Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

"Let's get it straight": Biden unplugs in last hour of eight-day Europe trip

After eight days of talkingon the world stage, President Biden got prickly — then blunt, then reflective — in the final minutes before Air Force One lifted off for home.

Why it matters: One wish that aides to generations of presidents have in common is that when their boss walks away from the podium, he'll keep walking. And reporters know that the most revealing comments often come when an interview or press conference is "over": The newsmaker drops the talking points and is more likely to be real.

Biden was walking off the stage at his post-summit press conference in Geneva when CNN's Kaitlan Collins shouted a provocative, but totally fair question after his three hours with Vladimir Putin: "Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?"

  • Biden stopped and snapped as he waved his finger: "I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior. Where the hell — what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident?  ... [L]et's get it straight. I said: What will change their behavior is if the rest of [the] world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world. I’m not confident of anything; I'm just stating a fact."
  • After the correspondent persisted about how the meeting could be called constructive when Putin had shown no sign of changing behavior, Biden retorted: "If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business."
[rebelmouse-proxy-image crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//" expand=1]
Vladimir Putin gives his post-summit presser. Photo: Sergei Bobylev/Tass via Getty Images

Half an hour later, on the tarmac before boarding Air Force One, Biden came over to the press pool and said: "I owe my last question an apology. ... I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave."

  • Asked again about the lack of concrete movement, Biden said: "Look, to be a good reporter, you got to be negative. You got to have a negative view of life — OK? — it seems to me, the way you all — you never ask a positive question."
  • Of course, sharp questions are designed to do exactly what these had done — elicit what the person is really thinking.

Biden then said he had started "working on arms control agreements back all the way during the Cold War. If we could do one [during] the Cold War, why couldn’t we do one now? We’ll see."

  • Then, with an aide telling him he really needed to go, Biden gave a window into how he sees the larger narrative of his presidency after 50 years on the public stage.
  • Biden said the Capitol riot had reinforced "what I got taught by my political science professors and by the senior members of the Senate that I admired when I got there — that every generation has to reestablish the basis of its fight for democracy. I mean, for real, literally have to do it."

Go deeper: Summit takeaways ... Read Putin's press conference ... Biden's presser ... Biden's tarmac remarks.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//" expand=1]
President Biden spoke on Lake Geneva. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

4 ffp

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories