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president of the united states

President Biden has a frog in his throat that's transforming him into George Clooney.

It's December in our second year of the pandemic, which means it's time for everyone's favorite game: "Is it a cold or is it COVID?" Any sniffles, sore throat or sinus pressure could be symptoms of COVID-19 infection, but the common cold is still alive and kicking, so you test and hope for the best.

Even the president of the United States is vulnerable to viruses, and the White House recently announced that President Biden has caught a cold. In addition to being double vaccinated and boosted, the president is tested for COVID-19 daily, so it does indeed appear to be just a cold. But the effect the cold virus is having on his voice is noteworthy, especially as it's making him sound exactly like actor George Clooney.

And when I say "exactly," I mean exactly. Push play, look away and listen:



Uncanny, right? My husband heard it playing from across the room and thought it was George Clooney. So funny.

Biden has said that he got the cold from his 1-year-old grandson who'd had a cold and who "likes to kiss his 'pop.'" The presidential physician issued a memo late last week to explain the president's symptoms.

“As is readily apparent, President Biden is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week,” Kevin C. O’Connor wrote. “This can be heard in his voice and he is feeling the colloquially well-known ‘frog in one's throat.’”

Other than some coughing and the throat frog that's transformed him into a hunky movie star, Biden seems to be doing okay.

Get well soon, sir. But in the meantime, please keep talking.

Anderson Cooper has interviewed hundreds of people, from top celebrities to heads of state to people on the street. He is fairly unflappable when it comes to chatting with a guest, which is what makes his reaction while interviewing inaugural poet Amanda Gorman all the more delightful.

Gorman stole the show at President Biden's Inauguration with a powerful performance of her original poem, "The Hill We Climb." People were blown away by both her words and her poise in delivering them, especially considering the fact that she's only 22 years old. But it's one thing to be able to write and recite well, and another to be able to impress in an off-the-cuff conversation—and Gorman proved in her interview on Anderson Cooper 360 that she can do both at a level most of us can only dream of.

In the interview, Gorman explained how she dove into research to prepare her poem to fit the occasion, and then how that work was disrupted by the attack on the Capitol.

"I'm not going to say that that completely derailed the poem, because I was not surprised at what had happened," she said. "I had seen the signs and the symptoms for a while, and I was not trying to turn a blind eye to that. But what it did is it energized me even more, to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope and unity and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear."

After explaining how she used tweets and articles and messages about the Capitol insurrection to hone parts of her poem, she shared thoughts on reclaiming the power of words.


"To me, words matter. And I think that's kind of what made this inauguration that much more sentimental and special. We've seen over the past few years the ways in which the power of words has been violated and misappropriated, and what I wanted to do was to kind of reclaim poetry as that site in which we can repurify, resanctify not only the Capitol building that we saw violated, but the power of words, and to invest that in kind of the highest office of the land."

Cooper and Gorman discussed the last few lines of her poem before delving into Gorman's speech impediment. Cooper shared that he himself had a form of dyslexia and a slight stutter as a child, and Gorman shared that even up until a few years ago she would drop entire letter sounds from her speech. In fact, she said, writing and reciting poetry served as a kind of speech pathology for her. The "R" sound gave her particular trouble even into college, so she would practice singing along with the song "Aaron Burr, Sir" from Hamilton because it contained so many "R" words. (She also included allusions to Hamilton lines in her inaugural poem, which Ham fans quickly noted.)

But the part of the interview that got Cooper tongue-tied was when Gorman shared the mantra she says before every performance. Watch:

Gorman said she closes her eyes and says, "I am the daughter of Black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me."

Cooper had to take a moment before saying, "Um, wow...just...you're awesome. I'm so transfixed." So funny to see one of television's most familiar faces being so awestruck. He's not the only one, though. She is truly mesmerizing.

"Your mom must be so proud of you," Cooper added. Gorman mentioned in her poem that she was raised by a single mother, and considering how proud the whole country is of this young woman, her mom is undoubtedly bursting with pride. Gorman shared how "a village" of support has helped lift her up to where she is today, and that her mom was right there with her filming her as she did this interview.

Anderson Cooper was all of us here. Amazed by Amanda Gorman's talent. Stunned by her grace and wisdom at such a young age. Moved by her personal story. Awed by how she captured this significant moment in our nation's history so beautifully.

Pure brilliance. We will definitely be keeping our eye on Ms. Gorman as we work to build the brighter future she envisioned for our nation.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.


The constituencies we represent showcase the variety of thought across our great nation. From Texas to California and from Oklahoma to New York, Americans are tired of the partisan gridlock and simply want to see leaders from both sides of the aisle work on issues important to American families, workers, and businesses.

