gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Biden Allies Scramble After Faltering Debate Performance Against Trump – The Zimbabwe Mail

Biden Allies Scramble After Faltering Debate Performance Against Trump

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ATLANTA, – Allies of President Joe Biden moved swiftly on Friday to contain the fallout from his challenging performance at the first 2024 U.S. presidential debate. Biden struggled to fend off a barrage of attacks and false claims from his Republican rival, Donald Trump.

The Biden campaign had hoped a strong debate showing would alleviate voter concerns about the 81-year-old Democratic incumbent’s age and ability to serve a second term. Instead, Biden’s hoarse voice and occasional stumbles in the early stages of the debate heightened those worries.

One anonymous Biden donor described his performance as “disqualifying” and predicted some Democrats would renew calls for Biden to step aside in favor of another candidate before the party’s national convention in August. Panicking Democrats exchanged messages about whether Biden might consider stepping down.

A senior Democratic strategist acknowledged the unprecedented nature of an incumbent pulling out this late in the election cycle but noted there would be calls for Biden to do just that.

Interviews with undecided voters revealed a negative perception of Biden’s performance, with descriptions such as feeble, embarrassing, and difficult to watch. Two White House officials attributed Biden’s struggle to a cold, a detail that underscored the campaign’s anxiety.

Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged Biden had a “slow start” but defended his overall record, arguing it outweighed a single 90-minute event. California Governor Gavin Newsom, seen as a potential Democratic alternative, dismissed the notion of replacing Biden.

Trump, 78, has also faced questions about his fitness for office due to his recent legal troubles, including a conviction in New York and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Despite Trump’s numerous falsehoods during the debate, post-debate focus remained on Biden.

Neither candidate is popular, and many Americans express dissatisfaction with their options, fearing potential political violence post-election. The debate at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters came unusually early in the campaign, with more than four months until the November 5 election.

Biden, addressing reporters at a Waffle House in Atlanta early Friday, said, “I think we did well,” and dismissed concerns about his performance, stating, “It’s hard to debate a liar.”

Biden headed to a Friday rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, aiming to reclaim the state for Democrats, followed by a fundraiser in New York and the opening of a monument to the 1969 Stonewall riot for LGBT rights. Trump planned a rally in Virginia, a state he hopes to contest despite past losses.

The debate featured intense clashes over the economy, abortion, immigration, and the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, with deeply personal attacks. Trump reiterated false claims about the 2020 election and accused Democrats of supporting infanticide and migrants of violent crimes.

Biden struggled to fact-check Trump in real-time, and CNN moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash did not correct Trump on air. However, Biden managed some significant points, calling Trump a felon and noting the lack of support from Trump’s former cabinet.

“This guy has no sense of American democracy,” Biden said during a segment on the January 6 attack.

The second and final debate of the campaign is scheduled for September.

Source: Reuters