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Obama reportedly concerned about Biden's political future after lackluster debate

The Washington Post reports that despite his public support for the Biden campaign, Obama has given a "harsher assessment of the presidential race" to some close Democratic allies.
Election 2024 Biden
Posted at 8:11 AM, Jul 05, 2024

Former President Barack Obama has reportedly voiced concern about the impact President Joe Biden's shaky presidential debate performance will have on his chances of winning the election this November.

According to the Washington Post, Obama called his former vice president after last Thursday's debate to share his support for the Biden reelection campaign moving forward. However, the Post reported that Obama gave a "harsher assessment of the presidential race" to some close Democratic allies.

Related story: Biden attempts to reassure campaign after debate stumbles: 'I'm in this race to the end'

Despite an admittedly lackluster performance at the debate and the president's own claim that he "fell asleep on the stage," President Biden is trying to move forward as he navigates the fallout, making it clear his intention is to stay in the presidential race amid growing concerns within his own party. He and Vice President Kamala Harris have repeatedly reiterated their intention to remain in the race and defeat former President Trump in November.

“I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win because when Democrats unite, we will always win," President Biden said in an all-staff campaign call this week. "Just as we beat Donald Trump in 2020, we’re going to beat him again in 2024."

The president’s stumbles during the first debate of this election cycle have overshadowed his criticisms of Trump’s mistruths during the onstage meeting and led to a flurry of responses to quell distress.

In the days since, two House Democrats — Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva — have publicly called for President Biden to leave the race.

Related story: An election historian explains why Biden should stay in the race

"I deeply respect President Biden and all the great things he has done for America, but I have grave concerns about his ability to defeat Donald Trump," Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton said in a statement to Scripps News on Wednesday. "When your current strategy isn’t working, it’s rarely the right decision to double down. President Biden is not going to get younger. Since Thursday night, I have been having nonstop, tough, honest conversations with colleagues and other Democrats. I’m taking time to seriously consider the best strategy for Democrats to win this election and set our country on a positive path forward."

New polls released this week further painted the picture of a candidate in decline, showing Trump widening his lead over President Biden nationally.

In a Wall Street Journal survey, Trump maintained a 6-point lead in the race, fueled primarily by a decline in support for President Biden. In the New York Times-Siena College poll, Trump led the president 49%-43% among likely voters and expanded his lead to 8 points among registered voters overall. Moreover, 74% of voters viewed the president as too old for the job in the Times poll, an increase of 5 percentage points since last week's debate.

Nonetheless, Biden campaign leaders Jen O’Malley Dillon and Julie Chavez Rodriguez noted that they expect future fluctuation in the polls, according to a separate internal memo obtained by Scripps News. The memo also stresses the need for staff to “stay focused on our job of talking to voters about the choice in this election.”

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