Radio host who interviewed Biden says aides provided questions in advance | CNN Politics (2024)


Joe Biden’s team provided a list of questions to a radio host who interviewed the president this week in the aftermath of his debate performance, the host told CNN.

“The questions were sent to me for approval. I approved them,” Andrea Lawful-Sanders, host of “The Source” in Philadelphia, said during an interview Saturday with CNN’s Victor Blackwell on “First of All.”

When Blackwell asked Lawful-Sanders whether the White House sent her questions for approval, she said yes. “I got several questions, eight of them, and the four that were chosen were the ones that I approved,” she added.

CNN reporting later clarified that it was the Biden campaign that handled the interview.

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Blackwell pointed out that both Lawful-Sanders and Earl Ingram, host of “The Earl Ingram Show” in Milwaukee who also interviewed the president this week, asked Biden “essentially the same questions.”

A Biden campaign spokesperson on Saturday did not deny that the campaign provided questions but said that “We do not condition interviews on acceptance of these questions.”

“It’s not at all an uncommon practice for interviewees to share topics they would prefer. These questions were relevant to the news of the day – the president was asked about this debate performance as well as what he’d delivered for black Americans,” spokesperson Lauren Hitt said in a statement.

The Biden campaign said later Saturday it will no longer suggest questions to interviewers.

“While interview hosts have always been free to ask whatever questions they please, moving forward we will refrain from offering suggested questions,” a source familiar with the Biden booking operation told CNN.

The radio interviews came at a critical moment for Biden’s political future as a growing number of elected officials, Democratic donors and supporters express deep concerns about his age and capacity to serve a second term as president.

Biden on Friday also took questions from pool reporters and sat with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for a 22-minute interview focused entirely on his age and fitness for office. He will again field questions from reporters during the NATO summit in Washington next week.

Biden, who has faced enormous scrutiny this week, made some stumbles during his conversation with Lawful-Sanders.

“I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president – first Black woman – to serve with a Black president, proud to have been involved with the first Black woman on the Supreme Court,” he said during the interview, which taped Wednesday and aired Thursday.

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Reached for comment Thursday night, a Biden campaign spokesperson slammed the “absurdity” of criticism of the president’s missteps. “It was clear what President Biden meant when he was talking about his historic record including a record number of appointments to the federal bench,” spokesperson Ammar Moussa said.

Lawful-Sanders’ remarks came after a Biden campaign social media account on Monday shared video of a local news anchor in Virginia saying Donald Trump’s campaign backed out of an interview after asking for questions in advance. The interview was scheduled to take place around the former president’s rally in Chesapeake, Virginia, the day after the debate.

“We wanted to hear more from Trump tonight. Our Mike Gooding was scheduled to interview the former president after the rally,” WVEC anchor Dan Kennedy said. “But just about 15 minutes ago the Trump team canceled on Mike Gooding after asking us what our questions would be for the former president, telling Mike that there was no more time and that the former president only wanted to talk about last night’s debate.”

In a social media post sharing the video, the Biden campaign derided Trump for backing out of the interview, writing, “A paranoid and overwhelmed Trump cancels his TV interview after asking the reporter what questions they planned on asking.”

When asked by CNN on Saturday whether Trump backed out of the interview, the former president’s campaign ignored the claim and instead slammed Biden for allegedly providing questions to interviewers in advance.

“President Trump held a rally in Virginia and afterwards participated in local interviews that spanned numerous topics, not just related to the debate,” campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said. “Meanwhile, Joe Biden and his campaign are bullying media into asking pre-screened and approved questions and trying to pass it off like it’s normal behavior. It’s not.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Aaron Pellish and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

Radio host who interviewed Biden says aides provided questions in advance | CNN Politics (2024)
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