Biden’s Tough Day Dampens Democrats’ Hopes for Campaign Recovery

Biden’s Tough Day Dampens Democrats’ Hopes for Campaign Recovery

By Anthony Zurcher, North America correspondent

US President Joe Biden’s re-election hopes took a hit recently, not from a political rival but from film star George Clooney. Clooney’s stinging opinion piece in the New York Times isn’t the only criticism Biden faces; several Democrats are now questioning his ability to lead.

Recent Support and New Criticism

This criticism comes despite recent support from the Congressional Black Caucus and key liberal members of Congress. However, the landscape shifted dramatically during a high-profile NATO summit in Washington.

On Wednesday, Senator Peter Welch of Vermont became the first Democratic senator to publicly urge Biden to withdraw from the race “for the good of the country.” This adds pressure to Biden’s upcoming press conference and an interview with NBC News, where any misstep could reinforce Clooney’s harsh assessment.

Clooney’s Critique

Clooney, a significant Democratic fundraiser, claimed Biden’s decline is real, describing a noticeable difference in Biden’s demeanor compared to previous years. Clooney argued Biden is not up to the task of defeating Donald Trump and criticized the Biden campaign’s portrayal of him as the favored choice among Democratic primary voters.

Campaign’s Response

The Biden campaign defended the president, highlighting his recent international travels and suggesting that Clooney’s criticism may be linked to disagreements over US policy on Gaza. Nonetheless, Clooney’s comments carry weight, especially among Hollywood’s influential donors.

Broader Democratic Concerns

Clooney’s critique follows dissatisfaction from other prominent Democratic donors and signals broader unease within the party. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Tim Kaine both implied that Biden should consider his position carefully, with Pelosi urging patience until after the NATO summit.

Even Biden’s loyal supporters are contemplating “what if” scenarios, with some suggesting Vice President Kamala Harris or California Governor Gavin Newsom as potential successors.

Moving Forward

Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet with Biden campaign officials to discuss the campaign’s future, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries plans to address Democratic concerns with Biden directly. While Biden’s control over national convention delegates remains strong, the growing discontent among Democrats raises questions about the path forward.

Despite these challenges, the decision to continue lies with Biden. However, concerns about his age and debate performance persist, potentially hindering his ability to fully regain momentum in his re-election bid.


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