Calls Grow Louder For Biden To Dop Out Of Presidential Election, After His Disastrous Debate Performance

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President Joe Biden was supposed to put the nation’s mind at ease over his physical and mental capacity with his debate with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee on Thursday night. They hoped that President Biden, 81, could convince the world that his age was nothing to worry about and that he could counter Donald Trump’s wild accusations and relentless falsehoods with confidence.

But from the onset of the debate, Biden struggled even to talk, mostly summoning a weak, raspy voice. Biden’s voice was hoarse and halting. His answers were often unclear, and he struggled to finish his thoughts. In the opening minutes, he repeatedly tripped over his words, misspoke and lost his train of thought.

Biden produced the weakest performance since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon started the tradition of televised debates in 1960 — then, as on Thursday, in a television studio with no audience.

Rather than dispel concerns about his age, his garbled debate performance reinforced his frailties and sent shudders of anxiety through Democrats who believe former President Trump is poised to benefit in November. Thursday’s presidential debate saw a raspy and sometimes halting President Joe Biden struggling to confront Donald Trump on the CNN stage, spurring panic from his party.

Biden’s faltering debate performance has worried Democrats openly discussing for the need to have the president step aside for a younger candidate while elated Republicans gloat over his stumbles. “He’s not equipped to be president,” Trump said during the debate.

If the debate was the president’s best chance to turn around a tight race with Trump, which has him in deep peril of losing reelection, it was a failure.

In a hoarse voice that gained volume as the 90 minutes wore on, Biden attempted to draw substantive contrasts with his challenger, but his meandering points and blank expressions handed Trump ammunition to reprise his campaign theme that Biden is a “disaster” who is “destroying” the country.

The president, in turn, attacked Trump’s policies, morals, veracity and motives. He referred to his predecessor as “this guy,” said “he’s lying,” called Trump “a loser” and “a sucker” and “a convicted felon.” Biden said Trump “slept with a porn star,” referring to Stormy Daniels, the woman at the center of the former president’s New York conviction for falsifying hush money payments as business expenses.

“Number one, I didn’t sleep with a porn star,” Trump replied. At one point, Trump boasted about his golf prowess as evidence of his fitness and health. Biden had a comeback about his own golf handicap, as if the two were scrapping in a locker room. “Let’s not act like children,” Trump admonished.

Trump rolled over Biden, landing punch after punch. Not with logic. And certainly not with truth. But with force of personality and sheer chutzpah.
Biden struggled to articulate policy specifics, statistics and rebuttals, often stumbling or misspeaking. Early in the debate, Biden seemed to lose his train of thought and said, “We finally beat Medicare.”

The Biden campaign’s demand that each candidate’s mic be muted when it wasn’t their turn to talk seemed to help Trump. He largely waited to speak and seemed to enjoy himself. Trump seized on Biden’s halting speech, saying at one point: “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said, either.” Trump refused to say that he would accept the results of the November election, saying he would do so only “if it’s a fair, and legal, and good election.”
Questions about Biden’s age and frailty have dragged down his polling numbers for months. The public concerns are exacerbated by deceptively edited videos, some of which have gone viral, that cut off relevant parts of an event, making it appear as if Biden is wandering or confused. This was Biden’s first opportunity since the State of the Union speech to dispel that narrative.

In watch parties, bars, a bowling alley, and other venues where people across the country gathered to tune in, Trump supporters, happily, and Biden supporters, in their angst if not dread, seemed to largely agree they had witnessed a lopsided showdown.
Instead of a new beginning, many Democrats saw it as a moment for panic. “Democrats just committed collective suicide,” said a party strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns. “Biden sounds hoarse, looks tired and is babbling. He is reaffirming everything voters already perceived. President Biden can’t win. This debate is a nail in the political coffin.”

“Biden just had to beat himself; unfortunately the stumbling and diminished Joe Biden the world has come to know made Trump look competent and energetic,” said a former Trump campaign official who isn’t working for his campaign this year. “I expect there will be some loud calls from Democrats for a change on the top of the ticket.”
“It’s hard to argue that we shouldn’t nominate someone else,” a Democratic consultant who works on down-ballot races said.

Democrats fear a Biden loss could take down other candidates. Some chattered online and to reporters behind the scenes Thursday night about possible emergency off-ramps. One House Democrat from a swing state told The Hill, “Biden’s team needs to convince him to withdraw and have an open convention.”
After the debate, “Dump Biden” opinion pieces are everywhere this morning. “There are no two ways about it. That was not a good debate for Joe Biden,” Kate Bedingfield, who served as Biden’s longtime communications aide, conceded on CNN.

But the panic among donors and party officials after watching Biden falter Thursday night in his debate against Trump has led some of them to take steps to get Biden out of the race.

There are already discussions among Democratic fundraisers about trying to convince congressional leaders — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in particular — to urge Biden to announce to drop out, according to people familiar with the matter who were granted anonymity to speak freely.

But replacing Biden as the party’s pick less than five months out from Election Day carries enormous political risks and would be difficult, if not impossible, to pull off. Right now, the only likely way Biden could be replaced is if he willingly ends his campaign.

And Biden’s aides and top Democratic officials say the 81-year-old incumbent has no plans to do so. Closing ranks around his former vice-president, former Pressident Barack Obama tweeted a link to a fundraising page on Biden’s campaign website and offered words of encouragement.

“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know,” Obama said, referring to his own lackluster encounter against Mitt Romney in 2012. He said this election remains a choice between someone, Biden, who cares about ordinary people and tells the truth, against someone who doesn’t, Trump. “Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November.”

“Democrats are in a very difficult situation because it’s late in the campaign for a change,” said Meena Bose, director of the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University, in an interview with CNBC. The only feasible way Bose could see it playing out is with Biden throwing his full support behind Vice President Kamala Harris to become the new nominee.

Asked on Friday about Democratic concerns with his showing and whether he should consider stepping aside, Biden said, “No, It’s hard to debate a liar.”

“I know I’m not a young man, to state the obvious,” Biden told a crowd that chanted “four more years, four more years.” The president added, “I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to.” Biden went on, raising his voice,“But I know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth. I know right from wrong. And I know how to do this job.”

“I know what millions of Americans know: When you get knocked down, you get back up.”

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