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Biden’s Debate Performance Sparks Concern Among Democrats

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Democrat presidential candidate U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during their debate in Atlanta, Georgia, REUTERS/Brian Snyder

President Joe Biden’s recent debate performance against Republican rival Donald Trump has raised alarm bells within the Democratic Party. The 90-minute face-off, which saw Biden struggle to counter Trump’s repeated falsehoods, has led to calls for campaign shake-ups and even questions about his bid for re-election.

Missteps by Biden’s advisers

Critics point to a series of missteps by Biden’s senior advisers leading up to the debate. Some argue that the 81-year-old president appeared exhausted and underprepared, despite a rigorous six-day preparation at Camp David. Key figures involved in debate prep included campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, longtime aide Anita Dunn, and former White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

John Morgan, a major Biden fundraiser, suggested that the president was “over-coached” and placed in a venue that favoured Trump. He called for the firing of Dunn and her husband, Bob Bauer, who played Trump in mock debates.

The Biden campaign had entered the debate with high hopes, buoyed by Trump’s legal troubles and Biden’s recent successful European trips. However, the president’s fumbling performance has sparked soul-searching within the party.

Poor performance prompts discussion

The debate preparation strategy focused on arming Biden with facts and zingers to counter Trump’s expected barrage of falsehoods. However, critics argue that this approach neglected the bigger vision Biden needs to sell to the country.

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Some advisers questioned the decision to participate in the debate, as they worried it might give Trump an undue platform. Biden’s team also rejected the traditional Commission on Presidential Debates format, opting instead for a CNN-hosted event with stricter rules.

Tough decisions to be made

While many donors and Democrats continue to rally around Biden, the debate performance has undoubtedly caused concern. Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin acknowledged ongoing discussions within the party about potential alternatives for the 2024 race.

As the election approaches, the Democratic Party faces tough decisions about its strategy and leadership moving forward.

With inputs from Reuters