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Joe Biden

Biden digs in during ABC interview | The Excerpt

On Saturday鈥檚 episode of The Excerpt podcast: 91影视 White House Correspondent Joey Garrison breaks down聽what we learned聽from President Joe Biden's exclusive interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. Former President Donald Trump raked in big money from foreign nations.聽Experts fear he'd do it more聽if re-elected. Beryl聽has weakened to a tropical storm, but may re-strengthen as it moves toward Texas. 91影视 Breaking News and Education Reporter Zach Schermele talks about how聽AI is throwing a wrench in the debate around college degrees.

Hit play on the player below to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript beneath it.聽This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

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Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson, and today is Saturday, July 6th, 2024. This is The Excerpt. Today, we break down Biden's interview with ABC News, plus ethics experts send warnings about Trump's personal and family business interests, and how AI is shaking up the conversation around college degrees.

President Joe Biden dismissed concerns about his mental fitness yesterday and rejected calls to drop out of the 2024 election in an exclusive interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos following his disastrous debate last week.

George Stephanopoulos:

Would you be willing to undergo an independent medical evaluation that included neurological and cognitive tests and release the results to the American people?

Pres. Joe Biden:

Look, I have a cognitive test every single day. Every day I have that test, everything I do. Not only am I campaigning, but I'm running the world.

Taylor Wilson:

To help me break down what we saw from Biden in his ABC interview, I spoke with 91影视 White House correspondent Joey Garrison. Joey, thanks for hopping on.

Joey Garrison:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Taylor Wilson:

So Joey, let's just start here. Obviously the talk of the country for over a week has been President Biden's struggles in that first presidential debate. How did he respond to criticism about his debate performance in this interview and what reasons did he cite for his bad night?

Joey Garrison:

Well, like he has over the last couple of days, he cited a cold that he was battling with and also pointed to recent travel. He had been out of the country two different occasions this past month. One was in 91影视 for the D-Day celebration, later at G7 Summit in Italy. The interviewer, ABC News anchor, asked Biden, "That was 12 days it had been since you had gotten back to the country. Why were you still tired?" President Biden said, "Well, because I had a really bad cold and it was hard to get over because of that travel." So he stuck to those reasons as why he had such a dismal debate performance, one of which he really struggled to put together coherent thoughts, finish sentences, and really stand up to Trump in many of his claims throughout the debate.

Taylor Wilson:

Joey, he said in this interview that he didn't watch the debate back afterwards. I'm curious, were you surprised by his answer here and what signal might that give to the American people?

Joey Garrison:

I really was surprised there. I thought that it was such a poor debate and one that has been scrutinized so heavily, you would think that the President would have some curiosity in just how he looked. Biden paused for a second and said, "No, I don't think I have." And really, I thought a consistent theme throughout the interview was Biden was really in quite a bit of denial when it comes to the uproar that you've heard among Democrats and really the panic that has set in with the party. He was asked about the possibility of what if major democratic leaders come to you asking you to drop out because they don't think you can beat Trump. "Well, they're not going to do that." Biden said he wouldn't really even entertain that question.

But the truth of the matter is there's reporting that Mark Warner, the US Senator from Virginia, is trying to assemble US senators together to ask him to bow out of the race. You already have a couple of Democratic Congress members who have called for him to get out of the race. Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey in a statement Friday asked that Biden reconsider his campaign. So you already see this brewing. You already have a lot of unnamed Democrats and Democratic donors who were looking for a different candidate, and Biden really refused to admit that that's the situation right now. Instead, he very much dug in, and that seems to be the plan here from Biden and his allies in the White House.

Taylor Wilson:

Americans are clearly worried about Biden's general cognition and old age, Joey. How did he address those concerns in this interview?

Joey Garrison:

He said simply, "I might be older, but I still am up to the abilities. I'm still in good shape." He denied any thought that he's frail. He was also asked, "Are you really being truthful that you think that you can beat Trump?" Biden insisted that he could, but again, on this theme of denial, it was brought up to Biden. "Look, even before this debate, you were trailing in most polls and now you've taken a nosedive since. Are you really in position right now where you can possibly beat Trump?" And Biden said that he doesn't buy the polls, and I think that's alarmed a lot of people out there. Remember that Biden won the national popular vote by about 3 points. In order to have that Electoral College vote, he needs to have that kind of performance again in order to win the Electoral College, which skews towards and favors Republicans. But Biden really doesn't accept the fact that he's behind right now.

Taylor Wilson:

And did he pass the test here in this interview? Will this quell concerns? Was it enough or did he potentially sink himself even further?

Joey Garrison:

Well, his allies in the campaign sure believe he did pass that test, but others believe this stated denial that Biden is and really brings up more questions. You got David Axelrod here, the former Obama adviser who, and I'll just read what he said in a statement on Twitter, "The President is rightfully proud of his record, but he's dangerously out of touch with the concerns people have about his capacities moving forward and his standing in this race." Four years ago at this time, Biden was 10 points ahead of Trump. Today, he is 6 points behind him. So I don't think he has tamped down the concerns that are out there, and I think this is going to continue brewing over the coming days.

Biden has a big test this next week by hosting the NATO Summit. He went into this conference thinking he wants to stand in solidarity and make this point about the US sticking with its allies while Trump has questioned the future of US role in NATO. But now it's just as much a test for Biden to show that he can deliver on the world stage still. And every word he says and every move he makes is going to be highly scrutinized to see whether there's any resemblance of what we saw in that bad debate. So he did not succeed, I don't think, in totally quieting down the angst among Democrats right now. This is still an ongoing situation.

Taylor Wilson:

Joey Garrison covers the White House for 91影视. Thanks, Joey.

