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MAGA Inc. Ad’s Biden Clip in Context

Para leer en español, vea esta traducción de Google Translate.

The latest ad from the pro-Donald Trump super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. puts the issue of President Joe Biden’s age front and center. It features a clip of Biden appearing to fumble and grasp for words and ends with the narrator questioning whether Biden will live long enough to serve a second term.

We think a fuller clip of this moment may give viewers a different impression — that perhaps Biden was pausing for effect to express incredulousness at a comment Trump made about Russia and NATO. We’ll let readers/viewers decide for themselves.

The ad begins with Biden speaking on Feb. 16 at the White House, after the death of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who had died that day in a Russian prison. In the video clip, Biden appears to stammer and search for his words. “I guess I should clear my mind here a little bit,” Biden says.

The ad’s narrator then says, “We can all see Joe Biden’s weakness. If Biden wins, can he even survive until 2029? The real question is, can we?” The ad is interspersed with video images of Biden stumbling on stairs.

But a fuller clip of Biden’s comments taken from a C-SPAN video may give viewers a different impression. Biden was talking about comments Trump made at a rally in South Carolina in which Trump said that when he was president he told the leader of a large NATO country that if the country was “delinquent” in its payments to NATO and Russia attacked it, “I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.” (As we wrote, Trump misconstrues what he calls “delinquent” payments from alliance members to NATO.)

Biden clearly paused after he mentioned Trump’s comment, and seemed to be at a loss for words — or trying to give the appearance of being at a loss for words — before saying, “I guess I should clear my mind here a little bit and not say what I’m really thinking. But let me be clear: This is an outrageous thing for a president to say.”

NBC News wrote that Biden “paused for dramatic effect, expressing exasperation with Trump.”

In an email to us, Ammar Moussa, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, called the ad a “sick and deranged stunt.”

Biden at 81 is the oldest president in history, and polls show that many voters are concerned about his age. Trump is 77. We take no position, of course, on the president’s age or fitness to serve another term. But we think seeing Biden’s comments in context may — or may not — give viewers a different impression of the long pause during his Feb. 16 remarks.

According to NBC News, MAGA Inc. is spending $500,000 to air the ad nationally on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and Newsmax.

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