At debate, Biden meant to say he had beaten 'big pharma,' not Medicare

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least one mystery about President Joe Biden’s often convoluted answers during the presidential debate has been solved.

Early in the debate, the 81-year-old Democrat was asked a question about the national debt and ended his meandering answer by declaring, “We finally beat Medicare.”

That was not what Biden had intended to say about the popular program providing health insurance for older Americans.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday clarified the president's intent, saying, “He meant to say that he beat big pharma.”

Biden was trying to reference one of his legislative achievements — that Medicare now has the ability to negotiate the prices it pays pharmaceutical companies for some prescription drugs, helping to reduce federal spending.

The president's botched response helped set off broader concerns about his ability to compete against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in November's elections.

Trump picked up on Biden's answer, and retorted that “he's destroying Medicare.”