2:00PM Water Cooler Special: Reader Report from the Field on Biden in New Hampshire (and It’s Ugly. Very Ugly. Come ON, Man)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Alert and long-time reader Petal attended a Biden rally Friday, August 23, at Alumni Hall in Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center, Hanover, NH, the first of his two campaign appearances that day. There were 400 people in the hall, and another 150 outside (Manchester Union-Leader). Petal attended, and wrote up a report on the rally in the form of a long comment; I’m hoisting that comment in this post, and then adding some Q&A from readers from the same thread. The media coverage focused, as it does, on a Biden “gaffe,” this one about Obama being assassinated (WaPo; AP; Reuters).

Here is Petal’s report, which I have lightly copy-edited. I also integrated some material from Petal further down in the comment thread in square brackets, [thus].

Okay, here it is. I’m so very sorry for the length but there was a lot, and there’s a lot I think people should know about.

The press has left out so much. If you have questions, please ask and I’ll do my best to answer them. I have probably forgotten things, and I’m a scientist, not a health care wonk, so I may not have used the correct term, like in the premium part as I do not really understand it. I hope this write-up sheds a little light on what’s going on, though. Tried to translate my quickly-scrawled notes best I could.

[I tried to write down his actual wording as much as possible for accuracy, and went in chronological order so people could get a feel for what it was like to be there, and the flow. I had a small 5×8 notepad and took 13-14 pages of notes. It is not fair that so few of our populace gets to ever be in the same room as any candidate and then is expected to pick one of these people they’ve never been in the same room with let alone question, to lead our country and hold so many lives in their hands. It’s all rather ridiculous and a bit of a scam. I think all of these “town halls” or campaign stops should be videoed start to finish and put on the web for all to see-with zero editing.]

I got there at 3pm and “Everyday People” was playing. Place was empty so I got an aisle seat in the second row to the left of the lectern if you are looking at it. The back of my head is in all the news video-from WMUR to the Daily Mail haha. It slowly filled up and when it was almost to start at 4ish, a guy near me said there were still about 200 people outside that had wanted to get in. There was a legit press area set up in the back of the hall. Six video cameras set up, and tables for the all of the news agencies(NBC, CNN, AP, all the local and tri-state stations, Union Leader, Boston Globe). On the way in, his staff members had been trying to grab people to fill out “surveys” and hand over their email addresses. They did this after, too. The crowd was majority retired elderly NPR tote-bagger types, and some undergrad college students. There was a small handful of medical students there. There was zero security. They even had “Call Me Al” in the music playlist.

First up they had a young lady, Lauren, (college-aged?). I couldn’t tell. She was shouting into the mic to get people wound up. She started telling about how nine years ago her mother was diagnosed with MM [multiple myeloma] and was given a few months to live, and how the ACA saved her mother because of the pre-existing condition rule, and how it guaranteed her mother access to health insurance and her mother is still alive. That got my goat, because I had a close family friend pass away from MM a few years ago and sometimes it’s (survival) just dumb luck.

Second up was a woman who said she was a nurse, Heather LaDue. She was saying how she is on the front line of health care and how because of the ACA, addicts can get treatment for their addiction. She went on about how people get worried about not being covered. She was really pushing access, and how it is necessary to build upon the ACA. She then was talking about how access shouldn’t depend on what you look like or your sex, and talked about women being victims of domestic violence. Then she said “we cannot allow four more years of misogyny and lies and we must beat Trump!” And how Biden will listen, unify, and lead with dignity and prosperity. I found her to be a bit obnoxious. I don’t know where they find these people.

Then Biden came out. As I said last night, very frail, fragile, and super thin. Slow, deliberate steps. Skin was tissue-papery and getting to that translucent stage that very elderly people can have. I was so shocked. He looks at least 85-90, not 76. And I’ve seen healthier, more vibrant 90-year olds! He called himself a big “consumer of healthcare”, trotted out the dead son spending time in hospital and said how more nurses are needed, especially in mental health. He said Climate Change is an existential threat. He started pushing American Exceptionalism and said how he is concerned about the state of the nation, and said we (the public) have to stop walking around like things are really bad, and that our nation is in trouble as long as “this man is President”, you know, because you know, apparently things are just great for us regular schmoes.

Then he started his health care spiel, which was the reason for the visit. He said we need to come to a level setting and figure out how much it costs and how to do it, and how the primary debates among candidates should be about the future, and how can a person’s dignity be maintained if they cannot afford health care. He again trotted out Dead Son (DS from here on out as he was brought up so many times I lost count) and the brain tumor that happened after he came home from Iraq. He asked for hands of people in the crowd that lost someone to cancer. He said how he had said passing the ACA was a “huge step forward” at the time, it extended insurance to 20 million, and he was really harping on the pre-existing condition thing. He said the job must be finished and health care is a right, not a privilege and that everyone deserves peace of mind. At this time, he was having trouble coming up with words, and he’d randomly stop in the middle of a sentence for awkward seconds, as if he had lost his way or had forgotten. He said other Democrat candidates want to get rid of Obamacare, and that his healthcare plan costs 1/30th of M4A.

