Biden seeks to tame Democrat panic at post-debate rally

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President Biden on Friday sought to tamp down the panic among some Democrats over his ability to lead the party heading into November following a calamitous debate performance a night earlier, delivering a more energized speech in North Carolina in which he acknowledged some of his shortcomings.

“Folks, I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to,” Biden said at a campaign rally in Raleigh. 

“But I know what I do know,” he continued. “I know how to tell the truth. I know right from wrong. And I know how to do this job. I know how to get things done. And I know what millions of Americans know: When you get knocked down, you get back up.”

Biden squared off with Trump on the debate stage on Thursday night in what turned out to be a disastrous performance. His difficulties sparked talk among some Democratic lawmakers over whether he should step aside, and even some of his former aides and fiercest allies acknowledged it was not a good performance.

The president appeared to acknowledge those worries head on during Friday’s rally as White House and campaign officials shut down talk of him dropping out of the race as some Democrats had started suggesting Thursday night.

“I give you my word as a Biden, I would not be running again if I did not believe with all my heart and soul, I can do this job,” Biden said in Raleigh. “Because quite frankly, the stakes are too high. The stakes are too high.”

Biden repeatedly attacked Trump on Friday for his frequent falsehoods and misleading statements during the debate on a host of questions.

“Folks, I don’t know what you did last night. But I spent 90 minutes on a stage debating the guy who has the morals of an alley cat,” Biden said, reiterating a term he used the evening before. “Did you see Trump last night? My guess is he set — I mean this sincerely — a new record for the most lies told in a single debate.”

Biden blasted Trump for claiming he created the “greatest economy” in history, for touting his record on crime even though it has dropped since he left office and for downplaying the severity of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The president ripped his predecessor over his myriad legal troubles and his felony conviction in New York City, calling Trump a “one-man crime wave.”

The energized version of Biden during Friday’s scripted speech was a far cry from the candidate who was on stage on Thursday night.

The president’s voice was often raspy, his delivery was frequently halting and at times he lost his train of thought or struggled to make his point clearly. The White House said shortly after the debate started that Biden was dealing with a cold.

Biden performance at the debate was seen as an opportunity to turn things around for his campaign, as he is trailing Trump in the polls in several swing states that will decide November’s race, while other battlegrounds like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are neck-and-neck.

The Biden campaign is hoping to flip North Carolina to their column after losing it in 2020 by less than 100,000 votes. He has traveled to the state multiple times this year in a effort to potentially turn it blue.

“I’m here in North Carolina for one reason,” Biden said Friday. “Because I intend to win this state in November. I think we are. We win here and we win the election.

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