NEWS AND OPINION:
One question continues to draw the attention of the curious press, pollsters, analysts, and fans and enemies alike. At 80, does President Biden have the personal determination and energy — the “mo-Joe,” so to speak — to run for reelection when the time comes?
One well-informed source is sure of it.
“Even if Biden was a cadaver, he’d still run for reelection. He loves power. His family loves power and graft. He fought to get there and it will take him being dragged out by his fingertips to leave,” presidential historian Craig Shirley said in an exclusive statement to Inside the Beltway.
“Power is a very seductive thing. Name one president who ever walked away from power? Washington and the Founding Fathers but they were the exception. This is why the 22nd Amendment was passed; to limit presidential power. Lest we’d end up with another FDR,” Mr. Shirley continued, referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945, elected to an unprecedented four terms.
Mr. Shirley has more insight for us, though.
“William Tecumseh Sherman is the only man I can think of who could have been president but refused,” he said.
Indeed, that is the case for the distinguished and decorated Civil War general, who attended West Point, fought for the Union and stayed on the job for many years afterward.
“In February 1884, Sherman retired from the Army. He lived in St. Louis before moving to New York in 1886. There he devoted his time to theater, amateur painting and speaking at dinners and banquets. He declined to run for the presidency, saying, ‘I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected,’” noted Biography.com, an information site that is part of Hearst Digital Media.
WHAT THE PRESS SAYS
So, will President Biden run again? The question is fraught with drama and conflicting opinions. Here’s a sampling of headlines that have appeared in the last 48 hours:
“Biden may not run — and Democrats are quietly preparing,” Politico noted.
“Democrats getting antsy as Biden holds off on 2024 campaign launch,” the New York Post advised.
“Are Trump and Biden too old to run again?” asked MSNBC, expanding the question to include former President Donald Trump, who has already declared his intent to seek the highest office again.
This particular waiting game has gone on for a while. “Biden sends every signal he is running again,” advised The Washington Post — on June 17.
Some pondered the possibilities at an even earlier date. “A majority of voters don’t think Joe Biden will run again,” said CNN — on March 15.
And one more: “Biden is ‘planning to run again’ in 2024” noted Politico on Jan. 20, 2021 — the day he was inaugurated.
TRUMP PONDERS ‘PRIORITIES’
As he has in the past, former President Donald Trump still loves to ask voters pertinent questions in his frequent campaign messages.
Here’s the dozen he sent out Thursday — presumably to pick up insight from his fans as the 2024 election grows closer: “What are your biggest priorities?” the emailed questionnaire asked.
Respondents could pick as many as they liked from the following list, verbatim and complete with the extra capital letters which appeared in the questions:
Securing the border, stopping inflation, protecting YOUR rights, ending pointless wars, putting America FIRST, standing up to the woke agenda, fighting the deep state, ending Big Tech censorship, restoring integrity to our elections, Backing the Blue, standing up to China and Lowering Taxes.
The aforementioned “Blue” refers to law enforcement, of course. Mr. Trump also included space for respondents to add their own priorities which weren’t on the list, and added one more stand alone question: “Is Biden’s proxy war in Ukraine one of your priorities?” the questionnaire asked.
In the week of Feb. 13-19, Fox News once again bested CNN and MSNBC throughout the day and into the prime-time hours — earning 2.2 million average daily prime-time viewers and airing 86 of the top 100 cable news telecasts for the week.
Among the standouts: “The Five” drew an average nightly audience of 3.4 million, followed by “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (3.3 million); “Jesse Watters Primetime” (2.8 million) and “Hannity” (2.6 million).
Late-night funnyman Greg Gutfeld averaged 2 million viewers on “Gutfeld” — topping the after-hours competition on CBS, NBC and CBS. CNN’s “Overtime” with Bill Maher trailed with an audience of 400,000.
In the morning, “Fox & Friends” led the competition for the 100th week in a row with 1.3 million viewers, while “CNN This Morning” drew 348,000 viewers and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” attracted 935,000.
And one more victory of note: “Sunday Night in America With Trey Gowdy” was the top cable news show of the weekend, drawing an audience of 1.5 million viewers, defeating CNN’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” which attracted 582,000 viewers.
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POLL DU JOUR
• 29% of U.S. adults think that the Democratic Party is more responsible for the current level of the national debt; 55% of Republicans, 20% of Democrats and 20% of independents agree.
• 40% overall the two parties are equally responsible for the current debt; 26% of Republicans, 35% of Democrats and 59% of independents agree.
• 24% overall say the Republican Party is more responsible; 17% of Republicans, 42% of Democrats and 15% of independents agree.
• 6% overall say neither party is more responsible; 2% of Republicans, 3% of Democrats and 6% of independents agree.
SOURCE: An NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll of 1,352 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 13-16 and released Thursday.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.