Monday, September 21, 2020

Biden was sometimes off base in drive-in town hall on CNN

Joe Biden held a socially distanced, drive-in town hall on CNN Thursday night. "Biden tends to stick close to the facts but occasionally gets carried away with some over-exuberance," Fact Checker Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo report for The Washington Post. Biden didn't make nearly as many false claims as President Trump did at his own town hall, he told a few "whoppers," they report.

Biden claimed that if Trump had "had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive. All the people — I'm not making this up. Just look at the data." But there is no data to support this. Even if Trump had moved rapidly to contain the spread of the pandemic in January, some people would likely have died, as has happened even in countries that have been praised for their handling of the pandemic, Kessler and Rizzo report. In South Korea, which has a population of 51.2 million, there were 377 deaths. The U.S. has about 331 million people, nearly 6.5 times more than South Korea, but its death toll of around 200,000 is over 530 times higher than South Korea's. 

Biden said he wrote an article for USA Today in January saying "We've got a pandemic. We've got a real problem," but that overstates what he said in the Jan. 27 piece. Kessler and Rizzo say he should be commended for focusing early on an issue most Americans weren't concerned about, but didn't say a pandemic was coming. He said it was a possibility and would "get worse before it gets better." 

During the town hall in Moosic, Pa., Biden said the U.S. should expect another 215,000 to die from the coronavirus by January, and said that 100,000 of those would live if people simply wore masks. Those numbers are accurate, according to projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Kessler and Rizzo report.

Biden noted that the Trump administration is trying to nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and said 100 million people with pre-existing conditions would see their insurance premiums go up if that happens. About 102 million people had pre-existing conditions in 2018, Kessler and Rizzo report. but premiums would not necessarily go up for all if Trump wins in court. 

Biden alleged that television journalists said that he would be the first person without an Ivy League degree to be elected president. "No reporter said that," Kessler and Rizzo report. "Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, was the last president who did not go to an Ivy League university."

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