President Biden on Tuesday was mocked by critics on social media after briefly stumbling through a line during an Arlington, Virginia, campaign event for fellow Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is in a tough gubernatorial race in the state.
Biden was onstage with McAuliffe when his speech turned to the candidate’s previous record as governor in the state.
“In fact, we’re taking a page from Terry’s book when he was governor and when he’d be governor next time,” Biden said. “We’re emerging from this pandemic…we want to expand pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds—millions of [inaudible] students.”
The Republican National Committee posted a 15-second clip of the video and wrote, “Huh?”
Biden’s top critics have pointed out times in his presidency that they say he became incoherent during speeches. Just last week, social media users mocked the president for holding his arms bent with his fists clinched during a CNN town hall. They accuse the White House of limiting the president’s press exposure because of these moments.
His defenders call these criticisms petty. As president, he is one of the most scrutinized people on Earth. They point out that we are living in an age of hyperpartisanship where every movement, hand gesture and snafu is put under the microscope.
Biden was in Virginia in hopes to give McAuliffe the extra boost he needs to win in the closely watched gubernatorial election that many say could be disastrous for Democrats in the event of a Republican victory.
No Republican has won statewide office in Virginia since 2009, and Biden carried it by a comfortable 10 percentage points in 2020. Yet polls have shown McAuliffe tied with Youngkin and the president’s own popularity is on the decline.
Biden told the crowd that Youngkin “not only embraces some of the essential lack of character, he endorses Donald Trump’s bad ideas and bad record.”
McAuliffe said Youngkin “is ending his campaign the way he started it: With divisive dog whistles.”
“We have a choice: A path that promotes conspiracies, hate, division, or a path focused on lifting up every single Virginian,” McAuliffe said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report