Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Congressional Democrats admit Biden stumbled in the debate but stand by him for 2024

By 37ci3 Jun29,2024

A debate performance By President Joe Biden a five-alarm fire started inside his party Thursday gave way to a more measured public response from congressional Democrats the next morning, who acknowledged he had done a bad job but disagreed with those calling for him to drop out of the presidential race.

“It was a terrible debate. Joe Biden couldn’t communicate and Donald Trump lied every time he opened his mouth,” said Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., who represents a competitive district.

But when asked if Biden should drop out of the 2024 race, Craig said he’s focused on his district.

In private, many Democrats, including some MPs – said they were worried. But clearly, they are putting on a brave face and diminishing the impact of a single discussion.

“I thought he had a poor performance,” said James Clyburn, D.C., a former House whip and party insider credited with being instrumental in Biden’s victory in the 2020 Democratic primary.

But, he said, it’s a long way to the November election and “a debate doesn’t make a campaign.”

“In particular, he doesn’t have to do anything but keep doing what he’s doing,” Clyburn said. “In terms of style, Joe Biden is not a show horse. Joe Biden is a businessman.”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said: “He got off to a bad start. I thought he got better at things later.”

The Biden campaign tried to calm Democrats’ nerves after the debate. A congressional aide said they distributed talking points to lawmakers and allies based on interviews with surrogates — primarily Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro — as potential 2028 candidates. presidential candidates.

“Some people are panicking, other people are urging them not to panic, and other people are just sick of the drama,” the aide said, summing up the reaction seen among lawmakers. “We want the focus to be on what’s at stake in the election, and this is clearly not a good day for those trying to get voters to choose between these two candidates.”

There was some synchronicity in the Democratic message, with numerous lawmakers, including Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, emphasizing a “style over substance” narrative about the debate.

“He had a bad night last night,” said D.N.Y.’s Greg Meeks. “I think he’s going to have to put himself out there more.”

On Jan. 6, Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chairs the select committee, said Biden “missed a golden opportunity” to set the record straight on Trump’s claims about the Capitol attack.

D-Mass., the top Democrat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Richard Neal said Biden appeared overprepared, didn’t stick to his key economic themes and missed opportunities to get his message across in the debate against Trump.

But he said he doesn’t want Biden to abandon the party’s 2024 ticket.

“Let’s see about that,” Neal said. “We have a long way to go in this campaign.”

Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., pointedly dismissed reporters’ questions about whether Biden should step aside.

“You’re crazy,” he said.

After the debate in Atlanta, US Representative Robert Garcia of California asked Democrats to stop being afraid.

“I wouldn’t panic,” he said. “In President Biden, we have a great candidate and the only candidate who has defeated Donald Trump. We will defeat Donald Trump for the last time.”

Or as Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said Friday: “Joe Biden could have had a bad evening. But we don’t want four bad years under the leadership of Donald Trump.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stood by Biden after the debate.

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., called the reaction “[m]orning-after thermonuclear beat downs” faced after a 2022 debate against Republican Mehmet Oz, Fetterman stumbled while recovering from a stroke.

F— chill“said X.

“I refuse to join the Democratic thugs on Biden’s shoulders after the debate. No one knows more than I do a rough argument is not the sum of a person and their record,” he added, mocking analysts who predicted he would lose. He won with a margin of 5 percent.

Rebecca Katz, a Democratic consultant and former adviser to Fetterman in 2022, said the campaign recovered by seizing Oz’s politically damaging statement and running ads on it.

“John had a very rough debate night overall last round. Dr. Oz was fine on camera, but at the end of the night he said the indifference of the night when he announced that abortion was between “the woman, her doctors and local political leaders.” We turned it into an ad and into an insult,” Katz told NBC News. “What voters took away from the 2022 debate was what the candidates said, not how they said it.”

At rally on Friday In Raleigh, North Carolina, Biden was, to many observers, a different man than he was at the previous night’s debate. An energized crowd booed him, acknowledging his poor debate performance but drawing a stark contrast between himself and Trump.

“A lot of people told me we have to do something. I said take a deep breath and see what happens in a few days,” said the veteran House Democrat. “It was a terrible night, and yes, the party is saying he looks 100 right now. A lot of people are saying we can’t win with Biden. But when I saw him in Raleigh today, I said, ‘Where was that man last night?’

Sahil Kapoor reported from Atlanta; Kyle Stewart, Ryan Nobles, Rebecca Kaplan and Kate Santaliz reported from Washington.

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By 37ci3

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