Joey Garrison:

Okay, thanks for having me on.

Taylor Wilson:

If former President Donald Trump wins a second term this fall, his personal and family business interests could pose even bigger ethical problems and national security risks than they did during his first term when he exploited the presidency to financially benefit himself in unprecedented ways. That's what ethics experts warn. Trump earned up to $160 million in total from businesses in foreign countries while he was in office. According to one recent estimate from the Washington Watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. That estimate included income from at least 69 foreign trademarks granted to Trump businesses and 150 foreign officials who visited a Trump business.

And millions of those dollars flowed to the Trump organization from corrupt and authoritarian governments like China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, according to a January report from Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Trump's current financial and legal woes in particular make him even more vulnerable to foreign influence, experts say. And Trump's family also fared well under his administration, including his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom Trump appointed as senior White House advisors even as they kept ownership of at least some of their private business operations. You can read more of this story with a link in today's show notes.

Hurricane Beryl made landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula yesterday after it ripped through Jamaica and the Caribbean earlier this week, leaving at least 11 dead. Beryl weakened to a tropical storm as it moved across eastern Mexico. But now that the center of the storm is over the Gulf, the National Hurricane Center forecast calls for Beryl to re-strengthen. And parts of the Gulf Coast, in particular Texas, are bracing for the storm's arrival in the coming days. It's expected to near the coast somewhere between the Texas-Mexico border and Galveston on Monday. You can find the latest on usatoday.com.

AI is throwing a new wrinkle in the debate about the best college degrees. I spoke with 91影视 Breaking News and Education reporter Zach Schermele to learn more. Zach, good to hear from you as always.

Zach Schermele:

Thanks for having me, Taylor.

Taylor Wilson:

I want to get into some of the types of jobs that could be most impacted by the ongoing rise of AI. Let's start with computer science and things like software development. These have long been thought to be stable career paths. Are those college degrees still a safe bet?

Zach Schermele:

Yeah. As AI has begun to reshape the job market, the types of jobs that could be most impacted by its rise to prominence are slowly becoming more apparent. Research into this topic is pretty new, but there are indications that the career prospects for workers in some types of fields, communications-related fields and computer coding, you mentioned software developers, could be relatively more endangered than other professions.

Remember Taylor, six-figure median annual incomes aren't uncommon for some computer science majors who go on to become software developers. A lot of young people probably know of someone who majored in CS and then went on to some big tech firm. But experts I spoke to for some of this reporting said that the rise of AI really means that CS majors are going to have to ramp up their skills to stay ahead of the technology. As one student put it, having entry-level coding experience isn't really cutting it anymore. She said she and others are now being forced to start picking up new skills that AI can't beat them at.

Taylor Wilson:

And how about degrees in the liberal arts? How is AI shaping this conversation and the potential value or lack thereof that those degrees bring?

Zach Schermele:

If you talk to anyone who's a nerd about higher education or has majored in a humanities field like English or philosophy, they probably know about this general phenomenon of humanities being in crisis. Over the last decade, Taylor, the number of students in humanities majors has declined pretty precipitously, from roughly 240,000 to less than 180,000 according to federal data. Still, the research shows that students at four-year colleges who graduate with humanities degrees earn more on average than workers with just a high school diploma. But ChatGPT has created all these new questions about whether or not it can replace the jobs of folks who primarily write for a living. And I think that's still an open question depending on the profession we're talking about. What it really comes down to, I think, is how much critical thinking is involved in your everyday work, which isn't necessarily something that AI can replicate.

Taylor Wilson:

As you write, Zach, the Biden administration is preparing for more college oversight. What do those plans look like and how do they apply here?

Zach Schermele:

Yeah, so the Biden administration has done a lot to try and bolster regulations governing colleges and universities. They've been pretty aggressive in a way not unlike the Obama administration. One of the policies they've been trying to implement would force colleges to basically disclose to students if certain programs don't provide a great return on investment among lots of other new rules that would go into effect. The administration is calling these gainful employment and financial value transparency regulations. And though they've already technically taken effect, colleges still have a few months to become compliant with them, and it won't be until 2026 that some of those disclosures start to become apparent.

Taylor Wilson:

For kids heading to college or folks trying to figure out the best new college degree for themselves, what general advice are experts giving amid this, I'll admit for all of us, really scary changing world of AI?

Zach Schermele:

I think this is a question that gets to the heart of what college is for, which is something that I grapple with a lot as a reporter who mainly covers higher education. It's this question of is college for pursuing your passion or is it for getting a job that can allow you to pay back your loans and put food on the table? Are those two things mutually exclusive in this economy for some people? Or can students find a way to combine the two?

One of the most cogent pieces of advice I think experts I've spoken with would give students is to just make sure the college you're applying to is keeping up with the times and is trying to find ways to make sure that its students are prepared for how AI could alter the value of the degree that they might be paying a lot for.

Taylor Wilson:

All right. Zach Schermele covers Education and Breaking News for 91影视. Thanks, Zach.

Zach Schermele:

Thanks for having me.

Taylor Wilson:

When a person makes a false report to emergency services to trigger an armed police response to an unsuspecting victim, it's known as swatting, and these attacks are happening more frequently. My cohost, Dana Taylor, talks with 91影视 Shapiro tomorrow, a professor at John Jay College School of Criminal Justice about the risks involved with swatting attacks. You can find the episode right here on this feed beginning at 5:00 AM Eastern Time tomorrow.

And thanks for listening to The Excerpt. You can get the podcast wherever you get your audio, and if you're on a smart speaker, just ask for The Excerpt. I'm Taylor Wilson, and I'll be back Monday with more of The Excerpt from 91影视.

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