Democrats publicly rush to defend Biden after debate: 'It was a bad night. It was a great presidency.'

Several prominent Democrats sought to present a united front on Sunday, flocking to morning news programs in defense of President Biden following his shaky performance in the June 27 debate against former President Donald Trump. The appearances come amid reports of tension within the party about whether Biden — who is expected to discuss his re-election campaign with family on Sunday — should step aside. Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN’s State of the Union where she was asked about major editorial boards, like the New York Times, that have called for Biden to drop out of the race since the debate.

“We see Joe Biden up close, we know how attuned he is to the issues, informed he is. When I debate with him about legislation — and not debate, but discuss it with him, he’s right there,” Pelosi told Dana Bash. “So, in any case, it was a bad night. Let’s not sugarcoat that. It was a bad night. It was a great presidency.”

NBC News reported on Saturday that Pelosi is among the top Democrats who’ve privately expressed concern about Biden’s “viability.” She denied this through a spokesperson and publicly backed the president on CNN.

Pelosi admitted that “members are always concerned about the top of the ticket,” but sidestepped commenting on whether people in her party are more anxious in the wake of the debate. Pelosi said it could be “chaotic” if Biden were to end his campaign at this stage, arguing that the president should take the race “over the finish line.”

Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, of South Carolina, a close confidant of Biden’s, also joined the show. He was asked if he had concerns about Biden’s ability to not just win, but to lead the country, come November.

“I do not believe that Joe Biden has a problem leading for the next four years, because he’s done a great job of leading for the last three-and-a-half years,” Clyburn replied.

Over on NBC’s Meet The Press, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock said Biden should “absolutely not” drop out of the race.

“Bad debates happen, as [former] President [Barack] Obama has said,” Warnock said. “And this was 90 minutes. But let me tell you about that 90 minutes. Donald Trump lied the entire 90 minutes.”

Host Kristen Welker asked Warnock about the growing calls for Biden to step aside and potentially clear the way for Vice President Kamala Harris to run.

“I have great respect for Vice President Harris, whom I spent a great deal of time with, but Joe Biden is the nominee,” Warnock replied. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation where he said he “will not” seek the Democratic nomination and will “proudly be supporting the president.”

“Joe Biden is not going to take himself out of this race, nor should he,” Moore said, adding: “Joe Biden is our nominee, Joe Biden is our leader, and Joe Biden has earned — and Joe Biden deserves — the confidence, the respect and frankly the partnership that we now have to provide to him.”

Moore admitted that Biden particularly fumbled while addressing abortion on Thursday night — “it wasn’t a great moment for the president,” he said. But he stuck to the Democratic talking point that Trump lied throughout the 90-minute debate.

Biden himself acknowledged his listless debate performance during a rally in North Carolina on Friday, telling a crowd of supporters, “I don’t debate as well as I used to.”

“I know I’m not a young man. I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to… but I know what I do know — I know how to tell the truth,” the 81-year-old said.

Biden arrived at Camp David late on Saturday night for a pre-planned gathering with his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, their children and grandchildren, the New York Times reported. While the Bidens were initially gathered for a photoshoot, multiple outlets have reported that the president will discuss the future of his re-election campaign with his family. Publicly, Biden has given no indication that he plans to drop out of the race after a busy 48 hours campaigning around the country.

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