President Joe Biden is often one to say the quiet part out loud, to much embarrassment. He says what he is thinking often to the dismay of his advisers who would prefer Joe Biden stay on script. This time he was at a private fundraiser in California, and his remarks meandered to discussing former President Jimmy Carter. Carter’s health was recently reported to be advancing to end-of-life stages and his family says he has been placed in hospice care at his home in Georgia.
What Did Joe Biden Say Now?
Biden said surprising things in his speech about Carter during the Democratic National Committee event in Rancho Santa Fe, California. “He asked me to do his eulogy – excuse me I shouldn’t say that,” Biden admitted. “I spent time with Jimmy Carter, and it’s finally caught up with him. But they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough.”
Is Joe Biden Saying that Carter’s Condition Is Improving?
The “eulogy” admission was a surprise since Carter is still with us. It is not clear what “breakthrough” Biden was referring to though it seemed that the president was discussing Carter’s cancer. This came at a time when Biden was touting a year-old initiative that will bring health technology more quickly and more efficiently to the federal government. He explained how there could be new treatments for cancer, which could have been the impetus for the discussion of Carter.
They Have Known Each Other for Decades
Biden knew Carter personally as they campaigned for each other during the 1970s while Carter was in office. Now Joe Biden says he will deliver the eulogy for Carter if the former president passes away.
But Biden shared some personal details about Carter that may have been better left unsaid. It may have led people to believe that Carter could live longer than expected based on a new and improved treatment that was previously unknown.
Some Details Are Better Left Unspoken
This is another example of how Biden’s comments can sometimes come at inopportune moments, moments that make one wonder if he is past his prime.
New Office Can Speed Groundbreaking Health Tech
To his credit, Biden was touting a governmental agency that could make a difference in healthcare. The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) aims to bring therapeutics, treatments, and cures to market in less time. This is based on the successful DARPA research program that has been so instrumental in bringing “whiz-bang” technologies to the military.
Biden said in a news release when ARPA-H was introduced last year that it “will pursue ideas that break the mold on how we normally support fundamental research and commercial products in this country.” It would investigate “ideas so bold no one else, not even the private sector, is willing to give them a chance or to sink a lot of money into trying to solve.”
Fair enough. It’s a good idea on paper and if it works as advertised, there could be real progress in treating diseases that the medical industry has struggled to address over the years.
Can You Keep a Lid On It?
That leads us to Biden’s comments about Carter. Health issues are a touchy subject for families and Carter’s loved ones may not have wanted Joe Biden to give the false public hope that the former president was improving. Carter’s family may have wished to keep his health status private.
Biden would do better to stick to the text of his speeches, but he is just not able to grasp the concept of being prudent and discrete in his public comments. He even admitted, “I shouldn’t say that.” At least he knows he went too far in this case.
But his other stumbles during speech-making have been on display throughout his presidency. His speechwriters must be frustrated by now because the president cannot keep from sharing potentially damaging details. This could hurt him in his campaign for re-election. His opponents will be able to string together embarrassing Biden mistakes during speeches and that could lead voters to believe he doesn’t have the mental acuity to stay in office.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.