Biden's July 4th party kicks off events that may reassure Democrats

By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If President Joe Biden is going to survive pressure to abandon his re-election campaign after a poor showing in his debate with Donald Trump, he needs to ace a gauntlet of events in coming days.

As calls grow from some of his own Democrats to step aside, and support coalesces around the idea of Vice President Kamala Harris taking his place in the November election, Biden needs to demonstrate stamina and mental acuity to voters and donors.

Biden will host families at the annual July 4 Independence Day festivities at the White House on Thursday, be interviewed on ABC News on Friday, and travel to Wisconsin the same day for a campaign rally with hundreds of supporters.

Sunday, Biden and his wife Jill speak to thousands at the National Education Association in Pennsylvania. Next week he hosts dozens of world leaders at the NATO summit in Washington, and holds a rare solo news conference. He has also done several radio interviews.

Dozens of House Democrats are watching closely, prepared to ask Biden to step aside if he falters in the ABC interview, a source told Reuters.

Biden’s already soft polls against Trump took a slight hit after the debate a week ago in Atlanta, but a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Biden pulled even with Trump this week, a sign the contest remains close.

Trump and Biden each had 40% support among registered voters in the two-day poll that concluded on Tuesday. A prior Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted June 11-12 showed Trump with a marginal 2 percentage point lead, 41% to 39%.

Biden, who would be 86 when his second term ends, is being asked by some former supporters to step aside to preserve his legacy and lessen the chances of a second Trump presidency.

In an interview with Earl Ingram of “The Earl Ingram Show” radio program on Wednesday, Biden said he would fight on.

“I screwed up, I made a mistake. That’s 90 minutes on stage. Look what I’ve done for the last three and a half years,” he said.

Biden met with a group of Democratic governors on Wednesday at the White House to make his case. Some told reporters afterward they were sticking by his side.

“President Joe Biden is in it to win it,” New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters after the talks.

Maryland Democratic Governor Wes Moore said: “We know that we have work to do. It’s going to take all of us to make it happen.” Gavin Newsom, the California governor who is often floated as an alternative to Biden, said on X, formerly Twitter, he was “all in” for Biden.

Arizona’s Raul Grijalva called for Biden to drop out of the race while Representative Seth Moulton from Massachusetts, pointed to Biden’s age as a liability.

“The unfortunate reality is that the status quo will likely deliver us President Trump,” Moulton said in a statement. “President Biden is not going to get younger.”

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Stephen Coates)

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