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Gov. Whitmer gets out the vote for Michigan's presidential primary, defends President Biden

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) calling voters at a Get Out the Vote phone bank in Flint, Michigan
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) calling voters at a Get Out the Vote phone bank in Flint, Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is defending President Joe Biden amid renewed concerns about his mental competency.

Questions are being raised about Biden’s memory following a report by a special counsel and a late-night news conference.

The report described the 81-year-old Democrat’s memory as “hazy,” “fuzzy,” “faulty,” “poor” and having “significant limitations.” It noted that Biden could not recall defining milestones in his own life such as when his son Beau died or when he served as vice president.

At a news conference Thursday, Biden insisted to reporters that “My memory is fine,” and said he believes he remains the most qualified person to serve as president. Though during the news conference, Biden appeared to be slow in answering questions about Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

Whitmer says the President acknowledges making “gaffes.” But she maintains Biden is the better choice when compared to former president Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate in 2024.

“This is I think a gaffe versus someone who is dangerous to our democracy,” Whitmer told reporters on Friday.

Whitmer was in Flint to take part in a Get Out the Vote phonebank.

Michigan’s presidential primary is coming up in just over two weeks.

With President Biden expected to easily win Michigan’s Democratic Primary on February 27 and former president Trump expected to win Michigan Republican Primary and next month’s GOP caucus, there’s little drama leading up to either contest.

Still Whitmer argues, Michiganders should vote.

“It matters because we want people to understand,” said Whitmer. “You can’t get to the White House unless you go through the state of Michigan.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said she expects turnout for the presidential primary will be below turnout for the upcoming August primary and November general election.

A record number of Michigan voters have applied for absentee ballots for the presidential primary. Also, February’s contest will be a first major test of early in-person voting in Michigan.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.