Biden Faces Growing Pressure After Debate Performance

Noah Silverbrook

Updated Saturday, June 29, 2024 at 6:06 AM CDT

Biden Faces Growing Pressure After Debate Performance

President Joe Biden's recent debate performance has sparked a flurry of activity among his aides and allies, who circulated talking points to Democrats and fielded calls from anxious donors. Biden's h***se voice and subdued delivery during the Atlanta debate have heightened concerns among Democratic leaders about his ability to handle the presidency.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy acknowledged that Biden had a bad night, receiving nervous calls from donors, though none backed out of an upcoming fundraising event for Biden. The debate has led some Democratic strategists to consider possible replacements for Biden, with former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle emphasizing the need for the party to weigh its options.

The New York Times' editorial board has gone so far as to call on Biden to leave the race following his performance. Internally, Biden campaign aides have debated whether Vice President Kamala Harris should appear on TV to avoid potentially outshining Biden. Despite the turmoil, the campaign sent out talking points indicating that Trump's debate performance alienated many viewers.

Biden himself acknowledged his debate lapses in a rewritten portion of his campaign speech in North Carolina, addressing his age and performance issues. He plans to participate in another debate with Trump on September 10, with senior Biden officials stating they are "all systems go" for the rematch. However, Biden emerged from his retreat in the Maryland hills looking wan and tired, his voice raspy from a cold.

During his speech, Biden b***led facts, overstating savings on insulin and erroneously claiming Trump wanted to eliminate Social Security. D*** Harpootlian, a former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman and Biden fundraiser, criticized Biden's debate preparation team, including Anita Dunn and Jen O'Malley Dillon.

Despite these setbacks, Biden campaign advisers insisted that his performance didn't necessarily hurt his chances or change the race's trajectory. Geoff Garin, a Biden pollster, noted that the debate was a missed opportunity but did not significantly alter voters' preferences. Remarkably, a senior Biden campaign official reported raising $14 million on debate day and the morning after, marking the best fundraising hour since the campaign's launch.

Biden’s approval rating remains stagnant, leading to impatience among some officials and donors. Alan Kessler, a Philadelphia-based Biden fundraiser, has suggested waiting a week or 10 days before making any decisions about Biden's future on the ticket. Should Biden step aside, it would likely require convincing from influential party leaders like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Jim Clyburn.

A rift exists within the Democratic Party between those who support Kamala Harris as the heir apparent and those who prefer prominent governors like Gretchen Whitmer, Josh Shapiro, Gavin Newsom, or J.B. Pritzker. Despite Biden's unsteady debate performance, House Democrats have rallied around him. Biden sometimes appeared to lose his train of thought and missed obvious openings to attack during the CNN debate, leading some party operatives and commentators to question whether he should step back in favor of Harris or another Democrat.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) suggested Biden may have overprepared and lacked strategy, a sentiment echoed by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.). Biden reportedly spent much of his time leading up to the debate rehearsing. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) mentioned that Biden was feeling under the weather during the debate, and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) said the empty auditorium setting may have thrown him off.

Democratic Majority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized Trump for lying throughout the entirety of the debate, while former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted that Biden got off to a bad start but improved later in the debate. Pelosi emphasized the contrast between integrity and dishonesty, questioning why the press doesn't hold Trump accountable for his lies.

Some Democrats are considering pushing for Biden to step aside or be forced aside. Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) expressed uncertainty about the next steps, suggesting Biden and his team need to "huddle up and have a conversation." Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) told Axios’ Andrew Solender that Democrats need to do a lot of soul-searching.

Republicans, meanwhile, argue that Biden's performance confirms their critique that he is not mentally fit for the presidency. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) plans to sponsor a non-binding resolution urging Biden’s cabinet to consider replacing him under the 25th Amendment. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) suggested that members of Biden’s cabinet should "search their hearts" about invoking the 25th Amendment. Rep. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, attributed Biden's issues to simply having a bad night, noting that everyone has good and bad nights.

Conservative Bias:

Well, folks, what did we expect? President Joe Biden's recent debate performance was an absolute disaster, and it's no surprise that his aides are scrambling to do damage control. This is what happens when you have a president who is clearly past his prime and unable to handle the rigors of the job. His h***se voice and lackluster delivery are just the tip of the iceberg. Democratic donors are panicking, and party leaders are openly questioning his ability to continue. It's a circus, and the ringmasters are the liberal elites who pushed this man into a role he's clearly unfit for. Even the New York Times is calling for Biden to step down! And let's not forget his constant b***ling of facts—overstating savings on insulin and falsely claiming Trump wanted to eliminate Social Security. This is the embodiment of the Democrats' incompetence and their desperate attempts to cling to power at any cost. The American people deserve better than this farce of a presidency. It's time for the Democrats to face the music and admit their colossal mistake.

Liberal Bias:

Here we go again, folks. The Republicans are salivating over President Biden's debate performance, but let's get real. The man had an off night, and who wouldn't, given the relentless attacks and lies spewed by the GOP? Biden's h***se voice and subdued delivery are hardly the catastrophe the right-wing media is making it out to be. But of course, the Republicans are using this as an opportunity to push their baseless narrative that Biden is unfit for office. They're even talking about invoking the 25th Amendment! This is nothing more than a cynical ploy to undermine a president who has been tirelessly working to clean up the mess left by the previous administration. The GOP is so desperate to deflect from their own failures that they'll latch onto any misstep, no matter how minor. And let's not forget, Biden managed to raise $14 million despite all this noise, a clear sign that the American people still have faith in his leadership. The real issue here is the Republican Party's relentless obstructionism and their complete disregard for the truth. Instead of focusing on governing, they're fixated on tearing down a president who is actually trying to make a difference. It's pathetic and transparent, and the American people see right through it.

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