Is that curvy Biden quote real?

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On July 22, 2021, a meandering and seemingly absurd quote purportedly uttered by US President Joe Biden began circulating on social media.

The alleged quote reads: “And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where are why can’t the experts say we know this virus is actually going to be our excuse, we know? why not all approved drugs are temporarily approved and but definitively approved is also underway.

This is, generally speaking, an accurate quote from Biden’s appearance at a CNN town hall on July 22, 2021. The text above doesn’t contain a lot of punctuation, however, which may make the Biden’s message even more inconsistent. This is how this quote was presented in Urgent CNN Transcript of the event:

And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where you are – why can’t the experts say we know this virus is, in fact – going to be – or, sorry – we know why not all approved drugs are temporarily approved, but definitely approved. It is also in progress. I expect this to happen quickly.

Biden made the statement in response to a question from CNN reporter Don Lemon about when children under 12 can get vaccinated. Biden said “soon, I believe,” and when Lemon pushed him to elaborate, Biden said scientists were evaluating the data to make sure the vaccines were safe for children.

Here is the full exchange. The viral quote has been placed in bold:

SIR. LEMON: Well, let me ask – let me follow up on his question by asking: when will children under 12 be able to get vaccinated?

THE PRESIDENT Soon, I think. Now listen, one of the things that I made a commitment to do when I was elected – I said –

SIR. LEMON: How soon is “soon”, Mr. President? Not –

THE CHAIRMAN: Well, I … and let me he … let me finish the question … the answer. “Soon” in the sense that I am not telling any scientist what to do. I do not intervene. (Applause.)

And so they do – they take the exams now – the tests now, and make the decision now. When they are ready, when they have done all the science necessary to determine the 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds, they are in fact – all of them have a different makeup. They are developing. They are trying to find out whether or not there is a vaccination that would affect a child at a particular age and not another child. It is in progress.

Just like the other question, there’s a logic – and I heard you talk about it because you – I’m not concerned, but you – you’re always straight up about what you’re doing.

And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where you are – why can’t the – the – the experts say, “We know this virus is, actually – it’s going to be … “- or, excuse me -” We know why not all approved drugs are approved temporarily, but approved permanently. It is also in progress. I expect this to happen quickly.

SIR. LEMON: Well, that means – you mean for the FDA?

THE PRESIDENT: For the FDA.

SIR. LEMON: Yeah. So what do you –

THE PRESIDENT: The Federal Drug Administration.

SIR. Mr. LEMON: You said that you were talking to scientists, but what… what are they telling you, Mr. President?

THE CHAIRPERSON: What they’re telling me is, “Let’s decide, based on scientific evidence, how we do it.” Do it as we normally would.

Listen, for example, everybody’s talking about how, you know, this virus happened – this – that – the drugs designed to kill the virus came so quickly. They have been working there for two decades. There is nothing quick about it. It’s been over two decades.

So people said, “I’m not taking a drug that was approved so quickly. It’s been two decades. The truth is we haven’t told people enough to ease their feelings [sic]. There is nothing – their fears. It’s nothing of what happened yesterday and they said, “Well, let’s try to see that. And there is a process. Usually the process takes a good chunk of a year or more for some of these things to be decided.

But the wait – they don’t promise me any specific date – but my wait, speaking to the group of scientists we’ve assembled – more than 20 of them, plus more in the field – maybe it’s at the start of the school year – late August, early September, October – they’ll get final approval saying the FDA said, “No, that’s it. It’s good.”

But again, one last thing. I … we don’t tell you enough about it, I don’t think so. One last thing that’s really important is: we’re not in a position where we think a virus – including the Delta virus, which is much more transmissible and deadlier in terms of unvaccinated people – the virus – – the different shots that people are getting now cover that. They’re – you’re okay. You’re not – you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccines.

You can see this exchange on CNN.com. It can be seen during “Part 1” of CNN Town Hall. Lemon asks this question around 6:15 a.m.


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