Biden Reflects on First Year at Press Conference

Headline Roundup January 19th, 2022

President Joe Biden gave a speech and answered questions from the press for nearly two hours on Wednesday, one day before the anniversary of his inauguration.

Biden addressed a wide range of topics and answered questions from outlets across the political spectrum. On his first year as president, Biden said he “didn’t overpromise” but instead made “enormous progress.” On the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Biden again threatened sanctions but said Russian President Vladimir Putin would “test the West … as significantly as he can,” adding, “My guess is he will move in.” On the future of his Build Back Better agenda, the president said, “We’re going to have to probably break it up” into separate bills. Biden also briefly lamented the polarized nature of political news.

Coverage of Biden’s speech made top headlines across the spectrum but was sharply polarized. Coverage from the left tended to be relatively straightforward, with several outlets prominently featuring Biden’s Russia prediction. Coverage from the right tended to be more negative; a Fox News (Right) homepage headline said, “Biden defends terrible first year during fiery news conference, goes even further,” with the tagline, “Oh, Joe…” Both Washington Examiner (Lean Right) and CBS News (Lean Left) called Biden “defiant.”

From the Center

President Biden said he likely would have to break up his stalled healthcare, education and climate agenda to get his policies through Congress and predicted Russia would make a move against Ukraine, warning that Moscow would face punishing sanctions for doing so.

The president. in a nearly two-hour news conference wrapping up his first year in office, defended his policies and his administration’s response to Covid-19 but also acknowledged that many Americans remain frustrated by the duration of the pandemic.

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From the Left

President Joe Biden predicted Wednesday that Russia will invade Ukraine, just as the United States launched a fresh effort to resolve the standoff and Moscow continued to mass troops on its neighbor's doorstep.

“My guess is he will move in, he has to do something,” said Biden during a news conference marking his first year in office, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine.

The declaration from Biden was striking given the escalating tensions there and the continued efforts by America and its allies to find a diplomatic solution.

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From the Right

President Biden on Wednesday defended his record during his first year in office, saying he "didn’t overpromise," but instead "outperformed," maintaining the "enormous progress" his administration has made and vowed to "stay on track" going forward.

During his first press conference in months—his tenth since taking office—the president was asked whether he overpromised on what he could achieve during his first year at the White House, as the country grapples with rising inflation, a surge in the highly-transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19, and as his legislative agenda is stalled in Congress.

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