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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Articles about Joe Biden generated 3.8 million interactions on social media last week — more than that of any other candidate since June — but they were overwhelmingly on stories about his recent blunders. according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: While Biden's congressional record and moderate credentials are baked into his candidacy — and may be working to his benefit — his recurrent gaffes could invite questions about his mental acuity and fitness for office.

  • "Biden has clearly survived the first few waves of attacks on his candidacy," Democratic strategist Ian Russell tells Axios. "The next and biggest challenge for him is, do Democrats get nervous and do they shop around for someone else?"

Driving the news: Biden stumbled through the kickoff of the Iowa State Fair with a quartet of news-making mistakes:

Driving the news: Biden stumbled through the kickoff of the Iowa State Fair with a quintet of news-making mistakes:

By the numbers:

  • Among the 100 stories about Biden that generated the most interactions (retweets, likes, comments, shares) on Facebook and Twitter last week, 67% of those interactions (1.78 million) were on stories about his gaffes.
  • The 1.78M interactions over the gaffes alone were higher than the interactions on the coverage of all of Biden's 2020 rivals except Beto O'Rourke last week.

Between the lines: In a race where differences among candidates have largely been subjective and a matter of personal politics, these mistakes represent unmistakable blemishes that can be exploited by opponents and relayed to voters across the political spectrum.

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

See all past editions of the tracker here.

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Several states report zero COVID deaths for the first time in months — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects — 600,000 kids between 12 and 15 have received Pfizer dose since FDA authorization.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021 — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutor: Fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was "justified"

Khalil Ferebee (C), the son of Andrew Brown Jr., and attorneys Bakari Sellers (L) and Harry Daniel (R) at a May 11 news conference in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A North Carolina prosecutor said Tuesday that the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man fatally shot by sheriff's deputies last month, was "tragic" but "justified," due to the immediate threat officers believed Brown posed.

Why it matters: The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into Brown's death. Police in Elizabeth City shot him five times, including in the back of his head, according to an independent autopsy report released by family attorneys last month.

McCarthy comes out against bipartisan deal on Jan. 6 commission

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will oppose a bipartisan deal announced last week that would form a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, his office announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: McCarthy's opposition to the deal, which was negotiated by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, underscores the internal divisions that continue to plague the GOP in the wake of Jan. 6.

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