Joe Biden stutter: Did 46th President stammer during first speech? Americans say ‘take more pauses like Obama’

'Democracy wins,' Biden said. 'We’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.'


                            Joe Biden stutter: Did 46th President stammer during first speech? Americans say ‘take more pauses like Obama’
US President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

The wait is over. After a powerful presidential election in 2020, America welcomes Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States after the exit of the Donald Trump administration. The 78-year-old former vice president and long-time Senator took a heartwarming oath from Capitol Hill, the site where pro-Trump extremists clashed with police and stormed the Congress in a deadly insurrection.

Attended by only about 1,000 socially distanced guests, including former Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, the ceremony had everyone applauding, smiling and looking for hope amid racial injustice, economic downfall and deadly Covid-19 threat.

“Democracy wins,” Biden said. “We’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” The president added, “We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion? Will we master this rare and difficult hour?”

Did Joe Biden stutter?

US President Joe Biden reacts as he delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the US Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

As the 46th President took his oath, the Internet couldn't help but wonder if he would stutter. Fascinatingly, he didn't stutter once, except for stumbling slightly while saying the words “urban” and “rural”. Many were surprised how he overcame his speech disability as he pledged to be a “president for all Americans.”  

Soon, Twitter was buzzing with joyful reactions. “The fact that Joe Biden who grew up with a stutter is being sworn in as president in front of the whole country and is speaking with confidence in front of the whole country makes me feel really warm,” one tweet read and another said, “I was worried Biden was gonna stutter on the oath.”

A third wrote, “I’ve said this before but watching long-form speeches by Biden, it really settles in that this dude is absolutely someone who has struggled to manage a stutter, and as an Autistic person with her own speech issues it’s just sort of inspiring to see him speak this way.”



 



 



 

‘Biden needs to take more pauses like Obama’

Biden, however, did get a tip or two on how to make a speech and many warned others from making fun of his stutter. “I hate whenever people make fun of Biden's stutter and say he's unfit to be president because of that. He's not perfect but making fun of his speech impediment just doesn't sit right with me,” one tweet read and another said, “If y’all joke about Biden having a stutter I won’t hesitate to throw y’all in a ditch. I have a stutter too. and I got bullied because of it.”

One Twitter user went on to say, “Biden needs to take more pauses like Obama did when he's doing long speeches like this. You can tell his stuttering is showing more the longer this goes on, and my experience is that it's always helpful to pause and regroup when that happens.” Another said, “Let's take a moment to appreciate that Biden can give a completely decent and normal speech with complete sentences after a lifetime struggling with stuttering, while that orange dumpster fire was incapable of finishing a single coherent thought.”



 



 



 



 

How Joe Biden overcame his stutter

President Joe Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Biden may have dubbed himself a “gaffe machine” once but he overcame his struggle with words after years of resilience. “I mean, I can’t remember a time where I’ve ever worried before a crowd of 80,000 people or 800 people or 80 people — I haven’t had that feeling of dread since, I guess, speech class in college,” he said in an interview with The Atlantic. Calling it “the best thing that ever happened” to him, he added, “Stuttering gave me an insight I don’t think I ever would have had into other people’s pain.” 

Earlier, he also confessed how his mother Catherine Finnegan Biden played a huge role in helping him tame his speech disorder when he was a child. “I didn't have professional help but I had three things going for me,” he said at a town hall meeting. “First, I had a mother with a backbone like a ramrod and she'd go, 'Joe, look at me. Look at me, Joey. You're handsome, you're smart, you're a good athlete, Joey. Don't let this define you. Remember who you are. You can do it.' And so every time I walked out, she reinforced me. I know it sounds really silly but it really matters. The worst thing a parent can do is finish a kid's sentence.”

Joe Biden: An inspiration to millions

President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

 

The president has inspired millions by overcoming his stutter. Back in February, when he was a Democratic candidate, Biden met Harrington, 13, a New Hampshire resident at a town hall event in Concord. The two spoke backstage and the young boy — who thanked Biden for giving him confidence — addressed the Democratic National Convention last August and his video has been viewed millions of times.

“When I learned I had the opportunity to speak at the Democratic National Convention, I was so nervous!” Harrington said in a statement. “What got me through and helped motivate me was knowing I could be a voice for other children who stutter as well as anyone else who has faced challenges. I only hope my story provides a little extra support and motivation for those that need it.”

After being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, Biden said, “Democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile, and at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

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