• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Biden seeks boost as calls for him to step aside mount

Managing political crisis: how is Joe Biden doing?

An embattled U.S. President Joe Biden faced escalating pressure from fellow Democrats worried about his candidacy on Sunday, concerns he worked to ease with campaign stops in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Biden, 81, faces growing calls to end his re-election bid after a halting performance in a June 27 debate with Republican Donald Trump, 78, raised questions about his ability to do the job for another four years. He has vowed to stay in the race, dismissing calls for him to drop out as “nonsense” in a fundraising email on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Democratic president received a warm welcome at a Black church in Philadelphia and later travelled to the Pennsylvania state capital, Harrisburg, for an event with union members. Black voters are a critical part of Biden’s base of support and recent public opinion polling has shown their support for him softening.

On a leadership call on Sunday called by House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, some House Democrats said that Biden should step aside as presidential candidate, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

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Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Adam Smith, Mark Takano and Joe Morelle, senior House Democrats who sit on the Judiciary, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs and House Administration committees, were among those who called on Biden to step aside, according to media reports.

Democrats also suggested that Vice President Kamala Harris, seen as the likeliest candidate to replace Biden in the Nov. 5 election were he to bow out, could perform well.

The coming week is crucial, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He encouraged the president to hold a town hall or news conference to convince voters he is “the old Joe Biden.”

“The president needs to do more,” Murphy said. “I do think the clock is ticking.”

Democratic U.S. Representative Adam Schiff said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Biden needs to move swiftly to put concerns to rest.

He added that he believed Harris “could win overwhelmingly, but before we get into a decision about who else it should be, the president needs to make a decision about whether it’s him.”

Asked in Harrisburg whether the Democratic Party was behind him, Biden told reporters “yes.”

In Philadelphia, churchgoers at the Mt Airy Church of God in Christ gave Biden a rousing welcome. Bishop Louis Felton praised him as “a man of vision and integrity.” – Reuters