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President Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Tuesday night. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden on Tuesday sought to clarify what his administration means by promising to open schools in the first 100 days of his presidency, insisting that "the goal will be five days a week."

The big picture: Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s definition for open schools was in-classroom instruction by a teacher “at least one day a week.”

  • In a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Biden tried to reset the record, and appeared to blame his communications team.
  • “No that's not true. That's what was reported. That’s not true,” the president said, when asked about the one-day-a-week definition. “That was a mistake in the communications."

Why it matters: Republicans have pounced on Psaki's definition of open schools and accused Biden of backpedaling on his goal of reopening the majority of schools by the end of April.

  • Last week, Psaki also said that "the president will not rest until every school is open five days a week. That is our goal."
  • Tuesday, Biden also clarified why he changed his target from elementary, middle and high schools to just K-8.
    • "What I am talking about is, I said opening the majority of schools in K-8th grade, because they are the easiest to open, the most needed to be open because of the impact on children and families having to stay home."
    • "I think that we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy," Biden added.

Flashback: Two weeks ago, some White House political advisers began to privately warn that Biden might not be able to meet his originally stated objective, Axios reported.

  • Republicans are trying to channel some suburban frustrations about virtual schooling into political anger, trying to cast Biden as a pawn of the teachers unions.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

No plans for Biden to address a joint session of Congress this month, White House says

Jen Psaki in the briefing room on Feb. 16. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

There are no current plans for President Joe Biden to address a joint session of Congress this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Reporters pointed out that Biden said last month that his "first appearance before a joint session" would be held in February and would address his national coronavirus recovery plan. Psaki had said it "was never planned to be in February."

Mike Allen, author of AM
21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."