Biden after TV duel debacle: “I’m not debating as well as I used to”

The day after clearly losing the TV debate against Trump, US President Biden, 81, seems more energetic again. He admits weaknesses, but wants to continue. Obama also supports him.

US President Joe Biden is confident after his weak performance in the first TV debate against challenger Donald Trump: “I wouldn’t run again if I didn’t believe with all my heart and soul that I could do this job,” said the 81-year-old Democrat at a campaign appearance the day after the debate against Trump. “I’m here in North Carolina for a reason,” he shouted to a cheering crowd in Raleigh. “Because I plan to win this state in November.” If he succeeds, he will also win the election across the country.

Biden is running for a second term in the presidential election in early November. His predecessor, the 78-year-old Trump, also wants to return to the White House for the Republicans. Biden’s performance in the TV debate on CNN on Thursday is leading to growing doubts in the Democratic Party about his suitability. He regularly stumbled over his words in the debate with Trump, speaking unclearly, quietly and with a hoarse voice.

Skepticism against Biden in the party, but no open opposition

Although no prominent party colleague from the front row publicly opposed Biden on Friday, many in the party were skeptical as to whether Biden is really the right candidate to win against Trump again.

Biden tried to calm critics in his first major public appearance after the debate debacle. “I know I’m not a young man to state the obvious,” he explained in Raleigh. “I don’t walk as easily as I used to, I don’t talk as smoothly as I used to, I don’t debate as well as I used to.”

Trump has “the morals of a street dog”

But, Biden added, he knows how to tell the truth. “I spent 90 minutes on stage debating a guy who has the morals of a street dog,” Biden said of the TV debate with Trump the previous evening.

Biden appeared much fitter during the campaign appearance than during the TV debate the night before. His voice sounded less hoarse and he was not as quiet. Unlike in the TV studio during the exchange of blows, however, Biden read from the teleprompter. After the TV debate, Biden said he had a sore throat.

The age of the US president has long been a recurring topic in the election campaign. Trump is only about three years younger. However, Biden’s slip-ups and his stiff gait regularly make headlines and raise the question of whether he could really rule in the White House for another four years.

Obama supports Biden

Biden’s weakness in the debate left many Democrats struggling to explain themselves – and fueled public debate about alternatives. The governor of the US state of California, Gavin Newsom, for example, is said to have presidential ambitions. But Newsom publicly supported Biden. “I will never turn my back on President Biden,” he said. The unpopular Vice President Kamala Harris was grilled in a TV interview about Biden’s performance – and finally admitted that her boss had had a “bumpy start”.

Former US President Barack Obama also spoke out: Bad debates can happen, Obama wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Referring to his own poor performance in the first debate of his re-election campaign in 2012, Obama continued: “Believe me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary people his whole life and someone who only cares about himself.” Last night did not change that.