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Biden caught on hot mic cursing reporter who asked if inflation is political liability

President Biden was caught cursing on a live microphone on Jan. 24 after Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked if inflation was a political liability. (Video: The Washington Post)
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President Biden on Monday was caught on a hot microphone using an epithet to describe a reporter who asked him a question about inflation and the midterm elections during a White House event on lowering prices for American families.

The reporter, Peter Doocy of Fox News Channel, later said the president called him and told him the comment was “nothing personal.”

Doocy was one of several reporters who shouted questions at the president at the end of Monday’s event.

“Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?” Doocy asked.

Biden responded by ridiculing Doocy’s question, then using an obscenity to describe Doocy himself.

“It’s a great asset. More inflation,” Biden said sarcastically, adding: “What a stupid son of a bitch.”

Fox News pointed to Doocy’s remarks about the exchange during his subsequent appearances on the network. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Soon after Biden made the comment, Doocy stood outside of the White House to join Fox News’s panel show, “The Five,” and gave his telling of what happened.

As the event drew to a close, Doocy said, members of the media pool began to shout questions at Biden, who said he wouldn’t take any off-topic questions.

“So, I shouted out something that’s not on my two pages of questions about crime,” Doocy said, holding the pages up to the camera. Instead, he shouted his question about inflation and the midterms. Biden’s response was caught on a microphone, but Doocy couldn’t hear it at the time.

It wasn’t until later that someone approached Doocy in the briefing room to tell him what Biden said. But Doocy and Fox News host Jesse Watters laughed it all off, it seemed.

“So, Doocy, I think the president is right, you are a stupid SOB,” Watters said to laughter from the other panelists.

“Yeah,” Doocy replied with a smirk. “Nobody has fact-checked him yet and said it’s not true.”

Later Monday night, during an appearance on “Hannity,” Doocy said the president had called him to discuss what happened.

“Within about an hour of that exchange, he called my cellphone and he said, ‘It’s nothing personal, pal,’ ” Doocy said. “And we went back and forth, and we were talking about just, kind of, moving forward.”

Doocy said he told Biden that he is “always going to try to ask something different than what everybody else is asking” and that Biden replied, “You’ve got to.”

“And that’s a quote from the president, so I’ll keep doing it,” Doocy said.

The exchange marked only the latest outburst by Biden in response to a reporter’s question in recent months.

Last week, a different Fox News correspondent asked him, “Why are you waiting on Putin to make the first move, sir?”

Biden responded: “What a stupid question.”

In June, Biden reacted angrily when CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked him at the end of a news conference in Geneva, “Why are you so confident [Putin] will change his behavior, Mr. President?”

Shortly afterward, Biden apologized, saying, “I owe my last questioner an apology. I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave.”

Biden and Doocy in particular have a history of often-antagonistic give and take — which the president at times has appeared to enjoy. During the 2020 campaign, Biden frequently scoffed at Doocy’s questions, which were often focused on Biden’s son, Hunter.

“I know you always ask a hostile question,” Biden told Doocy in September 2020. “But go ahead.”

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