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Biden and Harris Reaffirm Commitment to Reelection Amid Debate Fallout

July 3, 2024

 

 

 

In a surprise move, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on a Democratic National Committee call on Wednesday, underscoring their unified commitment to the reelection campaign. According to three sources familiar with the private conversation, the call served as a motivational rally, emphasizing the high stakes of the upcoming election.

This unexpected appearance comes at a time when questions about Biden’s viability as a candidate have grown louder, especially following a less-than-stellar debate performance. The president, drawing from his post-debate comments, reinforced his determination to bounce back and secure victory in the November elections.

White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, addressing over 500 White House aides in an all-staff meeting on Wednesday, urged them to ignore the “noise” and concentrate on governance. Acknowledging the turbulent days following the Atlanta debate against Republican contender Donald Trump, Zients highlighted the administration’s achievements and the critical nature of their work as the campaign season intensifies after the Fourth of July.

President Biden has also been personally reaching out to senior Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Delaware Senator Chris Coons, and South Carolina Representative James Clyburn. This outreach aims to alleviate concerns and solidify support within the party. Zients similarly engaged with Schumer and Clyburn earlier in the day.

However, apprehension persists on Capitol Hill. Some Democrats express dissatisfaction with Biden’s explanations regarding his debate performance, feeling that his delayed response has put the party in a precarious position. Zients sought to bolster staff morale, emphasizing Biden’s resilience and the strength of his campaign team. He encouraged aides to maintain their focus and unity, despite the increasing political discourse.

The internal White House call, while routine, occurred at a critical juncture as Biden and senior officials worked to soothe anxious lawmakers, donors, and allies. Biden’s reelection campaign also planned a separate staff-wide call, aiming to keep everyone updated on campaign priorities and developments. A memo from campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon and campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez downplayed the debate’s impact, asserting that the election against Trump would remain competitive.

On Wednesday, Biden and Harris were also scheduled for one of their periodic lunches. In the evening, the president was set to host several Democratic governors at the White House, including Minnesota’s Tim Walz, Illinois’ J.B. Pritzker, Massachusetts’ Maura Healey, Rhode Island’s Daniel McKee, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, and California’s Gavin Newsom. North Carolina’s Roy Cooper and New Jersey’s Phil Murphy were expected to join virtually.

As the reelection campaign progresses, Biden and Harris’s efforts to rally their team and reassure their party will be crucial in navigating the challenges ahead.

 

 

Credit: AP

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