Biden’s Debate Stumble Raises Concerns Over Age and Stamina

Biden’s Debate Stumble Raises Concerns Over Age and Stamina

Mihir Gadhvi 28/06/2024
Biden’s Debate Stumble Raises Concerns Over Age and Stamina

Many Americans are concerned about Joe Biden’s age and fitness for office.

Unfortunately, his performance in the recent debate has only heightened these concerns. Entering the debate, the president had a low bar to clear, but he stumbled, appearing flat, rambling, and unclear.

Midway through the debate, Biden’s campaign informed reporters that the president was battling a cold, attempting to explain his raspy voice. While this may be true, it also came across as an excuse. Throughout the 90-minute debate, Biden often seemed on the ropes. Particularly early in the evening, some of his answers were nonsensical. At one point, he lost his train of thought and bizarrely ended an answer with, “We finally beat Medicare,” an odd reference to the government-run healthcare program for the elderly.

Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s former communications director, spoke on CNN immediately after the debate, admitting, "There's no two ways about it, that was not a good debate for Joe Biden." She highlighted his main challenge: proving he had the energy and stamina required for the presidency. He did not meet this challenge.

As the debate progressed, Biden, like a boxer on the ropes, began to take big swings at his opponent in an attempt to change the momentum. Some of these swings landed, provoking angry responses from the former president. However, the initial topics of economy and immigration, on which polls show Americans trust Donald Trump more, exacerbated Biden’s struggles.

At one point, Trump quipped, “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence, and I don’t think he did, either,” which seemed to encapsulate the evening.

In contrast, Trump delivered a disciplined and nimble performance. He avoided the interruptions and belligerence that marred his first debate in 2020, consistently turning the discussion back to attacks on Biden’s record. While Trump made several assertions not supported by facts and outright falsehoods, Biden largely failed to corner him on these inaccuracies.

When the topic turned to abortion, Trump repeatedly shifted attention to what he claimed was Democratic extremism, incorrectly stating that Democrats support abortions after babies are born. Although abortion has been a weak point for Trump and Republicans since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, Biden’s attacks fell flat.

Vice-President Kamala Harris acknowledged after the debate that Biden had a “slow start” but claimed he finished strong. While this is optimistic, Biden did steady himself as the debate progressed. In one memorable moment, Biden noted Trump’s conviction stemming from an alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels, saying the former president had “the morals of an alley cat.” Trump retorted, “I didn’t have sex with a porn star.”

Donald Trump appeared on the defensive when discussing his response to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. He initially tried to pivot a question about his responsibility for the riot into a condemnation of Biden’s record, but this time Biden didn’t let him off the hook, stating, “He encouraged those folks to go up to Capitol Hill. He sat there for three hours as his aides begged him to do something. He didn’t do a damn thing.” Trump also dodged questions about whether he would accept the outcome of the 2024 election.

This debate was the earliest in modern US history, scheduled early partly because the Biden team wanted to shift focus to Trump sooner in the campaign season. They hoped voters would be reminded of the chaotic nature of Trump’s presidency. However, Biden’s performance may overshadow that of Trump’s.

Another reason for the early debate is to give Biden more time to recover from a weak performance. The Democrats have their party convention in August, where they can present a more scripted vision of a second Biden term. Another debate is scheduled for September, which will be fresher in voters' minds as they head to the polls in November.

Many Democrats may be wondering if a second debate against Trump will yield a different outcome for Biden. Some might even be considering the possibility of a different nominee. The Biden campaign has almost two months to rally and calm the waters. It would take a significant revolt for Democrats to abandon Biden, who secured the party's nomination comfortably. So far, no prominent Democratic officials have publicly broken ranks, although some have reportedly raised concerns in anonymous conversations with journalists.

If Joe Biden’s campaign can regroup and rally in the coming days, they might prove the first assertion true. Donald Trump has shown that politicians can overcome significant adversity. However, after Thursday’s debate, many Democrats may have serious doubts about Biden’s prospects for November.

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Mihir Gadhvi

Tech Expert

Mihir Gadhvi is the co-founder of illustrake and HAYD. Illustrake is a D2C Enabler and offers Performance Marketing, Retention Marketing, and Content Creation Services. HAYD is a brand New, homegrown fashion line that aims to make clothing easy for us without taxing our planet. Although the concept is quite known now, HAYD wants to accomplish sustainability by reducing its impact on the environment with safe and fair manufacturing.

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