"The first time I walked downstairs and they played 'Hail to the Chief,' I went, 'Where is he?' " Biden said in a Town Hall that aired on CNN Wednesday

By Virginia Chamlee
July 22, 2021 03:54 PM
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Joe biden
Joe Biden
| Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

There was discussion on the president's policy goals, the administration's strategy on COVID-19 and the economy — but one moment from Wednesday night's CNN Town Hall offered a window into Joe Biden, the person.

"It's a wonderful honor," the 78-year-old Biden said of being president. He added, "As you can tell, I hope I have very good manners, but I'm not very hung up on protocol."

Speaking to host Don Lemon, Biden said that he missed the freedom of being able to roam around the house at odd hours, or eat breakfast in a robe each morning.

"Secret Service is wonderful and because things are so crazy out there, it is very hard to get comfortable, like I would ordinarily be," the president continued. "For example, I think all of the help that's there, providing meals and all the rest, I think they love us. Because I say, 'Don't come in for breakfast. We can get our own breakfast.' Because I like to walk out in my robe and go in."

Biden also acknowledged the abnormality of hearing "Hail to the Chief" as he walks into events, saying he still hadn't gotten used to the fact that the song now salutes him.

"The first time I walked downstairs and they played 'Hail to the Chief,' I went, 'Where is he?' " he quipped. "It's a great tune but you feel a little self-conscious."

Biden continued: "You think I'm kidding. I'm not ... You feel a little self conscious."

Still, the president said that he is "not at all self-conscious about the power that goes with the office as relates to resolving issues."

The last time Biden participated in a CNN town hall was four weeks into his presidency. During that event, he compared life in the White House to living in a "gilded cage," expressing to Anderson Cooper that he was not used to being waited upon by a house full of staff.

"I get up in the morning and look at Jill and say, 'Where the hell are we?'" Biden joked, adding, "I find myself extremely self-conscious" when people wait on him.

The president and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, spoke to PEOPLE in February about their new lives in the White House.

"It's surreal ... but it's comfortable," the president said. "We were here for eight years, just not in this part of the residence. Spent a lot of time in the Cabinet Room and the Oval with the president. So upstairs [in the private family quarters] is new."

Dr. Biden backed up the sentiment, saying that staffers in the White House were working to make it feel like home: "The residence staff has been so great, trying to make it feel like home for us. We have family pictures all around, our books, some furniture we brought from home."