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US election 2024: Biden insists he is ‘not going anywhere’, vows to stay in presidential race


Biden faces a critical week as he tries to shore up a campaign that has been on defence since a shaky June 27 debate against Republican Donald Trump, which raised questions about his ability to do the job for another four-and-a-half years. Several congressional Democrats have called for him to drop out.
Joe Biden, right, and Donald Trump during a CNN debate on June 27. Photo: TNS

Senator Dick Durbin, the chamber’s number two Democrat, told reporters Biden’s candidacy “will be thoroughly discussed this week, as it should”. He said he had spoken to about a dozen of his colleagues, who held a range of views.

A growing number of Democratic lawmakers have voiced concern that Biden’s poor public approval ratings, plus worries about his age and ability, could hurt their prospects for retaining the Senate, which they control by a 51-49 majority, and winning back the House, where Republicans have a 219-213 majority.

“I think we need a different choice if we’re going to be able to beat Donald Trump,” Democratic Representative Adam Smith said on CNN.

Another Democrat, Representative Joe Morelle, said many of his constituents had told him they worried Biden was not capable of serving as president, though he stopped short of calling on Biden to drop out.

“The bigger question is, how does he dispel concerns that were raised from his performance in the debate?” Morelle told reporters.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre answers questions about Biden’s medical records at the White House in Washington on Monday. Photo: AP

Biden’s halting debate performance has prompted some to question whether he was suffering from a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s disease, which can cause slurred speech and halting movement.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was evaluated and given a clean bill of health in February and is not being treated for the disease. Biden’s doctor has said further testing is not warranted, she said.

Some Democrats expressed concern but stopped short of calling on Biden to drop out of the race.

“President Biden has got to prove to the American people -including me – that he’s up to the job for another four years,” said Senator Jon Tester, who faces a tough re-election fight in Montana.

02:48

US presidential debate: Biden and Trump spar over economy, war in Ukraine

US presidential debate: Biden and Trump spar over economy, war in Ukraine

Other lawmakers said they supported his candidacy.

“President Joe Biden is the nominee and has been selected by millions of voters across this country,” Representative Steven Horsford, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on social media. Black voters are a critical part of Democrats’ base of support.

In his letter to Democrats, Biden said he was aware of their concerns but said it was time to put them aside.

Biden will have little time to campaign this week as he hosts a meeting of Nato member states, capped with a rare solo press conference on Thursday.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll last week found that one in three registered Democratic voters believed that Biden should quit the race, with 59 per cent of respondents in the president’s party saying he is too old to work in government.

However, that poll also found that none of his possible replacements fared better in a match-up against Trump. The poll found Biden and Trump tied at 40 per cent each.

Senator Dick Durbin. Photo: AP

Biden’s troubles appear to be increasing the number of races Democrats need to worry about in November.

Internal party polling shows that New Mexico and Virginia became more competitive following the debate, according to a source familiar with the findings, and the non-partisan Centre for Politics at the University of Virginia last week shifted its ratings on the states of Michigan and Minnesota to make each slightly more favourable for Republicans.

Together, those states will host a half-dozen of the most competitive House races.



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