White House aides have denied Joe Biden made an ‘Anchorman’-style gaffe when he appeared to mistakenly read out “end of quote” during a speech from a teleprompter.
Republicans seized upon Mr Biden’s address on gas prices to accuse the president of making a mistake when he read aloud the part that is often meant as just a private prompt to the reader delivering a speech.
Mr Biden said in the speech: “And, by the way, you may have heard the CEO of Walmart yesterday on the steps we’ve taken. He said, and I quote, ‘The combination of private enterprise and government working together has been really successful, all the way through the supply chain, there’s… a lot of innovation. Because of the actions we’ve taken, things have begun to change.’ End of quote.”
The 78-year-old’s staff defended the president, telling Politico he was reading his speech as it was meant to be heard. Mr Biden regularly uses the “end quote” qualifier, they said, something old transcripts back up.
On Right-wing media, though, the speech at first drew comparisons between Mr Biden and the fictional newscaster in the comedy film Anchorman. The character, played by Will Ferrell, reads out every word on the teleprompter as it appears.
Mr Biden often makes headlines for his gaffes during speeches or press conferences and critics have used the incidents to question whether the president’s health is failing.
But Fox News admitted on Tuesday it and several other outlets had “mistakenly reported” he was reading a teleprompter cue.
Last week Mr Biden underwent an annual medical examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the even of his 79th birthday.
He transferred his presidential powers to Kamala Harris, making her the first woman to recieve them, as he was placed under anaesthesia for a colonoscopy.
Both Mr Biden and his vice president have been hammered in recent polls. The administration hit a “historic low point” earlier this month according to a USA Today poll which found Mr Biden’s approval rating had sunk to 38 per cent. Ms Harris’ approval rating was even lower, falling to 28 per cent.
The latest Washington Post-ABC poll, released on Monday, found 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Mr Biden’s handling of the presidency, while 41 percent approve — numbers that were almost exactly reversed in June.