President Biden’s campaign handed out a list of approved questions to two radio hosts

In the aftermath of President Biden’s faltering debate performance, his campaign furnished predetermined questions to two radio hosts, marking his initial interviews post-debate, as confirmed by both hosts on Saturday.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden’s participation in Black radio programs in the pivotal states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania provided him an opportunity to demonstrate his ability to articulate responses and reflect on his track record, following a debate in which the 81-year-old often struggled to convey his arguments against former President Donald Trump.

Earl Ingram, a radio host, disclosed on Saturday that Mr. Biden’s team had contacted him directly for the interview aired Thursday, providing a list of four questions without any room for negotiation.

“They provided me with the exact questions to pose,” Ingram, whose show “The Earl Ingram Show” broadcasts across 20 stations in Wisconsin, told The Associated Press. “There was no negotiation.”

Lauren Hitt, Biden campaign spokesperson, informed CBS News on Saturday afternoon that it is a common practice for interviewees to share preferred topics, describing the questions as “pertinent to current news.”

“We do not make interviews contingent on accepting these questions, and hosts are always at liberty to pose questions they believe will best inform their listeners,” Hitt stated.

A Biden administration official clarified to CBS News that the White House was not involved in the preparation for the two radio interviews and stated that providing questions to interviewers is not a standard practice for the White House, and the campaign does not intend to continue this practice.

A campaign insider reiterated this point to CBS News, stating that moving forward, the campaign “will abstain from offering suggested questions.”

The interviews aimed to bolster confidence in Mr. Biden’s ability not only to govern for the next four years but also to campaign effectively. However, the revelation prompted questions about Biden’s capacity to perform in unscripted moments following his debate performance.

Appearing earlier on CNN with Ingram, Andrea Lawful-Sanders — host of “The Source” on WURD in Philadelphia — mentioned that she had received a list of eight questions and selected four for her interview.

During Ingram’s show, Mr. Biden emphasized the high stakes beyond his political future, stating: “The stakes are monumental. For democracy, for freedom… our economy, all are on the line.”

Ingram’s 18-minute interview included four questions. He inquired about accomplishments in Wisconsin, the significance of the election for Black voters, what Biden would say to those who feel their vote doesn’t matter, and asked him to address his debate performance and a comment by Trump about people crossing the border and taking “Black jobs.”

“I didn’t have a stellar debate. That’s 90 minutes on stage. Look at my record over 3.5 years,” Mr. Biden responded, then spoke extensively about Trump, the economy, and veterans’ issues.

Regarding the predetermined questions, Ingram — with 15 years in radio and not considering himself a journalist — expressed mixed feelings about receiving a set list for a guest but acknowledged the unique opportunity to interview the President of the United States.

“I probably wouldn’t have accepted, but this was a rare chance to converse with the President,” he admitted.

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