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Obama, Clinton excuse Biden's debate performance to fend off Democratic meltdown: 'Bad debate nights happen'

  • Barack Obama and Bill Clinton tried to help calm the Democratic meltdown following President Joe Biden's debate fumble against Donald Trump.
  • Both former presidents nodded to the weakness of Biden's debate performance but asked voters to look past it.
  • The messaging reflects Democrats' new strategy for post-debate spin: Acknowledge the slip-ups.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton on Friday tried to do some damage control following President Joe Biden's debate fumble against his November election opponent, former President Donald Trump.

"Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself," Obama said in a post on X, linking to Biden's campaign website. "Last night didn't change that, and it's why so much is at stake in November."

Several hours later, Clinton mimicked the defensive play.

"I'll leave the debate rating to the pundits, but here's what I know: facts and history matter," Clinton said in his own post on X, following with a brief list of Biden's accomplishments.

Throughout the 90-minute showdown on Thursday, Biden regularly stumbled, taking mid-sentence pauses to gather his words and tripping over his sentences. The blunders happened even on topics like abortion and the economy, which he tends to be cogent on during campaign rallies and White House events.

The messaging from Obama and Clinton marks a shift in strategy for Democrats as they try to course-correct after Thursday's flop.

Much of Democrats' spin immediately following the debate attempted to play down Biden's conspicuous blunders, instead attacking Trump's performance and giving Biden a generous evaluation.

Read more on cnbc.com