We hope to work with you to extend targeted, meaningful coronavirus relief for families and businesses, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, strengthen and modernize our infrastructure, enforce our antitrust laws against emboldened technology monopolies, and restore our economy struggling in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

We firmly believe that what unites us as Americans is far greater than anything that may ever divide us. In that spirit, we hope that we can rise above the partisan fray to negotiate meaningful change for Americans across the nation and maintain the United States' standing as the best country in the world.

Sincerely,

Beth Van Duyne, Stephanie Bice, Madison Cawthorn, Scott Franklin, Andrew Garbarino, Carlos A. Gimenez, Yvette Herrell, Ashley Hinson, Young Kim, Nicole Malliotakis, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Barry Moore, Jay Obernolte, Burgess Owens, Jerry L. Carl, Peter Meijer, David G. Valadao

It may be worth pointing out that 17 out of 211 is a pretty small number, and some of the names on this list overlap with those who voted to reject Biden's certification. It's also worth pointing out that referencing the two impeachments and inter-branch investigations in the same breath as the attack on the Capitol (which they mistyped as "capital") feels a bit off, especially when pointing to them as seemingly equal examples of "the partisan divide."

But hey, any formal acknowledgment that partisan gridlock sucks and serves no one is a step in the right direction. We have to start somewhere if there's to be any hope of getting anywhere.

George Washington tried to warn us of "the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally" and explained what would happen if we didn't heed that warning. (Spoiler: It's exactly what is happening in our politics right now.) Imagine how much more we could get done in our government if it weren't for lawmakers playing toxic partisanship like a team sport. Partisan politics itself is inherently divisive, and it would be fabulous if we could come up with a better system, but here we are. If we have to work within a two-party system, we need the people in it to approach bipartisanship in good faith.

Whether this letter was issued in good faith by all who signed it remains to be seen, but at least it's a start. With some Americans being unwilling to accept the legitimacy of Biden's presidency, we need leaders across government to step up and speak up, put an end to the lies and the partisan rhetoric that pushes people to extremes, and work across the aisle to solve the problems we all face.

If Bernie Sanders isn't the realest dude to ever serve in Congress, I don't know who is.

We got to witness Bernie's down-to-earth, let's-get-to-work, cut-the-crap personality in all its visual glory at Joe Biden's inauguration today. While pundits fawned over the sharp and colorful stylings of the attendees, Uncle Bernie sauntered looking like he was on his way to run some errands and decided to stop in for a sec to see the new president sworn in.

Clad in what is probably his one winter coat and a pair of hand-knitted mittens, he looked perfectly comfortable, even as he stood out from the crowd of formal, designer coats and gloves. Ah, Bernie. You're just so...Bernie. It's a big part of why the guy has such a dedicated fan base. What you see is what you get, and he makes no apologies for being exactly who he is at all times.

But today of all days, as the nation waited with bated breath to witness the transfer of power from President Trump to President Biden, especially in the wake of an attempted violent coup and under the specter of an ongoing pandemic, Bernie's Bernieness came as a particularly welcome delight. This event could not have been more serious or weighty in its significance, and yet along comes Bernie reminding us that we're all just human beings here, none of us more or less important than the other.

His look launched a thousand memes that provided some needed comic relief for the day. I mean, how could it not?


"Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to-do list today but ain't his whole day." That pretty much nails it. "Inauguration? Check. Post office? Check. Do I have time to hit Home Depot? Well, I don't like to drive in the dark so we'll see."

He was undoubtedly happy to be there, but it's easy to read his body language as "Are we done yet? I don't have time for this hullabaloo. We've got work to do getting healthcare to the people."

Some got creative with where they imagined Bernie to be, such as showing up early to the movies.

Some started photoshopping him into various places, like the park or the DMV.

An everyman superhero, perhaps?

How about riding the subway, chilling in his headphones? Perfection.

If any of that makes you feel a little jealous, no worries. You too can look like you attended Joe Biden's inauguration on your way to the post office.

CBS News chatted with Bernie after the inauguration and asked him about the coat and mittens that got everyone talking. Naturally, he explained the practicality of it all. "You know, in Vermont we dress warm. We know something about the cold, and we're not so concerned about good fashion. We want to keep warm, and that's what I did today."

That sentiment was appreciated by other New Englanders who touted the shout out to "our middle class New England tradition of having exactly one heavy winter coat, worn to both formal and casual events."

The mittens actually have a sweet story behind them. They were given to him by a teacher from his home state when he was on the campaign trail a couple of years ago. And they're made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles, because of course they are.

You don't have to agree with all of Bernie Sanders' policy positions to agree that the man is as authentic and transparent as they come. And you don't have to agree with the fashion choice of showing up to a presidential inauguration in a parka and knitted mittens to acknowledge that a guy who does just that isn't trying to prove anything to anybody.

Keep being you, Bernie. The breath of fresh air you bring to our national politics will always be welcome.