Damage Control: Biden Camp Emphatic He’s NOT Dropping Out

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Calls for Joe Biden to drop out of the presidential race are as loud as they’ve ever been, with some of the president’s most sympathetic voices in media musing that, after a disaster of a debate, it’s time the 81-year-old politician called it quits.

Biden’s campaign came out firing against those calls by Friday, however, emphatically stating the president would “absolutely not” be dropping out of the race and that he still plans to debate Donald Trump a second time.

Seth Schuster, a campaign spokesperson, texted multiple media outlets, “Of course he’s not dropping out.” Lauren Hitt, another campaign spokesperson, texted other reporters the same message.

Mitch Landrieu, the co-chair of Biden’s campaign, said it’s the president’s decision if he wants to seek another four years in office or not. He said Biden had already made that decision by the end of Thursday night.

“He has to make the decision about whether he’s gonna be a candidate or not,” Landrieu said Friday morning on CNN. “He has done that and he’s gonna be the nominee.”

Other top Democrats have indicated they’re still confident in Biden as a candidate and president. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she wouldn’t push Biden to drop out of the presidential race and added that she didn’t know of any influential people who planned to, The New York Times reported.

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) told the Times his message to Biden would be to “stay the course.” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), an official Biden surrogate for young voters, told the paper that a vote for Biden remains a vote for a cohort of people who hold Democratic values.

“We have a great team of people that will help govern,” Khanna said. “That is what I’m going to continue to make the case for.”

Speaking at a campaign event in North Carolina on Friday, Biden insisted he wouldn’t be seeking another four years in the White House if he didn’t believe he was up for the task.

“Folks, I give you my word as a Biden, I would not be running again if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul I can do this job, because, quite frankly, the stakes are too high,” he said.

After the debate, Biden chalked up his poor performance to it being hard to debate someone who repeatedly lies.

Regardless of how Biden and his camp try to spin the debacle, however, millions of Americans saw Biden’s struggles live, in primetime, with their own eyes. His age was showing in the worst way, with his raspy voice and struggles to make a coherent point on key issues calling his mental fitness into question.

Within minutes of the debate closing, cable news airways were filled with hot takes that Biden needed to bow out of the race if Democrats wanted to have any chance of defeating Trump a second time.

“We’re still far from our convention and there is time for this party to figure out a different way forward,” said Van Jones, an ex-Barack Obama adviser, on CNN. “But that was not what we needed from Joe Biden and, personally, it was painful for a lot of people. It’s not just panic, it’s the pain of what we saw tonight.”

Jen Psaki, Biden’s former press secretary, said on MSNBC that questions about Biden’s mental acuity would make it impossible for Democrats to focus on Trump’s own laundry list of issues.

“The chatter is very distracting, and it’s going to be very consuming for the campaign,” she said. “Should he be replaced? They’re going to be answering that question instead of breaking through on attacking Trump.”

It’s much easier to speculate about replacing Biden on the presidential ticket than it is for Democrats to realistically run someone new, however.

That’s because party rules make it nearly impossible to replace de facto nominees—like a sitting president—without their consent, meaning it’s up to Biden himself whether he decides to step down or not.

Also, with just 130 days until Election Day, a change at the top of the ticket would require party insiders to overturn all of its primaries, in which voters overwhelmingly voted to nominate Biden.

Some have speculated the only way to get Biden off ticket is to have Pelosi or Barack Obama pressure him into it, but neither politician has showed any indication they plan to do that.

“They are, arguably, the two most influential Democrats not named Joe Biden right now,” NBC News’ Chuck Todd said Thursday. “And if they went public saying, ‘Thank you for your service but it’s time for new blood,’ I’m not sure Biden could survive as the nominee.”

As it stands, Biden slated to be announced as the Democrat’s presidential nominee during its convention in Chicago from Aug. 19 to Aug. 22. Just weeks later, he’s scheduled to face Trump a second time in a debate moderated by ABC on Sept. 10—a spectacle that’s sure to be must-watch TV.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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