President Donald Trump had a town hall on NBC and Joe Biden had a town hall on ABC at the same time, although Biden’s ran about a half an hour longer.
While Trump got tough questions from the host Savannah Guthrie, who inserted herself in a situation where it was supposed to be undecided voters asking questions, Biden got softball questions with a supportive host. Two very different events, one set-up as an easy time for Biden the other an effort to take down Trump.
But turns out it was just a little more of a “set-up” for Biden than it may even have appeared.
Turns out that at least a couple of the questioners at the town hall for Biden had ties to high-profile Democrats, according to Fox News.
One of the questioners, Nathan Osburn, had previously worked as a speechwriter for the Obama White House. He, of course, wasn’t identified as such. He was just identified as working in “communications.” So basically they had a professional teeing up a softball question.
Osburn was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this year as “a former Obama administration speechwriter” who had created a “Philly for Pete group” aimed at boosting former Democratic presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg. And the LGBTQ Victory Institute listed Osburn as a senior speechwriter for the Small Business Administration in an article praising the Obama-Biden administration for its LGBTQ hiring practices.
“Amy Coney Barrett’s being pushed through at the last minute, even though millions have already voted. So what do you think about ideas from people like Pete Buttigieg and others to put in place safeguards that will help ensure more long-term balance and stability?” Osburn asked Biden. “And what do you say to LGBTQ Americans and others who are very worried right now about erosions of their rights and our democracy as a whole?”
Another questioner was Mieke Haeck, who ABC identified as a “physical therapist” from State College, PA. Except that wasn’t all she is. She’s the wife of the at large member of the Centre County Democratic Committee, Ezra Nanes, who two years ago ran a campaign against the state Senate Majority Leader. She raised a transgender question, which again was a hit on Trump disguised as a question for Biden.
“My youngest daughter is transgender. The Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people, banning them from military service, weakening nondiscrimination protections and even removing the word ‘transgender’ from some government websites,” Haeck said. “How will you as president reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?”
“I will flat out just change the law,” Biden responded.
Now the network tried to get around this by claiming the host, George Stephanopoulos, announced at the beginning that the participants included Biden supporters, Trump supporter and some still undecided.
That may be true, but generally, the audience assumes there aren’t people with heavy Democratic Party connections. Pretty sad when they feel they have to seed the audience with people like this. And these are just the folks we know of. What does that really say about Biden? He couldn’t possibly undergo the questioning that Trump did with Savannah Guthrie.
This isn’t even the first time that Biden has had such folks in a town hall audience for him. In another town hall on October 6, two people who were supposed to be “undecided voters” at an NBC town hall turned out to be people who have previously been on MSNBC identified as Biden supporters.
But even given the softball, connected questioners, Biden still was all over the place, delivering rambling incoherent answers.