Disillusioned Democrats stuck with Biden after tough debate shows

Reviews are first Presidential Debate Between President Biden and former President Donald Trump.

“It wasn’t Biden’s best night,” Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly admitted to CBS News.

“It pains me to say that the president’s performance has been poor,” said Pennsylvania Representative Madeleine Dean. “He had a bad argument. No two ways about it.”

“Look, it’s terrible Discussion,” said Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig, who told reporters she was still “processing” what happened.

But all the hand-wringing about President Biden and the Friday morning quarterback Bad deliveryDespite verbal fumbles and incomplete ideas, many congressional Democrats are not ready to give up on him, despite some calls within party ranks to consider another candidate.

“That was a strike,” Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, a longtime Biden ally, told CBS News. “If it’s a ball game, he’s got two more swings.”

Clyburn’s message to nervous Democrats: “Be sure.”

Clyburn, whose 2020 approval Then-candidate Biden spurred him on Success in presidential primaries and nominationsShe said she plans to speak with the president and campaign on his behalf this weekend in Florida and Wisconsin.

“We need to focus on the Biden record,” said the senior Democrat, who chalked up Biden’s performance to “stylistic” difficulties. “Focus on substance. We have a work horse on behalf of the American people. We have a show horse trying to get him out of office.”

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi agreed when asked about her impressions of President Biden’s first race against former President Trump.

“Compared to a person who was lying the whole time, we saw honesty on one side and dishonesty on the other. That’s how I saw it,” Pelosi told CBS News.

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on a similar message on social media.

“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know,” Obama posted. “But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary people all his life and someone who only cares about himself and someone who lied through his teeth for his own benefit last night has not changed that, and that is why there is so much at stake in November.

Some Democrats are less forgiving.

“That’s beyond my pay grade,” Rep. Tom Suozzi, who recently won a New York swing district, said when asked if President Biden should step away.

A Biden campaign memo written by campaign chairman Jen O’Malley Dillon following the debate, CBS News obtained Saturday, said the presidential race was “incredibly close” and “by any measure we’ve seen” before Thursday’s debate. Arguably, race is “intimate.”

The Democratic National Committee held a call with members Saturday afternoon and multiple sources, including DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, confirmed to CBS News. A DNC member told CBS News that no questions were allowed at the end of the call, and that Harrison only made a brief reference to Biden’s debate performance.

According to DNC spokeswoman Hannah Multa, the call did not focus on Biden’s debate performance, but instead touched on a variety of topics, including fundraising numbers and grassroots campaign efforts.

Multavin also said the Biden campaign had raised $27 million since the debate ended Friday evening.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire’s Democratic Senate. In an interview with Gene Shaheen, WBUR, Mr. Biden declined to directly answer a question about whether he is eligible for another term. Like other Democratic lawmakers, he said he had a “very bad night,” but unlike them, he expressed some uncertainty about what was to come.

“I’ve had an opportunity to work with him over the last three and a half years,” he told WBUR. “He’s done a lot for the country. It’s made a difference, and I think the assessments will go forward as to what happens next. But I can’t answer that for you today.”

“I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion about what happens next. I think we’re going to have to look at President Biden again and see what happens,” he added, adding, “He had a really bad night yesterday. So disqualify him for the next 4 years. The question is whether they are going to do it.

Other lawmakers tried to play down concerns about the president’s influence at the top of the ticket in down-ballot races.

“I’m not a part of the drama of this city immediately demanding that someone have a bad night because we’re in crisis,” said Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, who acknowledged that the “purple state” would be competitive. “We’ll see what happens. I’ll go home and talk to people in my district.”

“Voters aren’t going to make a decision because someone has a sore throat,” said Rep. Robert Garcia of California, who traveled to Atlanta to campaign and insisted that Biden would be the “100%” candidate.

The White House confirmed the president had a cold during the debate, describing it as “nothing out of the ordinary.” The Biden campaign called all staff on Friday. Communications director Michael Tyler told reporters that the campaign had no plans to change its strategy.

Speaking to a North Carolina crowd Friday afternoon, Mr. Biden He admitted his mistakes.

“I know I’m not a young man, frankly,” the 81-year-old said at a campaign rally in Raleigh. “People, 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 I used to. But what I know—how I know to tell the truth.”

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

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