His new affordable public health option (BidenCare) would allow people to buy into Medicare. He made a point of saying if you have an awesome Union backed healthcare plan or an employer plan, you can keep it. It moves the cap to 8.5% and that the premium would be based on the most expensive plan (?) and would lower deductibles. He wants to “throw the book” at Pharma, brought up the number of opioids sold. Then went into using the power of Medicare to negotiate with Pharma. He said the color of your skin/zip code/gender shouldn’t affect care. He said Trump is at this very minute in court to get rid of Obamacare. He again brought up access to healthcare/insurance for addiction.

He moved into “Cancer” next. He called our local cancer center “Norris Cancer Center” when it is in fact the “Norris Cotton Cancer Center” as in Norris Cotton was the Senator of NH that got the cancer center built. Oops. He brought up DARPA, and how he wants to make one for cancer, and that it would take an entrepreneurial approach to healthcare research. He wants next generation MRIs that are portable and affordable and can lead to “detection of early diseases.” He said something about a critical eye prosthesis that can talk with the brain; and clinical trials for drug regimes to reduce toxicity and cancer. He could not spit out “de-escalation.” He tried a few times to say it and couldn’t. He said the Chinese are investing 10s-100s of millions (or billions) in AI. He said there’s not a single thing we cannot do together, that Trump is dividing us on purpose by ethnicity, race, national origin, that he is a charlatan and is doing it to maintain power.

Then he went into saying how Quantum Computing can be developed to be used to build a database of the cancer genome. At this point he seemed to have trouble concentrating, and then his health care spiel was finished. It lasted about 30 minutes. Next was the Q&A.

[The handlers tried to cut off question session after 3 questions, I think. Then he wouldn’t stop talking and he took like 2 more and kept on rambling. The prepared script sounds about right, tbh. It was like going down a list and checking boxes, trying to stuff topic after topic in even though it was supposed to be about health care.][2]

The first question was a little odd. The questioner said she worked for an HIV agency, and that she had spoken to him before about all of this-which seemed odd to me, right? Her point was that HIV patients can’t get better if they are homeless, and that they need housing, and asked how he planned to help with that. Instead of answering her question, he went into talking about his Cancer Moonshot and went off on a cancer tangent. It was at this stage I noticed a few red, open sores on his forehead. [The small bright red sores were noticeable from 3′ away. There were like 3 of them.[1]]

The second question was a Parkinson’s patient who said he had completed a study on drug pricing for the two NH senators. Another thing that struck me as odd — like were these two people plants or something? He asked about research funding and bettering the drug approval process. Biden talked about EpiPens, insulin costs, and how he wants to bring in a panel like Germany has that sets drug costs so “a healthy profit can be made” by pharma companies but while not ripping off the public. It gets better — then he went on some tangent about how no one else in the world has his own War Memorial and a whole memorial highway named after him like DS does in Kosovo! This led to another tangent about how DS had Ankylosing Spondylitis (I have had AS for 30+ years now, no burn pits) and how he thinks he got it from bacterial exposure from burn pits in Iraq. He really played up DS a lot and turned him into this big tragic war hero. He said “Drug companies are not all bad guys.” He said he will end the drug advertising tax write-off.

Then some guy who was middle aged but standing with the college student group off to the side shouted and interrupted. He asked a question about support for Unions. Biden was irritated and said how he (Biden) is a Union Man and he’d talk to him later (of course).

Question three was from a med student sitting near me. He asked about how to best get medical grads to go to rural areas. Biden said the M4A plan would lead to closure of rural hospitals (!) because they cannot afford to stay open with only Medicare payments coming in. He said he would give free tuition to students that practiced in rural areas, then changed that to pro-rated payback based on how long they practice in a rural area.

Question four asked about health effects of climate change and that his plan wouldn’t do enough to lower climate change/carbon emissions. It’s almost like it was all planned ahead of time… So then he said how he was the person who has had a global warming plan the longest (way back in 1986-87). Would build 500,000 charging stations for electric cars, how we should be owning the electric car market and that GM is in big trouble because they didn’t invest in electric cars. Brought up increasing offshore wind capacity, there’s plenty of money to do what’s needed. How farmers can be the first industry to be carbon neutral through soil carbon sequestration, how we should be the ones to make new tech to take carbon out of the air and be an exporter of that to the rest of the world. He said when he was put in charge of the Recovery Act he made sure there was a low rate of waste and fraud, that NH needs a rail system to take cars off the road here in NH… which makes me think he doesn’t know much about NH. But I digress. He brought up the fast trains, especially down the east coast from Boston to DC. The first thing he’d do as President would be to re-join the Paris Accord. He talked about teaming up with “Jay” which I took as Inslee, so stay tuned on that. He said 85% of global warming is due to the rest of the world and he got China to sign onto the Paris Accord, said he’s been called an expert in foreign policy and has met every important leader in the last 30 years. He joked about Boris Johnson being a heartthrob (totally slated Boris), and he said “Putin is a thug” and got big applause from the crowd. He wants a DC follow-up meeting to the Paris Accord to get the rest of the world in on the deal. He wants to gain the confidence of the rest of the world and make it expensive for those not participating in the deal/Accord. He spoke about China exporting coal from Mongolia, and how he wants to make it illegal for them to sell it in the US.

