Joe Biden said that he has felt self-conscious in the role of president, in a town hall hosted by CNN in Ohio.
“The first time I walked down the stairs and they played Hail to the Chief I said, ‘Where is he?'” he told a vaccinated crowd on Wednesday.
“You feel a little self-conscious, but I am not self-conscious about the power that comes with the office.”
He also used the occasion to urge Americans to get vaccinated, after concern over a spike in Covid cases.
He insisted that the economy would flourish and that the Covid pandemic was over for vaccinated Americans.
“There’s legitimate questions people can ask if they worry about getting vaccinated, but the question should be asked, answered and people should get vaccinated,” Biden said. “But this is not a pandemic.”
He said that prolific misinformation and conspiracy theories was making it hard to get things done and slowing down vaccinations.
At one point he directly referenced a Qanon conspiracy, expressing dismay that some members of the public believed that “Biden is hiding people and sucking the blood of children.”
In addition to fielding audience questions on policy, Mr Biden spoke about life in the White House.
He said he has asked the White House staff not to make him breakfast because he likes to wear his robe and walk around.
“I thank all of the help that’s there providing meals,” he said.
The president said he felt the true weight of the office for the first time when he visited Europe in June to attend the G7 summit and meet with world leaders.
“I was able to go to the G7 and change their mind on a whole load of things,” he said. “They never had included China in any criticism.”
He said meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin further drilled home the importance of the role.
“Putin knows who I am. He knows I mean what I say, will do what I say. It’s the first time I ever felt the notion that I am in the office as the leader of the free world.”
Mr Biden also used the evening to promote his ambitious $600 billion infrastructure bill.
Despite Senate Republicans blocking Biden’s bill from going to a debate on Wednesday afternoon, the president said on stage that he is confident it will still pass by Monday.
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