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US President Joe Biden vows to carry on, ‘beat Donald Trump’ amid speculation about candidacy: Six things to know

The 81-year-old is till the Democratic Party nominee; but don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin

Agencies Published 04.07.24, 11:31 AM
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US President Joe Biden sent out a statement on Wednesday night asserting that he was the Democratic Party's nominee. “No one is pushing me out. I'm not leaving, I'm in this race to the end, and WE are going to win this election,” he said in a fundraising email. 

His statement came after The New York Times reported that Biden had told “a key ally” he was aware that his candidacy was on the line after his terrible debate performance against his Republican opponent, Donald Trump, in Atlanta last Thursday. 

The White House called The New York Time story completely false. 

"Let me say this as clearly and simply as I can: I'm running," Biden said in his mass email to his supporters. "I 've been knocked down and counted out my whole life. I'm sure the same is true for many of you. But my father had an expression. He said, 'Champ, it’s not how many times you get knocked down. It’s how quickly you get up'.”

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After debate, spotlight on ABC News interview

Biden’s interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News will be telecast on Friday night. The US president, according to The New York Times, ‘understands that his next few appearances heading into the holiday weekend’ are crucial.

A CBS News poll on Wednesday showed Trump ahead of Biden with 50 per cent to 48 per cent nationally and 51 per cent to 48 per cent in battleground states.

“I wasn't very smart. I decided to travel around the world a couple of times...shortly before the debate,” Biden said while talking to donors at a fundraiser in a Virginia suburb of Washington DC on Tuesday.

“I didn't listen to my staff...and then I almost fell asleep on stage,” he said.

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Trump has six-point lead over Biden in WSJ poll

Donald Trump can’t stop grinning. He has a 6 per cent lead over Biden with 80 per cent respondents saying that the current White House occupant is too old to run for a second term, according to a latest poll by The Wall Street Journal.

It said Trump's lead over Biden in a two-person matchup, 48 per cent to 42 per cent, is the widest in the WSJ’s surveys dating to late 2021 and compares with a 2-point lead in February.

The new survey began interviewing voters two days after the debate with Trump that left Democrats panicked about the 81-year-old president's possible cognitive decline and their party’s weakening election prospects in November, the daily reported.

Some 76 per cent Democrats said Biden is too old to run this year – the same share as Republicans who hold that view. Two-thirds of Democrats would replace Biden on the ballot with another nominee, it said.

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Enter Kamala? Not so fast

The WSJ survey found that Vice President Kamala Harris is non-popular among the respondents.

"Some 35 per cent viewed Harris favorably and 58 per cent unfavorably in the new survey, about the same as in February’s poll and roughly in line with views of the president," The Wall Street Journal said.

"The new survey also includes warning signs for the Democratic Party as it tries this fall to retain control of the Senate and retake a majority in the House," it added.

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Is Jill Biden making Joe run?

When a group of visiting political advisers sought to persuade then-Senator Joe Biden to run for president in 2004, his wife Jill sat poolside at their home, fuming.

Finally, she took action. She drew the word "NO" in ink in large letters on her stomach and “marched through the room in my bikini," she wrote. He decided against running that time around.

The anecdote, laid out by Jill Biden in her 2019 autobiography, ‘Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself’, makes plain that she hasn't always liked the idea of her husband running for president.

But she later came around to the idea and now, after his stumbling debate performance last week against his Republican rival, Donald Trump, the first lady is instead saying "No" to the idea of Biden pulling out of the race.

Even as some fellow Democrats call on Biden, 81, to accept that he is too old for a second term, Jill Biden – married to Joe for 47 years – appears to be holding firm.

"She has dug in her heels to support the president. She has been the most ardent and fervent supporter, campaigner, surrogate, defender, and protector than anyone around him, and clearly has tremendous influence," said Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush and co-author of ‘U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies’.

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‘Joe must go’ chorus has not died down

US Representative Raul Grijalva became the second congressional Democrat to call for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the presidential race on Wednesday.

"If he's the candidate, I'm going to support him, but I think that this is an opportunity to look elsewhere," Grijalva, a liberal who represents a district in southern Arizona along the border with Mexico, told the New York Times. "What he [Biden] needs to do is shoulder the responsibility for keeping that seat — and part of that responsibility is to get out of this race."

US Representative Lloyd Doggett was the first congressional Democrat to call for Biden to step down on Tuesday. 

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