BREAKING NEWS: Biden stumbles as he opens State of the Union by telling Kevin McCarthy he looks forward to working with him – after previously bashing Republicans as ‘MAGA extremists’

  • Biden stumbles his opening at State of the Union
  • He tried to improv at the top as he joked about Jill going to Superbowl
  • He got Chuck Schumer’s title wrong
  • And he gave Kevin McCarthy a backhanded compliment 
  • Follow along with’s live blog of the speech 

President Joe Biden fumbled his State of the Union speech at the top, attempting to make a joke about wife Jill going to the Super Bowl without him, messing up Chuck Schumer’s title in the Senate and complimenting Kevin McCarthy after previously slamming Republicans as MAGA extremists.

The president tried his hand at a little improv when he took the podium in the House chamber to address the nation.

After greeting Jill Biden, who sat in a box overlooking the House floor, Biden tried to joke to Chief Justice John Roberts about the first lady’s upcoming trip to the Superbowl, where her Philadelphia Eagles are playing the Kansas City Chiefs.

‘By the way Chief Justice – I may need a court order,’ he said, deviating from his prepared remarks. ‘She gets to go to the game next week. I got to stay home. I got to work something out here.’

He also gave McCarthy, who was presiding over his first State of the Union address as speaker, a backhand compliment. 

‘Mr. Speaker I don’t want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to working with you,’ the president said.

In other sittings Biden has blasted Donald Trump supporters like McCarthy as ‘extremists’ in the Republican Party. ‘This is not your father’s Republican Party,’ he has said repeatedly in the past. 

The president, who struggles with a stutter, also fumbled to greet Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who he called minority leader, which was Schumer’s old title.

‘Chuck Schumer – another, you know, another term is, was this Senate Minority Leader. You know, I think you always time you have a slightly bigger majority. Mr. Leader,’ he said.

Seated in the House chamber, Schumer held up one finger, indicating the one-seat majority that Democrats have in the Senate.

‘You’re the majority leader,’ Biden said, finally getting his title correct. ‘But that much bigger.’

President Joe Biden gives his State of the Union Address 

Biden’s remarks touted his economic record and pushed for more bipartisanship legislation like the infrastructure law and the CHIPS Act.

The president hasn’t announced he will seek another term – but said he intends to. He’s expected to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks. And his State of the Union address will be seen as an argument for why he should get four more years in the White House.

Biden will take his sales job on the road. He heads to Wisconsin on Wednesday and Florida on Thursday.

Vice President Kamala Harris shakes hands with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy when she arrives in the House chamber for the State of the Union address

First lady Jill Biden arrives at the State of the Union address; second gentleman Doug Emhoff is next to her

President Joe Biden in the presidential limo known as the Beast on his way to the Capitol

Bono greets Paul Pelosi – the two men have seats nexd to each other in Jill Biden’s box

Lingering in the backdrop of Biden’s remarks is the fight to raise the debt limit. Republicans want to slash federal spending in exchange for increasing the nation’s $31.4 trillion borrowing limit. Biden wants it raised with no conditions attached.

The battle is shaping up to be his first major policy fight with Republicans since they took control of the House. The two sides have until the end of June to come to an agreement.

Additionally, the Federal Reserve has been slowly raising interest rates to try and slow down rising inflation. The consumer price index dipped from a nearly 9% annual rate in June to under 6.5% as of December.

Gasoline prices that hit $5 a gallon over the summer were below $3.50 this week.

The president’s approval rating is hovering at around 40% as he goes into Tuesday night. 

The Capitol is prepared to receive him. Protective fencing went up around the building over the weekend and the streets around it will be shut down during the speech. 

Extra chairs were brought on to the House floor to accommodate the 100 senators, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Cabinet and other officials who will be in attendance.  

Television cameras are in Statuary Hall, just down the House chamber from where Biden will speak. Lawmakers will flood the room after Biden’s address to give their take. 

Seated behind him, for the first time, will be Kevin McCarthy in his role as speaker. Biden’s new bete noir will gavel the chamber into order and introduce the president. 

GOP leaders issued a blunt warning to their lawmakers on Tuesday to behave themselves while the president speaks, reminding them that cameras and microphones will be on during the entire event.

The U.S. Capitol is seen through security fencing erected before President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress during the annual State of the Union address

Workers move extra chairs into the House Chamber for the speech

U.S. Military V-22 Osprey aircraft fly past the Capitol on the evening of the State of the Union speech

U.S. Capitol Police officers gather outside the Capitol building

The Presidential limosine sits on the South Lawn in front of the White House ahead of Biden’s departure for Capitol Hill

The president’s address will be composed of two contrasting elements: his ‘unity agenda’ that the administration hopes will attract bipartisan support. It focuses on issues they feel like they can work with Republicans on: tackling the illegal drug problem; ending smoking; helping veterans and cancer patients; and providing more access to mental health care.

But Biden will also push ideas that show how he and Republicans differ. He’ll call on Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy, give more federal aid to those in need and guarantee protections to Social Security and Medicare. 

He will call again for a ‘billionaire minimum tax.’ In the past, Biden has proposed a 20% levy on households with a net worth of more than $100 million.

Lawmakers will be split before Biden when he speaks – Republicans to his left and Democrats on his right. Members of the Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs and the diplomatic corps will attend the speech.

Meanwhile Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene brought a white balloon around the halls of Congress amid criticism of Biden over his handling of China’s spy balloon

Earlier Tuesday, McCarthy warned his GOP conference members to behave, making it clear he wanted no shenanigans on the House floor.

The lawmakers were reminded that boom mics will be on so ‘peoples conversations will be picked up, and anything you’re reading on your phone’ could been seen by a camera lens, a GOP lawmaker said.

The speaker also promised to behave himself and not cause any ‘theatrics,’ specifically saying he won’t do as Nancy Pelosi did during Donald Trump’s final State of the Union address and tear up the text of the speech. 

‘I don’t believe in the theatrics of tearing up speeches,’ he said in a video posted to his Twitter account. ‘I respect the other side.’

Last year, Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado repeatedly interrupted and heckled Biden during his remarks. 

On Tuesday Greene was spotted walking the halls of Congress with a white balloon a as Republicans slam Biden’s handling of a suspected Chinese ‘spy balloon’ that flew over several U.S. states before being finally shot down on Saturday. 

She did not bring it with her to the House chamber for Biden’s speech. 


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