Biden speaks in a whisper to prove his point

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Biden speaks in a whisper to prove his point

Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden was at a public transit stop in Wisconsin, talking about repairing roads and bridges, when he shifted gears and began defending his plan to send money to parents for every underage child, payments that some critics call a “giveaway.” “. “

Biden folded his arms, settled on the podium, leaned into the microphone and lowered his voice.

“Hey guys, I think it’s time to give ordinary people a tax break,” he said, almost whispering as he addressed his critics. “The rich are fine.”

This was the latest instance of Biden speaking in a whisper.

The White House and communications experts say the Biden Whisper is just the veteran politician’s old-school way of trying to make a connection while emphasizing a point.

Biden’s critics on the right as well as some late-night television talk show hosts say the whispers are “scary” and “weird.” Conservatives use soft, dramatic talk to fuel the narrative that the president is unfit for the job, and comedians spread it to elicit laughter.

“It’s a form of intimate communication,” said Vanessa Beasley, associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University.

Biden whispered some of his answers to reporters’ questions during an impromptu news conference at the White House last month after he and a group of Republican senators announced that they had reached a deal to spend $973 trillion to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

While standing in the East Room, Biden was questioned about his schedule to provide additional financial assistance to families. He leaned inward, eyes wide, and whispered, “You’ve got $1.9 trillion in relief so far. They’re going to get accessory checks in the mail.”

During a lengthy answer to a separate question, he whispered, “I wrote the bill,” before bending over to approach the microphone and add “environment.”

On the subject of employers’ hiring difficulties, Biden leaned into the microphone again, leaned against the podium and calmly said the solution was to “pay them more.”

Beasley said Biden’s use of whispers, who has been a US senator and vice president for a total of more than 40 years, is a return to a long time of intimate relations between lawmakers and members of the Washington press.

“I think it’s a symbolic gesture of some kind of familiarity and intimacy,” she said.

Beasley and others noted the contrast between Biden and former President Donald Trump, who often spoke loudly and angry.

“One of the things Trump has never done is whisper,” said Robin Lakoff, professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Public speakers—legislators, celebrities, and corporate executives—often raise or lower their voices for dramatic effect or tell jokes to keep their audience watching rather than sleeping.

Beasley said the tone of political rhetoric these days seems so high that “it kind of sets everyone back a little bit when you see someone going in a different direction and downsizing.”

What Biden does, Lakoff said, isn’t really a whisper because the vocal cords vibrate and make a sound.

“A real whisper is something you won’t be able to hear very well,” she said, comparing what Biden does to a “theatrical whisper” in which an actor steps out in a play about a character to share a secret with the audience or preview some action that’s about to happen.

The White House has defended Biden, saying that conservatives who criticize the way he speaks, including his stuttering, do so because they have no better agenda to advance voters heading into the November 2022 midterm elections.

“Under President Biden’s leadership, COVID cases are down more than 90%, we’ve achieved a historic level of job creation, the economy is growing at its highest rate in 40 years, and we’ve made significant progress on the global stage,” Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said. Abroad”.

“And this performative criticism is just the latest admission by Republicans that he’s turning the tables on them as they prepare to make a case,” Bates whispered.

Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s White House press secretary, called Biden’s whisper “weird” and “crazy” before panelists discussed it on a Fox News show I co-hosted. Other Fox News figures and guests also criticized Biden’s low-volume speech.

On a late-night talk show episode, comedian Stephen Colbert showcased what he called Biden’s “new rhetoric boom” in a recent talk on his CBS show.

After broadcasting clips of the President, Colbert leaned into a hand-held microphone and whispered, “Mr. President, Mr. President. You know I’m impressed, but the way you lean forward and whisper. Guess what? It’s a little scary. It’s a little scary.”

On the flip side, Biden is raising his voice, too, as he did while addressing the nation from the White House lawn on the Fourth of July.

“On this holy day, I look to those relics in our National Mall, and beyond, to the hearts of our people across the land and I know it,” he said loudly as he neared the end of his speech. “It was never, ever a good bet to bet against America. Absolutely.

“We just have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America,” Biden climbed. “And there is nothing–nothing–that we cannot do if we do it together.”

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