The White House, While Defending Biden’s Mental State, Sent Prewritten Interview Questions, Radio Host Claims

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Julianna Frieman Contributor
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The White House, while defending President Joe Biden’s mental state amid the fallout of the first 2024 presidential debate, sent questions for approval prior to an interview, a Philadelphia radio host claims.

CNN’s Victor Blackwell pointed out Saturday that Andrea Lawful-Sanders, host of “The Source” on Philadelphia’s WURD, and Earl Ingram, host of “The Earl Ingram Show” in Milwaukee, asked Biden “essentially the same questions” during their respective post-debate interviews with the president. Both joined Blackwell and discussed Biden’s accomplishments, his debate performance and the upcoming election. Lawful-Sanders claimed she selected four pre-written questions from a pool of eight submitted to her by the White House.

“The questions were sent to me for approval. I approved them,” Lawful-Sanders said.

“Okay, so, the White House sent the questions to you ahead of the interview?”

“Yes, and I got several questions, eight of them. And the four that were chosen were the ones that I approved,” Lawful-Sanders responded.

Despite the White House’s alleged submitting of the questions ahead of the interview, Biden stumbled over his words Thursday when he told Lawful-Sanders he was the “first black woman to serve with a black president.” The gaffe comes as the Biden campaign has doubled down on the president’s reelection bid and ramped up Biden’s public appearances.

A Biden spokesperson did not deny feeding questions to the radio host in a statement following Lawful-Sander’s remarks on CNN.

“It’s not at all an uncommon practice for interviewees to share topics they would prefer. These questions were relevant to the news of the day — the president was asked about this debate performance as well as what he’d delivered for black Americans,” spokesperson Lauren Hitt said, CNN reported. “We do not condition interviews on acceptance of these questions, and hosts are always free to ask the questions they think will best inform their listeners.”

Following the report of the prewritten questions, interviewers going forward would not be suggested questions to ask, ABC News reported, citing a source familiar with the operation involved in booking the president.

“While interview hosts have always been free to ask whatever questions they please, moving forward we will refrain from offering suggested questions,” the source told ABC News.

The outlet also reported another Milwaukee radio host, Sherwin Hughes, interviewed the president in June with no preconditions or questions to ask. “None of that at all,” he told the outlet.

After the debate, some Democratic politicians and media figures began raising concerns about Biden’s cognitive ability to continue serving in office, having previously vouched for Biden’s mental fitness. (RELATED: ‘It Doesn’t Get Better’: ABC’s Martha Raddatz Highlights Fallout Following Biden’s First Post-Debate Interview)

Biden attributed his poor debate performance to a “bad night” and insisted that he is “still in good shape” Friday evening in a pre-recorded interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos — his first televised interview since the debate. The president also made excuses such as foreign travel and not being “in control” of CNN’s muted microphones.

Biden has relied on cheat sheets and teleprompters throughout his presidency. The Democratic incumbent has been observed at press conferences reading from notecards telling him which reporters to call on along with the question they will ask. Presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, however, has made a habit of deviating off script.