Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took a shot at President Joe Biden’s age on Wednesday, saying his oldness showed earlier this year during White House and congressional negotiations on raising the debt ceiling.

“It was policy. It was certain decisions,” McCarthy said of his spring meetings with Biden in an interview at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit.

With extra emphasis, he added, “He talked from cards!”

The thing about talking from note cards in meetings is that it is helpful for old people. It is also helpful for young people. Notes help people to remember key points and to prepare for anticipated questions. Bringing notes to a contentious negotiation to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt and crashing the U.S. economy is probably a good idea.

McCarthy likes to publicly ding Biden for being old, even if he’s privately telling allies that he thinks the president is mentally sharp and “very professional, very smart, very tough.”

But the thing that the 58-year-old former GOP House speaker may not realize is that he, too, uses notes for talking. That’s because he and every other political leader in America rely on scripts and talking points for meetings and speeches, including House speakers, Senate leaders and past presidents.

Here is former President Barack Obama, who was a spritely 47, holding his note card for a June 2009 Oval Office meeting with then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Double note cards, folks.
Double note cards, folks.

Here is former President George W. Bush using notes for talking in a very important-looking Oval Office meeting in 2003, too.

This looks like a meeting that would require bringing a lot of notes.
This looks like a meeting that would require bringing a lot of notes.

Could it be that 77-year-old Donald Trump also used notes in meetings as president?

What is that piece of paper on the desk in front of him? WHAT IS THAT.

Here is Trump announcing that Bahrain will establish diplomatic relations with Israel in early November 2020. Why does he have notes for something this basic?
Here is Trump announcing that Bahrain will establish diplomatic relations with Israel in early November 2020. Why does he have notes for something this basic?

There is even photographic evidence of McCarthy reading from notes in meetings, if you can believe it. Here he is last month, during a press conference with members of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

Are those spectacles, sir?

Glasses pushed down the nose is a very youthful look.
Glasses pushed down the nose is a very youthful look.

Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

Here he is in October, getting ready to nominate Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to be the next House speaker.

That didn’t work out so well for Jordan. Maybe McCarthy needed better notes.

What is that piece of paper you're looking at, SIR.
What is that piece of paper you’re looking at, SIR.

Bill Clark via Getty Images

Is the California Republican new to using notes for talking? Let’s go back a few years.

Here’s McCarthy in November 2020, gathering up the notes he just used for talking about the GOP’s performance in the election.

That's a hefty stack of notes right there.
That’s a hefty stack of notes right there.

Here is McCarthy leaving a private meeting with Republicans in April 2023, where he was trying to find the votes to pass the debt ceiling package he was negotiating with Biden.

What is that in his hand?

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy lugs notes from his Aug. 26 meeting with fellow Republicans on his debt ceiling package.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy lugs notes from his Aug. 26 meeting with fellow Republicans on his debt ceiling package.

J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Here’s a damning piece of evidence: McCarthy spotted in an August 2022 meeting with New York lawmakers and local law enforcement ― and the only person at the table with a note card.

Of course, what would be ironic is if McCarthy was spotted in the Oval Office with a folder of papers for a meeting. But what are the chances that there is a photo from May 2021 showing th―

"Well, hello there, folder of papers for this meeting."
“Well, hello there, folder of papers for this meeting.”



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