Former Vice President Joe Biden told "Axios on HBO" that stuttering isn't to blame for a string of verbal mistakes in the 2020 campaign. 

Why it matters: A reporter for The Atlantic who stutters wrote recently that he studied Biden’s verbal miscues and concluded that lifelong stuttering struggles were to blame. 

  • The piece suggested that Biden's boyhood stutter, which he has talked about throughout his political career, is still with him. But in the "Axios on HBO" interview, Biden said that's not how he sees it.

“I don't think of myself as continuing to stutter. ... That doesn't cross my mind that I'm stuttering,” Biden said. “Look, the mistakes I make are mistakes. And some people think I still stutter. I don't think of myself that way.”

  • Sometimes, Biden said, "I'll find myself searching for a second" to find the words — but "I've always attributed that to being tired and not to the stutter."

Biden has had a number of verbal stumbles during the campaign. He referred to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, as taking place in Houston and Michigan, and he said he met with the Parkland high school students as vice president when that mass shooting happened after he left office.

  • But Biden dismissed those as a meaningless media obsession. He said his age isn't to blame, claiming he’s operating at "110%" of the mental skills he had when he was vice president — "better than I was."
  • “(Voters) don't think I lost a step. There's no evidence to suggest that. You guys love it. You guys love it. But I haven't seen any evidence of that.”

Biden did talk about the embarrassment he faced as a child because of his stutter. "I remember stuttering when I had to speak publicly, when I had to stand up and read. When I had to. And it was mortifying," Biden said.

  • But in the long run, Biden said, the experience was "maybe the best thing that ever happened to me. Because it gave me an insight that I don't know that I would have ever had before, that everybody has something ... that is not something they're able to overcome just by saying, 'I'm not going to do that.'"

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Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre"

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.

Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”

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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 13,397,167 — Total deaths: 580,388 — Total recoveries — 7,449,477Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 3,459,053 — Total deaths: 136,900 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. States: Alabama's GOP governor issues statewide mask mandate — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive.
  4. Politics: Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre" — Trump says Navarro shouldn't have written op-ed attacking Fauci.