President Biden holds a news conference as the White House works on presidential upgrade after year of blunders.
President Biden on Wednesday defended his record during his first year in office, saying he “didn’t overpromise,” but instead “outperformed,” maintaining the “enormous progress” his administration has made and vowed to “stay on track” going forward.
During his first press conference in months—his tenth since taking office—the president was asked whether he overpromised on what he could achieve during his first year at the White House, as the country grapples with rising inflation, a surge in the highly-transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19, and as his legislative agenda is stalled in Congress.
“I didn’t overpromise,” Biden said. “I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen.”
The president said his administration has “made enormous progress,” saying the number of deaths from COVID-19 is “coming down.”
President Joe Biden gestures during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on January 19, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
“Everything’s changing. It’s getting better,” Biden said. “Look, I didn’t overpromise, but I think if you take a look at what we’ve been able to do, you’d have to acknowledge we made enormous progress.”
But, looking ahead, Biden said he needs to do a “change in tactic.”
“I have to make clear to the American people what we are for,” he said. “We passed a lot of things that people don’t even understand.”
Biden said he plans to “be out on the road a lot, making the case around the country” with Democrats who are up for reelection in November to help in “making the case of what we did do and what we want to do and what we need to do.”
“And so, I don’t think I’ve overpromised at all, and I’m going to stay on track,” Biden said.
As for his Build Back Better economic plan stalled in Congress, Biden pointed to “polling data” on the attitudes of the American people, saying they “overwhelmingly agree” with him on prescription drugs, the cost of education, early education and child care.
President Joe Biden said it’s the Federal Reserve’s job to rein in the fastest pace of inflation in decades, and backed the central bank’s plans to scale back monetary stimulus. Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images
“We just have to make the case of what we’re for and what the other team is not for,” Biden said. “Look, we knew all along that a lot of this was going to be an uphill fight, and one of the ways to do this is to make sure we make the contrast as clear as we can. And one of the things that I think we’re going to have to do is just make the case.”
He added: “I don’t think there’s anything unrealistic about it. I’m not asking for castles in the sky. I’m asking for practical things the American people have been asking for for a long time. And I think we can get it done.”
The president, throughout the press conference, repeatedly asked what Republicans “are for.”
Meanwhile, Biden, shifting to rising inflation, admitted American families are feeling the effects of rising costs.
“Inflation has everything to do with the supply chain,” Biden said. “I think what you’re seeing is we’ve been able to make progress on speeding up the access to materials.”
The president admitted that inflation is “going to be very hard,” but said his administration is “going to move on this competition piece to allow more and more smaller operations to come in and be able to engage and providing access” to cheaper products.
“But it’s going to be a haul,” Biden said. “There’s a lot we have to do. It’s not going to be easy, but I think we can get it done.”
He added: “But it’s going to be painful for a lot of people in the meantime.”
President Joe Biden holds a rare press conference Wednesday to kick off his second year in office. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The president took that moment to make another push for his Build Back Better plan, saying the “single best way to take the burden off of middle class and working class folks is to pass the Build Back Better.”
As for COVID-19, the president promised during his campaign to “defeat” the virus.
The United States, and countries around the globe, are experiencing a surge in the new Omicron variant, which has proven to be highly-transmissible to vaccinated, boosted and unvaccinated individuals.
But Biden touted his administration’s progress in rolling out the nationwide vaccine effort, and again urged Americans to get booster shots, and seemingly endorsed the Pfizer vaccine, which has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over the Moderna vaccine.
“I say, if you’ve been vaccinated, get your booster shot. Everybody, get the booster shot,” Biden said. “You’re protected very well with two shots, if it is the Pfizer, anyway, you’re protected, but you are better protected with the booster shot.”
Meanwhile, Biden was asked if he was satisfied with Vice President Kamala Harris’ work on voting rights and whether he could commit that she would be his running mate in 2024 should he officially run for re-election.
“Yes and yes,” he said. When asked to elaborate, he said: “No, there’s no need to. I mean, she’s going to be my running mate, number one, and number two, I did put her in charge and she’s doing a good job.”
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