In a moment that had the potential for comedic gold, President Joe Biden provided only partial entertainment during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in San Francisco. Biden, facing a teleprompter hiccup, stared at the screen for over ten seconds, engaging in internal deliberation about attempting to pronounce a challenging word from his speech. Ultimately, he decided against it, muttering, "I’m not gonna even try."
The APEC audience responded with laughter, seemingly seeking relief from the awkwardness of the situation. Biden quipped, "It’s better not to try and not mispronounce than try and mispronounce," delivering a remark reminiscent of Yogi Berra in an AFLAC commercial.
#New: President Biden to the APEC CEO Summit:
“It’s never been a good bet to bet against America. Because of us, there’s been peace in the Pacific Region.”
Says he will mispronounce “Anthropic,” (crowd laughs) but talks up AI growth here. pic.twitter.com/hOLkX9ZRR7
— scott budman (@scottbudman) November 16, 2023
Leading up to his decision, Biden seemed on the verge of attempting the word, saying, "Leading j—leading tech companies…like Anthropic…and—I’m gonna mispronounce," before abandoning the effort.
A 22-second clip of Biden's decision-making was shared on social media, mocking the president's momentary struggle. Meanwhile, NBC's Scott Budman took a more serious tone, focusing on Biden's remarks to the APEC CEO Summit and emphasizing the growth of artificial intelligence.
While Biden never explicitly admitted he would mispronounce "Anthropic," he barely whispered the word, displaying uncertainty. His subsequent choice to avoid attempting further pronunciations remains unclear in its motivation. Biden's declining poll numbers suggest increasing awareness of his shortcomings, and the humor derived from such incidents is accompanied by reflections on his cognitive decline.
Although there may be fleeting guilt in mocking an elderly individual with evident cognitive decline, it is overshadowed by concerns about how Biden and his family have navigated public life. The amusement derived from his blank stare and mumbled words prompts speculation about what might have transpired had he attempted the next word, raising the possibility of fresh memes or material for a Trump campaign commercial.
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