- The Washington Times
Friday, September 13, 2019


If Joe Biden even had a chance in Thursday evening’s debate, it was swallowed up in his on-air struggle with his teeth.

Poor Joe. He thinks he’s the heir apparent who simply has to show up and voila, all the ballots will waft gently to his feet.

This was Hillary Clinton’s mistake.

The fact that pundits have been pointing that out for some time — pundits and political watchers from both sides of the aisle, mind you — doesn’t make it any less true.

Biden, by this time in the political race for the Democrat ticket, should be the clear front-runner. He should be leaving his competitors in the dust. He should be laughing and mocking at their gasping struggles to stay in the race — not fending off attacks from a single-digit polling nobody like Julian Castro and being forced to defend, for all of America to see, his recall abilities.

It only plays into the perception of Joe as a too-old pol who can’t hang with the younger crowd — and who certainly couldn’t take his 76-year-old self into the ring with Donald Trump, and emerge the winner. People listen to Biden and start to count out his birthdays, imagining how bad his mind would really be in a year, in two years, in a full four-year White House term.

Camera close-ups on his struggle to keep his teeth in don’t help.

“So What Was Up With Joe Biden’s Teeth?” blared one headline from The Slot, the day after the debate.

“Dental malfunction? Concerns over Biden’s teeth as he struggles to answer debate question,” blared another from the Washington Examiner.

And this, from Breitbart: “Watch: Biden Struggles to Keep His Teeth in Mouth During Debate.”

The day after a debate, candidates generally like to see their policies being discussed, their platforms being debated — in favorable lights, if possible. But even unfavorable lights can prove advantageous, in the long run of a presidential campaign. One thing they don’t want the press focusing on?

Whether or not their teeth were about to fall out. It has a way of taking the bite out of any policy talk that would’ve otherwise been well-received.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.