NEWS AND OPINION:
President Biden appears to have a case of serious podium phobia.
He has held fewer press conferences during his first year in office than any of the five presidents who preceded him, according to a meticulous count by Towson State University.
Mr. Biden presided over nine press conferences in those initial months in office, compared to former Presidents Donald Trump, who hosted 22 during his first year, Barack Obama 27 press conferences, George W. Bush 19, Bill Clinton 38 and George H.W. Bush 31.
“The dynamic has the White House facing questions about whether Biden, who vowed to have the most transparent administration in the nation’s history, is falling short in pulling back the curtain on how his administration operates and missing opportunities to explain his agenda,” noted a comprehensive Associated Press review of the findings.
Nate Ashworth, founder of Election Central, observed that “the question was often asked during the 2020 campaign concerning how long Biden could go on like this, avoiding the press and taking few interviews. Apparently, much longer than anyone expected. Part of that is due to a willing media, that wants Biden to succeed no matter how badly he’s performing. They’re willing to wink and nod at the fact that the man’s not all there, and he often contradicts himself day to day on various issues.”
But wait, there’s more. Formal press interviews were also not Mr. Biden’s strong suit during his first year in office.
He participated in 22 of these, compared to Mr. Trump with 92 interviews, Mr. Obama 156, the younger Mr. Bush 49, Mr. Clinton 54 and the elder Bush 46.
Informal questions and answer session appears to be Mr. Biden’s strong suit — he participated in 216 of such sessions during his first year in office. And the rest? Mr. Trump hosted 120 informal sessions, Mr. Obama 46, the younger Mr. Bush 144, Mr. Clinton 245 and the elder Bush, 58.
The research was conducted by Martha Joynt Kumar, a professor emerita in political science at Towson University and director of the White House Transition Project — founded in 1997 to provide “non-partisan expertise in all phases of democratic transitions,” according to a mission statement.
Find them at WhiteHouseTransitionProject.org.
GEORGE GETS A SHOW
Veteran political commentator George Will has a new gig. As of Jan. 15, Mr. Will be a “senior contributor” on NewsNation, a Chicago-based cable news network that aspires to be “America’s source for unbiased news,” according to a mission statement.
“NewsNation meets a national need for news delivered without political agendas, clenched fists, and raised voices. It offers news leavened by a sense of the complexity and grandeur of American history: this nation was not made by flimsy people, and it is not flimsy,” Mr. Will said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
He will play a key role in the coverage of the upcoming midterm elections and joins an on-camera talent lineup that includes Dan Abrams and Ashleigh Banfield. Find the network at NewsNationNow.com.
JESSE GETS ANOTHER SHOW
Jesse Watters is a fixture on Fox News Channel’s very popular daily show “The Five.” He has just been given his own show, however. “Jesse Watters Primetime” arrives Jan. 24, airing at 7 p.m. daily.
“Jesse’s versatility and hosting acumen has grown exponentially over the last five years, and he has developed a deep connection to the audience,” said Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott in a statement, also noting that Mr. Watters will relinquish his weekend show “Watters’ World.”
Mr. Watters joined Fox News in 2002 as a production assistant, and made his on-camera debut in 2003 as a correspondent for “The O’Reilly Factor.”
THE IRS HAS A REMINDER
Yes, it is just about that time.
The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday that the nation’s tax season will start on Jan. 24, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2021 tax returns.
“The January 24 start date for individual tax return filers will allow the IRS time over the course of the coming weeks to do additional programming and testing that is critical to ensure that IRS systems will run smoothly this filing season and will help taxpayers claim the remainder of their Child Tax Credit and remaining stimulus funds in a timely manner when filing their 2021 returns,” the federal agency said in a statement.
“The IRS anticipates that most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically, barring any issues with processing their tax return. The IRS urges electronic filing to avoid delays in processing and to utilize information letters provided by the agency when filing their returns to avoid errors that can lead to delays,” the agency said.
MATT SCHLAPP HAS A REMINDER
Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, reminds one and all that CPAC is “just around the corner.” The annual Conservative Political Action Conference will take place Feb. 24-27 in Orlando, Florida.
“Tickets are selling fast and we expect this to be another sold-out event. CPAC is the world’s largest gathering of conservatives, and we have an incredible line-up of speakers,” Mr. Schlapp said in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.
Those speakers include former Trump administration official K.T. McFarland and Rep. Roger Williams, Texas Republican. Find details at Conservative.org.
POLL DU JOUR
• 41% of U.S. adults plan to adopt New Year’s resolutions in 2022.
• 65% of this group say their resolutions will focus on their health.
• 59% say the resolutions will focus on their personal life.
• 54% say their resolution will center on financial matters.
• 35% say the resolutions will focus on professional development.
• 28% say their resolutions will focus on “societal involvement.”
SOURCE: A CIT Bank/Harris poll of 2,038 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and released Monday.
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