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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Karine Jean-Pierre defends Biden's reporter cheat sheet at presser: 'Entirely normal'

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the photo of President Biden holding what appeared to be a cheat sheet of a reporter’s question at Thursday’s White House press briefing, claiming it was “entirely normal.”

At a joint press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday, a photographer caught an image of Biden’s notes which signaled that he would receive a question from Los Angeles Times journalist Courtney Subramanian on domestic manufacturing, which he did. The issue was brought up at the press briefing the following day.

The L.A. Times said that their reporter did not submit any questions in advance at yesterday’s press conference. So, to people who saw that pocket card, can you explain how that ended up there and why the president needed something like that?” Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich asked Jean-Pierre.

Photo of Bidens crib notes

U.S. President Joe Biden looks at a note card referencing a reporter as he delivers remarks during a joint press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in the Rose Garden at the White House, April 26, 2023 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“So, just to — just to step back, and I’m actually glad you asked that question. Clearly, I would let the reporter for Los Angeles Times speak for herself. It is entirely normal for a president to be briefed on reporters who will be asking questions at a press conference and issues that we expect they might ask about. It is not surprising that yesterday we would anticipate questions that he did receive on the visit with the South Korean president, as South Korean president was sitting — standing to his — to his right, or about 2024, that was completely expected,” Jean-Pierre answered.


She added, “And, let’s not forget, we do these briefings every day. And a lot of the questions that you — that you all tell me, that’s how we brief him as well. You all ask me, that’s how we brief him as well. So, look, we do not have specific questions in advance. That’s not something that we do.” 

However, Jean-Pierre explained that the White House reaches out to reporters prior to press conferences regarding possible discussion topics.

Karine Jean-Pierre speaking

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at a press conference on Tuesday. (White House)

“So the way that we have moved forward with this type of process is that we reach out to a number of reporters who we know are going to be at the press conference and that’s what we did yesterday,” Jean-Pierre said.

Heinrich pressed, “And just to be clear to people, skeptics, who saw the card and saw the question number one and might think that that is a signal that it was pre-organized: Did the president have other questions that he was prepared, you know, had similar talking points in case he was asked something on other topics in that same-“


“As someone who is part of his of the press briefing with the president for this press conference as his press secretary, we talk about an array of topics that could potentially come up,” Jean-Pierre interrupted. “And that’s what we do. Just at the end, there were shouted questions and he took those shouted questions. But we also had a sense that, hey, you know, you might get something on the debt ceiling, which makes a lot of sense, which is one of the news of the day. So we cover an array of topics.” 

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting

The Los Angeles Times has insisted that it did not send questions ahead of the press conference on Wednesday. ((AP Photo/Patrick Semansky))

She repeated, “So we do our best to make sure that the president is ready to communicate with all of you and the American people. So again, we covered an array of issues, but of course, there are probably the top three, top five topics, hot items that you all are interested in. And so that’s kind of how we forward.” 


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