Biden acknowledges age, bad debate performance but vows to beat Trump

RALEIGH, North Carolina: President Joe Biden said Friday he intends to defeat Republican rival Donald Trump in November’s presidential election, giving no indication he is considering dropping out of the race after a lackluster debate that horrified his Democratic colleagues. .
“I know I’m not a young man to say that,” an energetic Biden said at a rally a day after a showdown with his Republican rival that was widely seen as a defeat for the 81-year-old president.
“I don’t walk as easily as I used to, I don’t talk as smoothly as I used to, I don’t debate as well as I used to,” he said as the crowd chanted “four more years. “

“But I can tell the truth. I know how to do this job,” he said with great cheer, vowing that “when you get knocked down, you’ll get up.”

“I wouldn’t run for office if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul that I could do the job. The stakes are too high,” Biden said.

Biden hoped to assuage doubts about his advanced age and expose Trump as a habitual liar.
But the president has been unable to counter his bombastic rival, who has offered a largely unchallenged barrage of false or misleading statements on everything from the economy to immigration.
On Friday, Biden delivered the lines Democrats wanted to hear in a televised debate.
“Did you see Trump last night? I think he’s set — and I mean it honestly — a new record for the number of lies told in one debate,” Biden said.
“Donald Trump is a real threat to this nation. He is a threat to our freedom. He is a threat to our democracy. He is literally a threat to everything America stands for.”

Biden’s verbal stumbles and sometimes meandering answers in the debate raised concerns among voters that he might not be able to serve another four-year term and prompted some of his fellow Democrats to consider replacing him as the nominee for the U.S. 5 election. November. .
Campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said there had been no discussions about that possibility. “We’d rather have one bad night than a candidate with a bad vision for where he wants to take the country,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The campaign held an “all hands on deck” meeting Friday afternoon to reassure staffers that Biden is not dropping out of the race, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
Although Trump, 78, presented a series of untruths during the debate, attention then focused squarely on Biden, especially among Democrats.
Hakeem Jeffries, the leader of the Democratic Party in the US House of Representatives, avoided a direct answer when asked if he still believed in Biden’s candidacy.
“I support the ticket. I support the Democratic majority in the Senate. We will do everything in our power to take back the House in November. Thank you all,” he told reporters.
Some other Democrats were similarly hesitant when asked whether Biden should stay in the race. “That’s the president’s decision,” Democratic Sen. Jack Reed told a local Rhode Island TV station.

Obama hesitates
But several top party officials, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said they were sticking with Biden.
“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who spent his life fighting for ordinary people and someone who only cares about himself,” former Democratic President Barack Obama wrote on X.

But the display of Democratic loyalty and Biden’s defiance in North Carolina were not enough for The New York Times.
The New York Times editorial board, which endorsed Biden in 2020, urged him to drop out of the race to give the Democratic Party a better chance of defeating Trump by selecting another candidate. “The greatest public service that Mr. Biden can perform now is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election,” the editorial said.
A logical—but not automatic—candidate to replace Biden would be his vice president, Kamala Harris, who has loyally defended her debate performance.

Biden’s campaign said it raised $14 million on Thursday and Friday, posting its single best hour of fundraising just after Thursday night’s debate. Trump’s campaign said it raised $8 million on the night of the debate.
One possible bright spot for Biden: preliminary viewership figures showed just 48 million Americans watched the debate, far fewer than the 73 million who watched the candidates’ final face-off in 2020.
Already the oldest US president in history, Biden faced only token opposition during the party’s months-long nominating contest and secured enough support to secure his spot as the Democratic nominee.
Trump also bested his internal party challengers earlier in the year, setting the stage for a long and bitter general election battle.
If Biden were to withdraw, the party would have less than two months to choose another candidate at its national convention that begins Aug. 19 — a potentially messy process that could pit Kamala Harris, the nation’s first black vice president, against governors and other officials , whose names have been released as possible replacements.

Trump’s allies are triumphant
As Democrats lashed out, Trump allies sought to provide calm reassurance.
US House Speaker Mike Johnson, a senior Republican, said it was clear Biden was “not up to the job”.
“Donald Trump is the only man on this stage who is qualified and able to serve as the next president,” he said. “The election can’t come soon enough.”
At an afternoon rally in Chesapeake, Virginia, Trump told supporters he had won “a great victory against a man who wants to destroy our country.”
“Joe Biden’s problem is not his age,” Trump said. “It is his competence.”
Trump’s advisers said they thought the debate would boost his chances in Democratic states like Virginia, which hasn’t supported a Republican presidential candidate since 2004.
Some Trump supporters previously said they were taken aback by Biden’s poor performance. “I’m afraid they’re going to replace him and put someone more competitive,” said Mike Boatman, who said he’s attended more than 90 Trump rallies.
Trump fundraisers said they are fielding enthusiastic calls from donors. “Anyone who raises money knows it’s time to go after donors, and this is one of those turning points,” said Ed McMullen, who served as ambassador to Switzerland during Trump’s presidency.
Questions about Trump’s fitness for office have also been raised over his conviction last month in New York for covering up a secret payment to a porn star, his bid to overturn the 2020 election and his chaotic tenure in office.
His sentencing is scheduled for July 11, just days before his party meets to formally nominate him. He still faces three other criminal charges, though none appear likely to go to trial until November.
Biden’s shaky debate performance sparked stunned global reactions on Friday, prompting public calls for him to step down and likely leave some of America’s closest allies steeling themselves for Trump’s return.

The second discussion is scheduled for September 10.

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