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Jonathan Bernstein

What Biden Should Have Said About Election Legitimacy

Asked about his confidence in the integrity of the 2022 vote, the president missed a golden opportunity to educate Americans about the fragility of democratic institutions.

Missing the mark.

Missing the mark.

Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg

President Joe Biden held a nearly two-hour press conference on Wednesday to mark the end of his first year of the presidency.

He botched his discussion of Russia and Ukraine, requiring a clarification from the White House later, but I tend to agree with Slate’s Fred Kaplan that it was a blunder that’s unlikely to have consequences. He did the spinning that presidents do, pointing out his administration’s accomplishments and other good things that happened, implying, sometimes by stretching facts but never stooping to the routine falsehoods his predecessor used, that the president was responsible for those good things.