Biden’s moment of reckoning in unscripted press conference today

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden‘s political future and legacy will be on line at a live 6.30 pm EST White House solo press conference on Thursday (4 am IST Friday). Although the primary subject matter of the engagement will be the just-concluded Nato summit, Americans of all hues and interested parties across the world will be watching every word and gesture to determine if the 81-year President retains the cognitive ability to run for a second term in the White House.
Even a stellar performance at what’s being described as a high-stakes moment in American politics, where optics will trump substance, may not be enough. Although the US President has defiantly said he plans to continue his re-election campaign and all talk of quitting should cease, it hasn’t.
The scuttlebutt in the capital is many of his supporters and well-wishers are being considerate in waiting for the NATO summit to conclude before easing him out of the party nomination, with the kind of love and affection reserved for an enfeebled grandfather being led out of a raucous party.
The actor George Clooney, a big-time Democratic donor, was among those who channeled the “we love you grandpa, but it’s time for bed” theme in a New York Times oped, writing, “I love Joe Biden… But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time.”
“We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and Congress member and governor who I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly,” Clooney wrote.
Indeed, barring a few lawmakers and party veterans, there have been very few full-throated endorsements for the rapidly aging President. Many Democratic Senators and Representatives fear the President’s diminishing poll numbers will become a down-ballot deadweight that could drag them to defeat, losing the party both the House and Senate along with the White House.
The entire 538-member House of Representatives, a third of the 100-member Senate, and many gubernatorial and other state offices will go the polls on November 5 along with the Presidential elections.
In a Washington Post-ABC News-Ipsos poll released Thursday, a majority 56 percent of Democrats said Biden should end his candidacy, while 42 percent said he should continue to seek reelection. Overall, 2 in 3 adults say the president should step aside, including more than 7 in 10 independents.
Those numbers reflect the diminishing support Biden after the debate debacle nearly two weeks ago when he repeatedly stumbled and mumbled, triggering panic and anxiety in the Democratic party. Although he has been more cogent and forceful since that dismal evening, party activists are now concerned how he will last four years should he carve a path to victory over the next four months.
Clooney, who held a multi-million dollar fundraiser for Biden only last month, seemed to suggest that the President’s condition has deteriorated in recent years.
“It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “big F-ing deal” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate,” he wrote.


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