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Democrats struggle to respond to Biden debate performance

Democrats at all levels of the party spent the hours following the first presidential debate dodging questions about President Biden’s fitness to lead the party and struggling respond to a debate performance that almost uniformly disappointed the party.

Despite widespread concern about Biden’s performance, top leaders are publicly standing by the president.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, asked about Democrats calling for Biden to drop out, said “that’s not my position.” When asked if Democrats can win back House with Biden on ticket he simply responded “yes.”

But the questions that started Thursday night following the debate have not faded.

“Joe Biden had one thing he had to do tonight and he didn't do it.”

“Look, it was a really disappointing debate performance from Joe Biden. I don't think there's any other way to slice it.”

“Biden had a very low bar going into the debate and failed to clear even that bar.”

Those comments following Biden’s debate with former President Donald Trump didn’t come from an array of Biden critics, they came from his prominent supporters: former Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Kate Bedingfied, Biden’s own former White House communications director, and Julian Castro, the Obama-era secretary of Housing and Urban Development, respectively.

Indeed, Democrats are engaging in a collective hand-wringing after Biden’s debate performance last night – a debate that as NPR’s Domenico Montanaro wrote made them wonder “if they’d be better off with someone else as their nominee.” The president looked his age (81), appeared slow, and was unable to articulate a coherent position on even Democrats’ most important issue: abortion.

“Given he delivered the kind of performance Democrats feared, party

Read more on npr.org