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‘Get the man a throat lozenge’: Biden kicks off debate with clogged throat, scratchy voice

He did not sound great.


Katherine Huggins


President Joe Biden started off the first 2024 debate against former President Donald Trump with a cough and a scratchy voice, quickly becoming one of the first memes to emerge from the much-anticipated showdown.

“Joe Biden’s voice ran out after the first sentence,” noted one user on X, along with a GIF of Michael Scott from The Office rubbing his temples.

“Oh, lord. Get the man a throat lozenge,” quipped someone else.

“The missing throat lozenge that ended the world,” joked another.

“Biden doin RFK Jr’s voice to protest that he wasn’t invited,” joked someone else of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s absence from the CNN stage.

Others pointed out that Biden’s apparent scratchy throat was not doing any favors in assuaging concerns about his age.

A Gallup poll released on Wednesday found that about 67% of Americans say Biden—at 81 years old—is too old to be president. In comparison, 37% said the same of Trump, who is 78 years old.

“Oh god, Biden’s voice is shot. This does NOT help him look less old,” remarked one person.

“Biden starting off with a hoarse voice not the best,” wrote commentator Wajahat Ali. “I hope he can drink some water. Bad visual.”

Indeed, critics—many of whom have long argued that Biden’s age and mental acuity should be prohibitive to a second term—were quick to capitalize on Biden’s poor-sounding voice.

“Biden is sick, Listen to his voice and look at his eyes,” quipped one person. “I hope they have doctors and nurses there.”

Blasted another Biden critic: “THEY MESSED UP BIDEN’S DRUG COCKTAIL. Biden opens with a raspy voice and sounds as sleepy as ever. Also clearly nervous, struggling to remember his lines. IT’S OVER HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

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