Question six was a psychologist pushing Obamacare, how it saved people, and he wanted to shake Biden’s hand (then after was looking for a photo of this). This guy however did make a point of saying how the ACA was bad for small businesses and their employees like around our area because the plans have very high deductibles so people cannot access healthcare. His second point was that teachers are not trained to deal with mental health issues in students. Biden replied he wanted kids to start school at age three and raise teacher pay. He completely ignored (or forgot) the first question about the high ACA plan deductibles. He said ages 15-22 are most worried about school shootings, and how this generation was the “most sophisticated” generation ever. He then went off on a tangent never to be seen again…He said he called the DoD every day to learn how many are dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, said 300,000 have PTSD, Trump is not funding the VA, brought up soldier suicides and how more psych nurses are needed. He brought up DS again, then talked about how he (JB) was pinning Silver Stars on guys in the Kovar (sp) Valley [the Khyber Pass? –lambert] in Afghanistan. Kept bringing up how he had been there a bunch of times, etc., like some old soldier telling war stories. He said he wants to fund mental health clinics in rural areas because mental illness is creating addiction. Then he went right into free community college to provide retraining for qualified people, and how he had been the poorest man in Congress. There had been no segues, he was just rambling on and on and on and jumping all over to random things.

Lots and lots of rambling and he rambled to what has been in the news this morning: his “gaffe” about Obama being assassinated, and said that what Trump has done to this generation is what the deaths of RFK and MLK did to his generation. Then he brought up the ERA, the time he was accused of being gay, how his dad said to him “it’s simple, they love each other” when they saw 2 guys kiss (so he has by then hit all of the IdPol boxes). He made fun of Trump saying it’s like some kind of movie and parroted “I am the savior,” etc.

Throughout the whole event, he kept saying “y’all” a lot, and “Come on, man.”

I also heard an older guy being interviewed after, and he said how he thinks the country isn’t quite ready for Warren, but the country is ready for “this guy” Biden.

Showing up two hours early to get a seat; that’s dedication! Petal’s report reminds me vividly of CBS reporter Lesley Stahl on Regain in the summer of 1986; see here and search on “frail.”) My point is most definitely not to make an armchair diagnosis, but to bring home Stahl’s point: “We all looked the other way.”


[1] Alert reader grayslady: “On the open red facial sores: My best friend, who is in his 80s, recently went through a period where he was constantly undergoing freezing, surgery or biopsies for various types of skin cancer. He frequently had these red, oozing areas that were in the process of healing after treatment. If Biden is experiencing the same thing, that would explain the sores and probably also explain another reason, besides his son’s death, that he couldn’t stop thinking about the subject of cancer.”

[2] More from Petal on the Q&A: “I saw for the first question they weirdly went to a woman in the middle section, mid-way back of the room, in the middle of a row when there were plenty of hands up that were much easier to get to. They zeroed right in on her very quickly. Based on that and the 2nd questioner conveniently 2nd row end of row (after he said he had just done a drug price survey for our 2 esteemed NH senators), I started to wonder if it was a bit of a set-up and then I didn’t even bother trying. I know the med student wasn’t pre-planned, though. I reckon it wasn’t even supposed to last that long to get to the med student as they had tried to end it after 3.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Politics on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Tomonthebeach

    Excellent rundown. Thought I was there. Sounds like you felt there was a choreographed event.
    Although my psychologist colleagues have been silent on his mental health, your vivid description of Biden’s appearance maps on to my impression of his health. Looking 10 years older than your age is not a good sign. Many of us have noted his weight loss exceeds the personal-trainer effect. Campaigning is stressful. Couple that with the recent spate of gaffs, and you have shrinking frontal lobes and other neurological issues associated with failing health.

    My hypothesis is that Biden thinks he is making the ultimate sacrifice for the Party (better to die in the White House than on page 2 of the WAPO, right?). The ACA stuff was a pathetic rerun of Obama-era talking points. To me, and some of my over-70 pals, Biden is that last gasp of Clinton neoliberal capitalist philosophy that has guided the DNC and robbed America of a genuine choice at the poles. We want to advance to Obama’s progressive (but abandoned) vision. Meanwhile, in Seattle……

    1. Micahel Fiorillo

      “Obama’s Progressive (but abandoned) vision?”

      Well, if by that you mean the abandonment of his progressive electoral marketing pitch – Advertising Age’s “Marketer of the Year, 2009,” after all – then OK, maybe.

