July 15, 2024

President Joe Biden was in Tempe, Arizona, Thursday to help dedicate a new library at Arizona State University named for his late friend and former Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

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At first, things seemed to be going just fine during his remarks, as he referred back to McCain’s farewell letter to Americans:

Five years ago, when John was dying from brain cancer, John wrote a farewell letter to the nation. His words track back centuries, to America’s founding, toward the triumphant future. Here’s what John wrote, and I quote: “We are citizens of the world, the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil.” Americans never quit, Americans never hide from history. John was right.

Pretty standard fare for a dedication. But as the speech went on, weird malfunctions started to happen with Biden’s words, as they often do. Here he is, fumbling one of the best-known bits of the Declaration of Independence:

He then told a story that’s been debunked about China’s Xi Jinping, which we reported on him telling to the Canadian Parliament back in the spring. Part of the same clip includes that creepy yelling thing he slips into:

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He also repeated that odd, off-the-cuff line, begging people sitting in the balcony not to jump:

But there was also a disruption during his remarks, when a climate activist started heckling him, yelling: “Why have you yet to declare a climate emergency? Arizonians have died.”

Biden worked to quiet some others in the crowd who were trying to drown out the heckler with booing, telling the activist:

Why don’t you wait — hang on a second, I’d be happy to meet with you after I speak, OK?

For a moment, Biden closed his eyes, as if defeated. In that moment, one could almost feel sorry for him. The heckler kept at it with the yelling, so he said:

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If you shush up, I’ll meet with you immediately after this, OK?

When he finished speaking, there was another “fix,” like the recent change a couple of days ago, as my colleague Nick Arama wrote, in airplane stairs and footwear. This time, it looked like they sent someone up on stage to “guide” where he was supposed to walk off:

Related:

Cindy McCain DNC Video Revives the Ghost of John McCain’s Fateful Vote Saving Obamacare

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