Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Democratic lawmakers worry Biden’s interview won’t save his campaign

By 37ci3 Jul6,2024

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden continued the damage control debate during an interview with ABC News on Friday night, trying to convince Democrats that he is the best candidate to defeat former President Donald Trump this fall.

But the behind-the-scenes interview did little to assuage the fears of Hill Democrats, who are worried that Biden’s debate performance may not repair his candidacy.

Hours after Biden sat down for a 22-minute interview with ABC News anchor George Stefanopoulos, more than a half-dozen Democrats in Congress described Biden’s political situation in harsh terms, including “heartbroken,” “doomed” and “f—-.” -g disaster.”

On Saturday morning, Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., became the latest Democrat and the first front-runner to call on Biden to “step aside for the next generation of leadership.”

Separately, a Democratic lawmaker who had previously endorsed Biden told NBC News they would “soon” break the silence on his political future.

“It saddens me,” said the interviewer of Rep. Biden. “Totally detached from reality and isolated from the truth.”

A senior aide to another front-line Democrat on the Hill said there had been specific discussions about senior Democrats taking their concerns directly to the president in a public letter. Congress was not in session last week and decided to wait until those members were together in D.C., an aide told NBC News.

“The front-runners are all nervous and ready to pull the trigger to ask Biden to step aside personally, but they’re less afraid politically,” said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

One House Democrat predicted more calls for Biden to step aside in the coming days.

“Denial of the problem is not a solution or a way forward to convince our voters that he has the ability or the vision for another four years,” he said.

And another lawmaker lamented Biden’s refusal to drop out of the race.

“We’re desperate to protect our democracy and we really want the grace that comes with him beating Trump in 2020 and deciding to pass the baton,” the House Democrat said.

During Friday’s interview, Biden was repeatedly asked if he had taken a cognitive test or if he would be willing to take an evaluation and release the results. He protested each time, claiming that he passed the tests every day, pointing to his presidential obligations.

One House Democrat argued that his refusal to take the test “is a problem.”

After Biden’s interview, one longtime House Democrat said, “There’s a hardening of the sentiment in many quarters that there needs to be action, and that action is a different candidate.” The lawmaker said that while the interview is not enough to judge Biden, it is instructive, along with public appearances.

When reached for comment, the Biden campaign characterized the interview as demonstrating the president’s ability to answer tough questions. The campaign also told the president how he viewed the election this November.

At the same time, many Democrats who have been nominated as future presidential candidates closed their ranks around Biden before the debate and reiterated their support for the president. These high-profile politicians include governments. Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Wes Moore of Maryland.

Rep. Nanette Barragán, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also said she saw no concern about Biden.

“He clearly understands the questions and topics and responds accordingly,” she said. “It’s a tough interview and I think he did well.”

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By 37ci3

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