      Then again, no: the “progressive vision,” like the man himself, was a con from the beginning: criminal bankers going free, while teachers and public education were attacked, immense loss of family wealth, especially among African-Americans (whom he invariably scolds and condescends to when addressing) while the Overclass was grossly enriched, silence while public workers were attacked in Wisconsin and bravely fought back, reckless neglect of the state and local Democratic Party, millions of deportations, attacks on whistle blowers, supporting a coup in Honduras, slave markets in Libya as a result of his intervention (can you imagine the hysteria on the part of the #McResistance TM if that occurred under Trump?)… and on and on.

      And now his $400,000 speeches to Wall St and expropriation of public parkland in Chicago for his Ozymandias-like Temple To Himself; no, there was nothing to abandon: the man was a shape-shifting fraud from the beginning.

      1. SpartaTodd

        +10000000 to you sir! Why can’t people be honest about what a fraud Obama was and not understand it doesn’t mean you think Trump is good. Such a lack of critical thinking in the US today. Everyone should be held to the same standards and flogged if they are charlatans.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Because many people are still emotionally invested in their past investment in the Truthiness of the Hope-iness and the Change-iness. It would still hurt them too much to admit to themselves that it was all just a foam rubber hologram.

          1. swangeese

            That’s part of it, but I believe that idpol plays a significant role.

            Becoming the first Black President was a such a milestone that I think it makes some people ,particularly liberals, reticent to criticize Obama’s performance in office. Not that criticism makes one automatically racist, but that it just looks bad. I mean the evil GOP was stonewalling Obama the whole time and the man was just trying to survive his term.

            So if his performance in office was subpar, then he gets a pass.

            It’s ridiculous ,but I get that argument all the time from my NYT, WaPo, and MSNBC loving mom. Who is an intelligent person and otherwise a critical thinker, but is a Boomer who still thinks of the MSM like it was in the Cronkite days. And it’s ‘fake news’ if it comes from a source that is not MSM. Woe be to me if I mention a news source that has anything to do with Russia. lol

            I still try. Not that I’m perfect because the Obama campaign suckered me into voting for him twice. Ouch.

            In short Obama has become a symbol for racial progress rather than the human being that served as President.

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              He had a Democratic House and Senate for his first two years; the GOP wasn’t yet in a position to stonewall him, had he any real interest in pursuing a progressive agenda. In those first two years the die was cast, especially in regard to bailouts for the banks and a kick in the throat to homeowners.

              I was teaching in the NYC public schools at that time, and the viciousness and cynicism with which teachers and the public schools were attacked (while criminal bankers wallowed in their bonuses) was not one iota different from what we endured under Bush or Trump. If anything, it was worse, precisely because it had that false veneer of racial progress.

              And yes, it may look bad but I don’t really care, and would go so far as to say that Barry’s shape-shifting essence extends to his purported Blackness, as well. Before he got the Democratic nomination in 2008, that was a legitimate topic of discussion among African-Americans, and rightly so, given his background and behaviors. Only in the aftermath of his election did it become a Taboo subject.

      2. SpartaTodd

        +10000000 to you sir! Why can’t people be honest about what a fraud Obama was and not understand it doesn’t mean you think Trump is good. Such a lack of critical thinking in the US today. Everyone should be held to the same standards and flogged if they are charlatans.

    1. Ken

      A long, long, long way from senility. Typical older person with some loss of mental acuity (like the undersigned). Sanders is rare at his age with his very sharp mental capabilities. They’re both too old for me. Mental fitness and physical fitness are both needed to be tip-top for a good President.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Obama was young, strong and at the peak of fitness. But he used his strength and youth to serve evil.

        I would rather see old Sanders doing some good as President than to see a younger Catfood Clintonite doing lots of evil as President with his/her younger stronger energy.

  2. Ignacio

    “The ROW is 85% responsible of global warming”
    That sounds pretty much as he, if elected, would be going to take it easy, calm down and do nothing but signing a treaty. His big plan in a single phrase.

    1. Ignacio

      Sorry I forgot to give my thanks to Petal for his contribution. I agree, the best way to get a sense of candidates is to see them, and their accompaniyng theater, live. Thanks a lot!

    2. Dwight

      Biden is saying that U.S. is responsible for 15% of current greenhouse gas emissions, which is correct per Wikipedia. That does not mean that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have only caused 15% of global warming, because historical emissions have to be considered, as the U.S. recognized in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. That treaty also stated the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, which said that all countries had to act but rich countries had to act first in light of their greater historical and current emissions and their greater capacity. The U.S. always opposed acting first, like when the Senate voted 96-0 in 1998 (Byrd/Hagel Resolution) to refuse any treaty protocol on binding emissions reduction targets that did not include China. Biden should know all this, but perpetuates the China excuse for inaction. Typical Democrat soft climate denier. Of course we are now a quarter century down the road and China’s emissions have skyrocketed, but a different path might have been possible if the U.S. had acted. Instead, it just offshored emissions to China, which Biden but not Sanders supported with permanent MFN for China.

