Ted Johnson and Dominic PattenThu, 25 March 2021, 6:21 pm
UPDATE, 11:20 AM PT: Joe Biden told reporters that his plan is to run for reelection in 2024, before saying that it is his “expectation” that he would be in the race.
CNN’s Kaitlin Collins also pressed Biden on whether he thought that he would be running against Donald Trump again.
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Biden, however, dismissed the early focus on the next presidential election, telling her, “I have no idea. I have no idea if there will be a Republican party, do you?”
PREVIOUSLY: President Joe Biden started his first formal press conference by upping the goal for his first 100 days: He announced that 200 million vaccination shots, double the original estimate.
Speaking in the East Room to a greatly reduced number of reporters, about two dozen, all socially distanced at least six feet apart, Biden said, “No other country has come close to what we are doing.”
He also said that in the next 35 days they also will meet a goal of getting a majority of schools reopened five days a week.
The press conference was Biden’s first formal one since taking office, as many in the media noted that he had waited much longer to do so than his predecessors. That triggered coverage of how the White House was carefully stage managing Biden’s every word, given his propensity to make verbal gaffes, although the president has routinely taken questions from reporters at various events.
The anticipation for the event was apparent as networks covered the press conference with their star anchors, and Fox News even created a countdown clock. There was no shortage of recommended questions: Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer even offered a list of questions they would ask, including “Would you concede that President Trump had the right strategy to finally stand up to Beijing?”
The first question came from Zeke Miller of the Associated Press, and the current president of the White House Correspondents Association. He asked Biden how he will get his agenda through Congress given no Republicans voted for his Covid-19 relief plan.
“I have been hired to solve problems, not create division,” said Biden, who is seeking major progress on immigration reform, gun reform and climate change.