5 Takeaways From Erin Burnett’s Interview With Joe Biden

By Ethan Alter 

It’s no secret that news organizations have been frustrated by their lack of access to President Joe Biden during his first term. Last month, The New York Times took the unusual step of issuing a public statement criticizing Biden for not making himself available for press conferences or one-on-one interviews. And ahead of the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner, the organization’s president, Kelly O’Donnell, told TV Newser that she was always pushing for “more opportunities to be in the room with him.”

For his part, Biden joked about the complaints during his WCHD speech. “Of course, The New York Times issued a statement blasting me for ‘actively and effectively avoiding independent journalists,'” he said, adding: “I do interviews with strong independent journalists who millions of people actually listen to—like Howard Stern.”

Now you can add Erin Burnett to that list. The host of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront scored a rare solo sitdown with Biden, and covered a range of topics in the 16-minute chat, from his job creation record and impending rematch with former President Donald Trump to the Israel-Hamas war and the recent unrest on college campuses across the country.


Here are TVNewser’s five takeaways from their conversation.

Watch Erin Burnett’s full interview with President Joe Biden below:

He sees a future for AI in the workforce

Burnett interviewed Biden at the future site of a Microsoft-owned AI data center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which will train 100,000 people in the controversial new technology. And while the president acknowledged there’s “enormous downside potential” to AI, he also recognizes that the nature of work is changing. “It used to be when I was in high school… that you learned to work with your hands,” Biden said. “It doesn’t exist anymore.”

“I set out certain standards [for AI] that it can do no harm,” he continued. “And we have to make sure we know how to do that. We have to make sure it’s controlled. It’s the most significant technological development in human history. One leader in the AI community said to me, ‘It’s going to overtake human thinking,’ which is frightening. But most think it can be used for everything from finding cures for cancer to significantly increasing productivity.”

He’s confident that he’ll defeat Trump in November

Although early polls aren’t necessarily encouraging for Biden’s chances against his GOP rival, the president tells Burnett that he’s “feeling good” about the way his campaign is going, citing a robust fundraising and get out the vote apparatus. “We have opened 100 headquarters across the country. [Trump has] opened none,” he emphasized.

Biden also confirmed that he’s receiving consul from the 44th occupant of the Oval Office, former President Barack Obama. “[He tells me to] keep doing what I’m doing,” Biden noted. “His advice is the same advice I sort of gave him when I was vice president. You have got to organize and [get] people knocking on doors and putting up signs.”

He supports students’ right to protest

Biden delivered an impromptu address last week after footage of clashes between protesters and police at Columbia University and UCLA dominated news coverage. And he repeated most of the salient points from that speech when asked about the student-led demonstrations against his administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

“First of all, there’s a legitimate right to free speech and protest,” Biden said. “There’s a legitimate right to do that. There’s not a legitimate right to use hate speech. There’s not a legitimate right to threaten Jewish students. There’s not a legitimate right to block people access to class. That’s against the law.”

He blames “corporate greed” for rising prices

Even as he strong defended his handling of the economy, Biden acknowledged that lower and middle class Americans are feeling a monetary squeeze. “People have a right to be concerned,” he said. “There’s corporate greed going on out there.”

“If you take a look at what people have, they have the money to spend,” Biden continued. “It angers them—and angers me—that you have to spend more. For example, a Snickers bar, it’s 20% less [food] for the same price. That’s corporate greed.”

Israel hasn’t yet crossed his “red line”

Asked about Israel’s recent strikes against the city of Rafah in Gaza, Biden said that his administration won’t supply weapons should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu order an all-out invasion. “They haven’t gone into the population centers,” Biden explained about why he doesn’t think that Netanyahu has crossed the proverbial “red line” just yet. “What they did is right on the border.”

At the same time, Biden did say that one shipment of weapons has been “held up,” amidst concerns over Netanyahu’s intentions in Rafah. “I have made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet they’re not going to get our support if, in fact, they’re going into these population centers.”