Biden’s NAACP Speech Riddled With Gaffes, Promps White House To Issue Multiple Corrections

President Joe Biden’s speech at the NAACP’s annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit on Sunday was meant to shore up support among black voters but instead showcased the 81-year-old’s propensity for verbal missteps. The White House was forced to make nine corrections to the official transcript released on Monday highlighting the extent of Biden’s gaffes.

Among the most notable errors was Biden’s claim that he was vice president during the COVID-19 pandemic which began in 2020 three years after he left office. “When I was vice president things were kind of bad during the pandemic and what happened was Barack said to me ‘Go to Detroit and help fix it'” Biden said. The White House later changed “pandemic” to “recession” in the transcript.

Biden also stumbled over his words mispronouncing “inspiring” as “inspiresing” and “insurrectionists” as “irrectionists.” He incorrectly stated that the Affordable Care Act saved families “$800,000” instead of $800 per year and referred to the NAACP as the “NAAC.”

The speech which was part of an effort to reach out to black Americans amid declining support in the demographic ended up highlighting concerns about Biden’s age and cognitive abilities. Recent polls have shown the president trailing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump nationally and in key swing states.

In a statement following the corrections Acting Deputy Press Secretary Sam Michel downplayed the gaffes saying “we’re focused on the substance of the transcript and the heart of President Biden’s speech.” However the extensive edits which used strikethroughs and brackets to indicate mistakes and corrections underscored the president’s ongoing struggles with public speaking.

Biden who is already the oldest president in U.S. history would be 86 at the end of a second term if reelected in November. His verbal missteps have become a central issue in the 2024 campaign with critics questioning his fitness for office.