      1. Mattski

        And–of course–a lot of the emissions in poor countries come from plants producing products for First World consumption AS WELL AS industrial conditions patterned on the developing world’s, sourced by First World vendors, etc/

    1. petal

      Figured it would be an adventure, experience, a public service haha. My life has not turned out even close to how I had hoped, but, I have some stories! The NC community is my oasis and gives me a sense of belonging every day, so it is the least I can do.

      1. Alice X

        Thank you! I opened up this piece just as another Biden email came in titled: my story (please read alice)

        I know Biden’s story and it isn’t good.

      2. shinola

        And another Thank You from a regular NC reader. Your endurance & reporting are greatly appreciated.

      3. JaaaaayCeeeee

        Thank you Petal, for your reporting on Biden’s rally, for all the reasons others have mentioned.

        You seem to be that the rare, fast, note taker who can think and summarize while furiously taking notes.

        People who can do this are valuable and often really fair, in their summarizing, so I concur that it really felt like I was there, after reading your notes.

      4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        If NC is an Oasis, then this report was a big, cold glass of high quality H2O!!!

        Thanks for writing this!!!

  3. notabanker

    Wow, thanks for this post.

    Evidently today’s ‘gaffe’ was pointing out how much he loves being in Vermont when he was in New Hampshire. I’m guessing there will be some elegant way to announce his withdrawal from the race in a few weeks now that they are pumping Warren.

    1. ambrit

      No. Biden and Warren as a tag team to keep Sanders from getting a first round clinch on the Dem Party nomination. Neither by themselves can manage this, but together, it is possible.
      Then on to the brokered convention.

      1. worldblee

        Don’t worry, if Biden drops out they have plenty of other do-nothing-good, corporate, center-right DNC types they can pump up to fill the void. Kamala Harris, Pete G, and others…

      2. WJ

        This is 100% right. Warren’s supporters are basically all white, college educated, upper decile professionals. She has very little support among the >40 crowd and minorities and unions. Sanders would destroy here in a head-to-head primary simply because her support is limited to the elite.

        Biden is draining Sanders of the minority and union advantage he would enjoy over Warren.

        It would be better, imo, to knock Biden out first and then deal with Warren. All the other corporate Dems have been tried and have failed miserably. If Biden is embarrassed out of the race sooner rather than later Sanders has excellent chance against rest of the field. Biden’s supporters all go to Sanders.

        1. russell1200

          Harris is obviously hoping she can get the establishment black voters to switch to her even before Biden drops. It seems an extreme stretch to say all of Biden’s supporters go to Sanders.

          Warren has the college elite (paraphrasing your description) because they are paying attention early. Which is far from saying that they are the only group that would be interested in her.

          Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada narrow the field. And then they head south. Nevada has some odd polling, so that could be an interesting one. But if Harris gets knocked out of the race early, I don’t see why that couldn’t help Biden as much as anyone else.

      3. Code Name D

        Agreed. The super deligates can then hand the nomination to just about anyone. I suspect Harris is still the anointed one, if not Bidden. And there is always the speckter of Hillary hovering just off stage. (It has been predicted she might jump in at the last minute. While I find this hard to belive, I can’t quite shake it eather.) Old Joe will not drop out, even if they have to cart him around strapped to a hand-truck.

        But I am now wondering if Joe can even last to the Primaries. What if his health is failing?

        Did you get any pictures we might compare with current coverage? To see if the media is doctering the video?

        1. kimsarah

          You don’t think Hillary will pop out from behind the curtain, clutching hands with Warren, her running mate? The stage has been set, and is being played out before us.

          1. Code Name D

            You don’t think Hillary will pop out from behind the curtain, clutching hands with Warren, her running mate?

            Actually, I would describe it more like a Hillary zombie, clawing her way out of her political grave, eating Warren’s brains, and taking her place.

            I know the press has been pushing Warren – but only because she is, apart from Bidden, the only thing between Bernie and the nomination. But Warren will never get the nomination.

  4. Watt4Bob

    So it looks as if the DNC will be carefully framing the VP choice because it’s obvious JB is on his last legs?

    I can see it now, unfortunately, a 30 minute standing ovation as she approaches the podium…

    I’m so mad at myself for having this disgusting thought.

    That and the four more years thing.

    1. Code Name D

      OMG!!! I can so see it!!

      1. Bernie pulls ahead in the primary.
      2. But Bernie can’t win enough delegates to keep it from going to the second round.
      3. Super Delegates hand the nomination to Joe
      4. Joe elects Hillary as his VP pick.
      5. At some point, Joe is forced to drop out because of health issues.
      6. Hillary becomes the Democratic Nominee and tries a re-match against Trump
      7. Gets crushed again in the general election. Loses by an even wider margin than before.

      It’s so clear now.

      1. Musicismath

        8. DNC and media unanimous that only the intervention of Russian trolls could explain this latest inexplicable defeat.

      2. 1 kings

        Hey genius,we all despise Hilary for pretty much everything she stands for, but she did defeat Trump by 3 mill votes.

