didn't come up with great words for President Trump. Most Republicans simply said "president," followed by "bumbling" and "jerk."

The AP-NORC poll was conducted Feb. 12-16 via phone interviews with 1,074 adults. The margin of error is ±4.2 percentage points. View the full results at AP-NORC. Summer Meza

January 26, 2019

The United States is behind Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wants the rest of the world onboard too.

On Saturday, Pompeo visited the United Nations in New York City and asked the body to acknowledge Guaidó as the legitimate leader of the South American nation. His call to back Guaidó comes amid democratic turmoil in the South American country, and it already has the European Union on his side, AFP reports.

In his Saturday address, Pompeo reiterated Vice President Mike Pence's earlier determination that Nicolás Maduro is a "dictator." The socialist leader claimed he won re-election in a vote widely seen as fraudulent last May, but Guaidó has declared himself "interim president" as he and opposition leaders call for a new election. Pompeo said it was time for the world to "pick a side" in the power struggle, telling the U.N. Security Council that "either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem," per AFP.

European leaders have since joined Pompeo's call, BBC notes. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted that "we do not seek to change or remove governments," but "we want democracy and free elections in Venezuela," while U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Maduro was "not the legitimate leader." Russia and China, though, have continued to back Maduro, with Russia's U.N. ambassador saying Saturday that Pompeo's move was a coup against Maduro's leadership.

The Wall Street Journal's David Luhnow used an analogy to President Trump and Congress to explain the whole leadership situation in a Twitter thread. Read it here. Kathryn Krawczyk

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