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Let’s keep going, says Biden as Democrats deal with debate shocker

Washington, June 28, 2024
US President Joe Biden said he did well at the Thursday debate with former President Donald Trump and dismissed the likelihood of him stepping aside, as being demanded by some Democrats disappointed by his performance, telling supporters: “Let’s keep going.”

“I think we did well,” Biden told a reporter when asked for his thoughts on his performance.

Asked about calls for him to quit and if he had any concerns, he said: “No. It’s hard to debate a liar. The New York Times pointed out he (Trump) lied 26 times.”

But Bident did acknowledge he was not well and had a sore throat.

“Tonight, President Biden presented a positive and winning vision for the future of America – one in which every American has a fair shot at the American dream, where every one of our rights are protected, and where our President fights to strengthen our democracy – not to tear it down,” Jen O’Malley Dillon, the Biden campaign chair, said in a statement defending the President.

Many Democrats, however, were concerned Biden may not be able to beat former President Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

He looked his age (81), and perhaps older, fumbled for words, seemed confused at points, and lost the train of his thoughts. They are calling for him to step aside. The names doing the rounds as his replacement were Vice-President Kamala Harris, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

“There is a sense of shock at how he came out at the beginning of this debate. How his voice sounded. He seemed a little disoriented. … There are going to be discussions about whether he should continue,” David Axelrod, a top adviser to former President Barack Obama, said of Biden’s performance on CNN.

David Plouffe, another adviser to Obama, called Biden’s debate performance a “DEFCON 1 moment”, which is the most severe level of alert for military readiness used by the US military.

Andrew Young, a Democrat who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination against Biden in 2020, posted on X: “Guys, the Dems should nominate someone else – before it’s too late”. He added a hashtag to the post — “#swapJoeout”. Some progressives in the party have also called for the President to step aside.

But Plouffe has called for patience for three to four days to assess how exactly voters reacted. He thinks Trump may have had an even worse night because his bid for swing voters “bombed as well”.

Plouffe ran Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns and has intimate experience of presidential debates.

Replacing Biden will be difficult if not impossible. The Democratic party’s rules regarding presidential conventions rule that the delegates coming up through the primaries are bound to their respective candidates. The party could, however, hold a convention before the August 19 convention and change the rules.(Agency)

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