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Biden tries to repair debate damage with fiery speeches

Biden tries to repair debate damage with fiery speeches

Biden is trying to repair the debate damage with fiery speeches

Biden tries to repair debate damage with fiery speeches

RALEIGH, United States, June 29, 2024 (BSS/AFP) – An excitable Joe Biden came out swinging on Friday as he tried to make up for a disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump, insisting he was the right man to win November’s US presidential election.

Biden’s appearance at a campaign rally in the battleground state of North Carolina came amid rumblings in his alarmed Democratic Party over replacing the 81-year-old as their nominee — and shortly before the nation’s most influential newspaper urged him to step aside.

“I don’t walk as easily as I used to. I don’t speak as fluently as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to,” Biden admitted to his supporters in unusually confessional remarks.

“But I know how to tell the truth. I know how to do this job,” he said to loud cheers, vowing: “If you get knocked down, you get back up.”

Biden’s team found itself in damage control mode after Thursday’s debate, as he often hesitated, stumbled over words and lost his thoughts — heightening fears about his ability to serve another term.

He hoped to dispel doubts about his old age and expose Trump as a liar.

But the president failed to counter his bombastic rival, who made a largely unchallenged series of false or misleading statements on everything from the economy to immigration.

On Friday, Biden delivered the statements that Democrats would have liked to hear in the televised debate.

“Did you see Trump last night? I think he — and I mean this sincerely — set a new record for most 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.”

Trump also returned to the campaign trail on Friday, speaking at a rally in Virginia and launching his usual attacks on Biden in a wide-ranging speech.

“It’s not about his age, it’s about his competence,” Trump said.

“The question every voter should ask themselves today is not whether Joe Biden can survive a 90-minute debate, but whether America can survive four more years of corrupt Joe Biden.”

– A new Democrat? –

Trump spoke about the chance that Biden will be replaced by another candidate. He said, “I don’t really believe that because he’s doing better in the polls than all (other) Democrats.”

So far, no senior Democratic figures have publicly called on Biden to withdraw, with most toeing the party line on sticking with the existing ticket.

“I will never turn my back on President Biden,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is prominently on the slate of possible replacement candidates, said immediately after the debate.

Forcing a change in the candidate list would be politically charged and Biden himself would have to decide to withdraw to make way for another candidate before the party congress next month.

Biden won the primaries by an overwhelming margin and the party’s 3,900 delegates going to the convention in Chicago have great regard for him.

If he resigns, deputies must find a replacement.

“There are bad debate nights,” Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama, wrote on X.

But the election is “still a choice between someone who has fought all his life for ordinary people and someone who only cares about himself.”

However, the Democrats’ show of loyalty and Biden’s resistance in North Carolina were not enough for The New York Times.

The newspaper labeled Biden’s campaign a “reckless gamble” in light of the threat posed by Trump, with the editorial board – which is separate from the newsroom – calling on the president to step aside.

The “greatest public service Mr. Biden can perform now is to announce that he will no longer run for re-election,” the report said.

A logical — but not automatic — candidate to take Biden’s place would be his vice president, Kamala Harris, who loyally defended his debate performance.

As Democrats rushed to action, Trump’s allies tried to project calm certainty.

Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives and a senior Republican, said it was clear Biden was “not up to the task.”

“Donald Trump is the only man on that stage who is qualified and capable of serving as the next president,” he said. “The elections can’t happen fast enough.”

A second debate is scheduled for September 10.