        1. psv

          I’ve used the baseball analogy. Until the rules change, your team getting more hits than the other team doesn’t mean much if you don’t score more runs.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          3 million votes from literally only one state out of 50 aka California.

          Those votes def didnt come from flyover country.

  5. JohnnyGL


    Not a ton of coverage of this mis-step from Biden….messing up the state he’s in. VT vs. NH. It seems like these weird statements come out of every campaign stop he makes.

    Now, 2 polls showing Biden’s running neck-and-neck with Sanders and Warren (YouGov and Monmouth).

    This now looks like a 3 horse race, but I wonder if it’ll be a 2 horse race by the time Iowa comes around.

    1. Jen

      I suspect it will be one long before then. Biden has only been running since, what? April? And he’s down by double digits from where he started. He, like Hillary is not a candidate who improves upon further acquaintance.

  6. Synoia

    Huge ! Effort! Must ! Stop! Sanders ! Even ! If ! It ! Kills ! Me !

    Save ! The ! Democratic ! Donors ! From ! Sanders ! Deliver them To Trump !

    Contribute ! To ! Joe Biden’s! Retirement Fund ! Now !

    Joe is running to collect a huge retirement gift from his loss of office.

  7. Carl

    My god…it does sound like Reagan. This guy is done, toast. Thank you, Petal, for the real story.

    1. ambrit

      Yeah, but, the dilapidated Reagan ran for and won a second term. Never underestimate the power of a well run public relations campaign.

      1. Mike Mc

        Yeah, but now we’re looking for it. Biden was Joe Bye Done before this all started up; couldn’t beat HRC or Obama in 2008; thirty years earlier he was plagiarizing crap for THAT campaign. He is the Last Great White Hope and if he dies in the traces, he can be a martyr for the Democratic Party on their way to oblivion.

        1. Lil’D

          There will be many moments over the next 15 months

          But “My time is up” from the first episode of DNC: Survivor is still my favorite

        2. ambrit

          “We” does a lot of heavy lifting here. The NC commenteriat is not typical of the general population. ‘Mindfulness’ in the Zen tradition is not taught in this society very much.
          My main complaint with the “New Stoicism” is that the problems faced now are existential for, at the least, Western Civilization. The consequences of doing nothing are dire.

  8. Jeff W

    “Kovar (sp) Valley”

    Maybe it’s the Korangal (or Korengal) Valley (aka “the Valley of Death”) in Kunar province in Afghanistan.

    Biden referred to it in his October, 2012 debate with Paul Ryan (“I’ve been up in the Konar (ph) Valley. I’ve been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter, and sometimes in a vehicle.”) and (maybe) in his (oddly-mangled) “prepared remarks” when he awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal to Senator John McCain (“Like John I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq over thirty-five times. I’ve had the honor of putting silver stars on people in the file [sic] up in the Upper Coroner [sic] Valley.”).

      1. Jeff W

        Oh, gosh, no need to be sorry. You did a great job! I really appreciate your account! (And, apparently, the people who are transcribing things like this professionally aren’t exactly taking the time to look them up either.)

  9. petal

    Wow. I’m floored. Thank you, Lambert. I am truly honoured. I am glad to have been able to contribute.

    I got to Alumni Hall an hour early, at 3pm when the doors opened, and the show started a little after 4pm. My deep apologies if I wasn’t clear on that. At 3pm, hardly anyone was there but for the press, staffers, and a few of us citizens, so I didn’t have to rush for a good seat-which was odd because the town parking garage was essentially full. I thought for sure I’d be out of luck. It took a while for the seats to fill. The latest is that Biden doesn’t remember where at Dartmouth he spoke on Friday-he doesn’t know if he was at the medical school or somewhere else, just “somewhere on campus”(it was the performing arts center). It seems like people may be starting to pick up on these things.

    And for readers not familiar with New England, Keene NH(which he mistook for VT), is about 17 miles east of the VT border. He was closer to VT when at Dartmouth(~500 feet).

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for your report. It’s very good.

      Of course last time there were all those rumors about Hillary’s health. Should it, as snarkily suggested above, become Biden/Clinton for the ticket then next in line would be Pelosi who’s not looking all that great either.

      Clearly the slogan for Gabbard’s struggling campaign should have been: ‘likely to make it through the four years.’

  10. dearieme

    I’m an admirer of the two term limit.

    Ideally you ought also to have a formalised way of vetting the health of presidents and candidates, but it’s very hard to imagine how such a thing could avoid becoming a partisan and morally corrupt device, and not just in the halls of Congress. Suppose for example that after the assassination attempt on Reagan it had been a consequence of such a hypothetical law that his health should have been assessed. Suppose that cost him office. That would give even more of an incentive to nutcases and malefactors to shoot presidents.

    In which case, you’ll have to trust democracy: the electors need to realise that Hands-on Joe isn’t remotely up to the job.

