CNN’s Smerconish Defends Biden Over War Story Controversy: There Was ‘No Puffery’ to Make Himself Look Better


CNN’s Michael Smerconish defended Joe Biden on Saturday by offering his view that the former vice president wasn’t acting out of self-serving deceitfulness with his recent war story controversy.

There’s been a commotion among reporters lately because of how Biden keeps telling a story about war heroism on the campaign trail, even though it seems to be based on mix-mashed anecdotes instead of an actual series of events. Biden is dismissing the “ridiculous” uproar over this matter, saying that he was making a broader point about the courage of America’s servicemen.

Smerconish spoke to memory psychologist Julia Shaw about this in order to discuss whether Biden’s gaffe was a “benign misstatement of facts” or proof of the ex-veeps’ decline or deceit. As Shaw elaborated on various fallibilities of memory, Smerconish assessed that Biden wasn’t acting out of ill-intent when he told his story.

“There was no puffery here to make himself better,” Smerconish said. “If he conflated the story so that we thought he was more heroic, I’d feel it was deceitful, but that’s not what I see taking place.”

Shaw agreed by concluding that Biden was acting off of a “false memory” that grew from “pieces of real events” he absorbed over time. She also drew a distinction between lies and false memories by noting that only one of those is driven by “intentional manipulation.”

“False memories can happen to any brain at any age. We see it all time,” Shaw said. “We need to be careful not to conflate both lying and false memories because they’re two distinct things, and to not conflate aging with just healthy brains.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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