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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.'"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

34 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Why fears of a SPAC bubble may be overblown

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The SPAC surge continues unabated, with 10 new ones formed since Wednesday morning. And that's OK.

Between the lines: There are growing concerns that retail investors are about to get rolled, with smart sponsors taking advantage of dumb money.