    And yet: last time I thought it pretty likely that Hellary’s health wasn’t up to it but that doesn’t seem to have cost her the election – it seemed to be her vile character that mattered more.

    1. pretzelattack

      i just wish after the alzheimer’s kicked in there could have been an assessment of his fitness for office. after all, he wasn’t remotely up for the job.

  11. The Rev Kev

    At this point in time Biden could fall of his perch and the DNC would wheel him around like “Weekend at Bernie’s” with a ventriloquists standing nearby muttering things like “I’m a union man” and “Now about my dead son…”

    1. Summer

      That is exactly the plan. They hope he gets elected, they put him to bed, and only wheel him out for appearances.

      No one could ever be as cynical as the DNC.

      1. polecat

        It’ll be Capt. Pike 2.0 … green for yes … red for no.

        .. but mostly the middle blue-light indicator.. for “beats me ??”.

  12. Summer

    So all that executive power that’s been tossed out there…who is going to be using it if this scam is pulled off?

    If he stays in the race long enough, this may be the DNCs way of getting their choice through the VP appointment. Kind of crap that is right up their alley.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I always found this amusing since the Constitution lists the qualifications to be President. Hillary meets everyone, making her the most qualified candidate ever. Never mind, every major nominee except John McCain meets the qualifications.

          1. Matthew

            Well and also, the ultimate qualification for being president is being able to win the election, so hearing this even after she lost — which I did, plenty of times — was particularly infuriating.

  13. Kurtismayfield

    After this weekend I am awaiting some centrist to “Take up the mantle of Biden’s campaign” after he drops out. The centrists desperately need their straw to siphon off delegates.

  14. Keith Newman

    Interesting account of political choreography with the main actor (Biden) showing signs of dementia.Thanks Petal.
    By contrast Bernie Sanders did a recent one hour+ interview on a California TV show and was very sharp. I understand why big business interests and their Democratic Party don’t want him.

  15. mauisurfer

    ” He spoke about China exporting coal from Mongolia, and how he wants to make it illegal for them to sell it in the US. ”
    Mongolia does have lots of coal, and they sell most of it to China, where it gets burned. I do not know of any Mongolian coal being sold in USA. I do not know of any Mongolian coal that gets sold by China at all. China is world’s largest importer and user of coal. Why would China buy coal and then sell it? And why to USA which has plenty of coal?
    Australia also produces lots of coal, and most of it is sold to China. Does Biden have a plan for that?

    1. petal

      Yes. I was sitting there thinking “huh?” on that. I know that China buys a lot of coal from Australia, so why would they export their own? It made no sense. I don’t know if anyone else picked up on that.

    2. petal

      I used to watch the freighters go in and out of Newcastle, Australia when I went to the beach or down to the harbourside. It’s the world’s largest coal export port. Unfortunately these candidate shows are not set up so you can stand up and challenge. It ended up being another one of those statements that gets filed away and tacked onto the “wtf? list”.

    3. polecat

      Maybe he was having thoughts of bad Mongolian BBQ …

      Defintely Don’t want to import any of THAT to the States ! Right, Joe ?

    4. Fíréan

      There are different types of coal, and each used for differing purposes, just as with “oil” . heavy, light etc.
      Though China is a major importer of coals, coals ‘plural’ as are differing types, so is China a major exporter.

      Biden visited Mongolia in 2011 :” Biden hails ties with resource rich Mongolia ” ( i can’t access the link as is behind usa firewall ).
      Could the situation be that China resells excess Mongolian soursed coal, which China acquires at low cost from source and has monopoly, and surplus to requirements with that type.

      though the man may suffer from confusion or worse, there may be something behind what he says. (?)

      Looking further in to this subject.

      1. Ian Perkins

        This looks like the article that’s firewalled; maybe this version isn’t.

        “Mongolia is opening up its vast coal reserves to foreign investors, hoping to stimulate growth and pull thousands of people out of poverty in the mineral-rich but still underdeveloped country.
        Last month US mining giant Peabody Energy said it was among the firms chosen to help develop a section of the highly coveted Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in the Gobi desert, although later reports said the deal was still under negotiation.
        Tavan Tolgoi is one of the world’s largest coal fields with 6.4 billion tonnes of reserves, and competition for the government contracts to develop it has been intense.”

    5. dearieme

      There are different types of coal so it is logically possible for a country to export one type and import another. Whether China plays that game I don’t know. Speaking from ignorance I’d bet against.

      P.S. The petal report was tip-top.

  16. mauisurfer

    Although the United States produces a large amount of coal—about 756 million short tons (MMst) in 2018—some coal-burning power plants along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Ocean sometimes find it cheaper to import coal from other countries than to obtain coal from U.S. coal-producing regions.

    In 2018, the United States consumed about 687 MMst of coal and imported about 6 MMst of coal. Coal imports were equal to about 0.9% of U.S. coal consumption in 2018.
    U.S. coal exports

    The United States is a net exporter of coal, meaning that it exports more coal to other countries than it imports. In 2012, U.S. coal exports reached a record high of 126 MMst, equal to 12% of U.S. coal production. U.S. coal exports declined each year from 2012 through 2016 and then increased in 2017. In 2017, the United States exported about 97 MMst of coal—equal to about 13% of U.S. coal production—to at least 42 countries.

    Nealy all of U.S. coal imports in 2018 were from five countries. The top five source countries of U.S. coal imports, the amount imported, and their percent shares of total U.S. coal imports in 2018 were

    Colombia—4.06 MMst—68%
    Indonesia—0.92 MMst—15%
    Canada—0.77 MMst—13%
    Russia—0.08 MMst—1%
    South Africa—0.05 MMst—1%

    1. Another Scott

      My understanding is that most of the coal imports from Colombia go to power plants in Florida because it is easier and cheaper to ship by barge from Colombia than it is by train from the Appalachians or Wyoming.

  17. Stillfeelinthebern


    Big political news out of Wisconsin. Republican Congressman Sean Duffy is resigning because his 9th child due in October has a serious medical condition. A local reported tweeted that he had just made updates to his campaign website a few hours before his resignation announcement.

    This is the seat that was held by well respected Democrat David Obey, but was gerrymandered in 2011 to make it certain Republican. Cook Political rerated from Rep to lean Republican. Could be interesting.

  18. polecat

    Does any else feel like they fell into some quantum phoam .. and found themselves awakened to a different universe, where all the politics is akin to looking through a kaleidoscope .. while trippin on bad acid ??
    It sure does to me.

  19. mauisurfer

    Mongolia earned 169.2 million U.S. dollars from coal exports to China in January, the Mongolian Customs General Administration (MCGA) said Tuesday.

    The Asian country exported a total of 2.1 million tons of coal in January, virtually all to China, the MCGA said in a statement, adding that the figure is an increase of around 192,000 tons from the same period last year.

    Coal is the landlocked country’s main export commodity. The country exported a total of 36.5 million tons of coal last year, reaching an all-time high.

    The country has set a goal to increase coal exports to 40 million tons in the coming years.


  20. Lee

    Great fieldwork! You hoed the hard row. Biden is a mere shadow of the empty suit he used to be and his recent performances are truly cringeworthy.

  21. Jack Parsons

    About the red sores: I had shingles, and pox/shingles at its peak looks like you’ve had nails pounded in and removed.

    About “it’s a setup”: if the questions aren’t plants, the campaign staff is not doing its job :)
    The primaries are about competence, not policy. They are about picking the person we trust the most to be a vicious bastard who comes through for us. Someone who will fight against Russia or China and win by any means without starting a war. The President is not a parish priest.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The President is not a parish priest.

      Nominees for both offices are chosen the same way — by those in power, with no consideration of those who will have to live with the choice.

  22. George Phillies

    “He brought up DARPA, and how he wants to make one for cancer, ”

    Ummh? We already have one.


    It is severely underfunded, as are the other National Institutes for health, as proved by their percent of grant applications that are funded.

    I have no idea if this is ignorance — astounding given how many times he must have voted to give them money — or senility, but, Oh dear, what can I say?

  23. dearieme

    I suppose it’s tricky to distinguish between Biden the ignorant and dim fellow, and Biden the ignorant, dim fellow who is showing his age.

  24. John Zelnicker

    Lambert & Petal – This post got a call out with link on Raw Story this afternoon. Excellent.


    Seventh paragraph:

    “The ad wasn’t the first time Biden has used his family tragedy to sell his healthcare plan. According to a post on Naked Capitalism, Biden leaned on his personal story during a campaign stop in New Hampshire on August 23, where the former vice president said “passing the ACA was a ‘huge step forward’ at the time, it extended insurance to 20 million.””

      1. John Zelnicker

        August 27, 2019 at 6:30 pm

        You’re welcome.

        I read Raw Story daily. Your work certainly deserves mention everywhere. It was a fantastic write-up that really showed Biden’s true colors.

        Thank you for taking the time and effort to do this.

  25. Anarcissie

    Petal’s account is what journalism ought to be like, but mostly isn’t. Now we actually know something we didn’t know before. Many thanks.

    In regard to Biden’s decrepitude, since I see him as a stalking horse or slot-holder for whomever the Ruling Class actually wants to insert when the time comes, his lack of vitality would seem to be an advantage, as he can always be dismissed on account of health. Of course their real problem will be to manipulate up a traditional two-way election, for which it will be necessary to keep the Democratic Party from splitting.

  26. none

    Do they allow video recordings at these things? I figured everyone would have their phones out.

    I went to one politician rally once (not a campaign event) some years before video phones everywhere, but I brought a camcorder, the old fashioned analog type with a tape cartridge, and nobody gave me any trouble about filming. The speech was related to a significant event at the time so it might be of some minor historical interest and maybe I should post the vid somewhere. Nothing earth shaking though.

Comments are closed.