FINALLY: Networks Fact Check Biden with Little Hope of Reelection

News & Politics

During their Wednesday morning newscasts, ABC, CBS, and NBC surprisingly debunked some of the crafted excuses the White House has created for President Biden’s debate performance last week. The White House had given every reason possible for Biden’s poor debate performance besides acknowledging his age and mental state, from colds to severe jetlag.

CBS Mornings Gayle King began the segment by sharing a CBS poll showing Biden “behind by three points” in battleground states. Chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes gave an overlook of all the excuses the White House has created for Biden’s performance such as “the President saying that it was jet lag, the White House saying that it was a cold and just an off night.”

At a fundraiser Tuesday night, Biden claimed he was just tired at the debate lamenting, “I decided to travel around the world a couple of times shortly before the debate. I didn’t listen to my staff, and then I almost fell asleep on stage.”

Cordes’ response was simple yet logical: “Biden did travel back and forth to France, Italy, and California, the first half of June. But he returned to D.C. 11 days before the debate” – giving Biden enough time to recover from his travels.

As she concluded, Cordes identified four Democratic senators and representatives who have openly voiced their concerns about Biden’s mental cognitive state. She also highlighted Vice President Kamala Harris who professed “beat Trump once, and we’re gonna beat him again, period.”

On NBC Today, senior White House correspondent Gabe Gutierrez also pointed out that Biden had returned from his travels well before the debate. He showed former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledging she’s concerned about Biden’s performance as she exclaimed “I think it’s a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition?”

Gutierrez also shared the Washington Post report that former President Barack Obama told “allies that his former VPs path to the presidency has now grown more challenging.” He then noted the New York Times reported meetings where “several current and former officials noticed the president increasingly appeared confused or listless or would lose the thread of conversations.”

As he concluded, Gutierrez observed that since the debate Biden has not “taken questions from reporters” and has only delivered “scripted remarks from a teleprompter.” The White House, attempting damage control, has scheduled a “flurry of events” for the president including interviews and a press conference next week.

ABC’s Good Morning America Rachel Scott noted how some of Biden’s “closest allies say questions about his age and mental fitness are legitimate.” At Biden’s recent fundraiser, she exclaimed that “some in the room were laughing” at his attempt to cover up his mental state.

Like the other networks, Scott pointed out that the president returned to the U.S. two weeks before his debate. She went on to note that “sources say during his debate prep at Camp David, advisors blocked out time in the schedule for rest” – dismantling the jet lagged theory the president created.

At the White House briefing, Rachel Scott asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre if Biden’s debate performance was an “episode” or a “condition.” Jean-Pierre replied “Well, what I can tell you is that he had a cold and a bad night. I would not see this as an episode. I would see this as what it was and what we believe it to be, which is it was a bad night.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was also set to conduct a sit-down interview with Biden, which would be live, but rather chopped up and edited for TV.

CBS Mornings

7/3/2024

07:01:51 AM EST

GAYLE KING: Wouldn’t you feel pressure if everybody was wat–even if you know how to do it, wouldn’t you feel pressure with everybody watching?

NATE BURLESON: Definitely.

KING: Waiting for you to screw up!

TONY DOKOUPIL: I feel pressure just with my wife watching, and she’s next to me. Alright, I got this. Don’t worry.

KING: You always make it, Tony, you always do.

We’re gonna begin with talking about pressure–growing pressure on President Biden from inside his own party after last week’s very poor debate performance. And we now have a new CBS News poll. While the presumptive nominees are functionally tied, in our national poll it does shift–shows a shift towards Former President Trump.

Now, our last poll had President Biden leading very slightly. The President was also in battleground states in the last poll. Now he is behind by three points, though that is still within the margin of error. This comes as the White House offers multiple explanations for the President’s debate performance. Nancy Cordes is at the White House yesterday. Nancy, good morning. That White House press briefing was one for the books.

NANCY CORDES: It really was, Gayle, because now you’ve got the President saying that it was jet lag, the White House saying that it was a cold and just a–an off night, while Democrats have begun to say publicly they think it’s something more. To counteract that notion, the President is now adding more campaign trips and a network interview to the schedule, but it is not clear that that’s going to be enough to stop the fallout.

[Cuts to video]

At a fundraiser in Virginia last night, President Biden offered a new explanation for his poor debate performance. “I decided to travel around the world a couple of times shortly before the debate,” he said. “I didn’t listen to my staff, and then I almost fell asleep on stage.” Biden did travel back and forth to France, Italy, and California, the first half of June. But he returned to D.C. 11 days before the debate.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Look–if—we finally beat medicare.

CORDES: And the White House press secretary had a different explanation for Thursday’s debacle.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: The President had a cold. [Transition] He had a cold and a bad night.

CORDES: She insisted Biden is not suffering from something more serious.

JEAN-PIERRE: He can do the job. He can.

CORDES: But even as she spoke, a New York Times report was taking Washington by storm, citing White House and foreign officials who said Biden has, quote, “Increasingly appeared confused or listless,” and even sometimes seems to “freeze up.” On Tuesday, Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett became the first Democratic lawmaker to call on Biden to step aside.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): The President cannot make the kind of effort that we need in this–these closing days to prevent Trump and his gang from taking over.

CORDES: And now other Democrats are opening up about their concerns.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): Like a lot of people, I was pretty horrified.

[Transition]

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): We have to be honest with ourselves that it wasn’t just a horrible night.

CORDES: “You can see it: the dam is breaking,” a Biden donor told CBS News. “There are non-stop phone, email, and text conversations going on as donors toss around names of possible replacements.” Veteran Congressman Jim Clyburn said the Vice President should be the only alternative if Biden steps aside.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): This body should not, in any way, do anything to work around Ms. Harris. We should do everything we can to bolster her, whether she’s second place or at the top of the ticket.

CORDES: In a brief interview with CBS News, Vice President Harris said this.

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS: Look, Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once, and we’re gonna beat him again, period.

[Cuts back to live]

CORDES: President Biden himself is getting involved in the damage control today, meeting with Democratic governors, some virtually and some in person here at the White House. He needs their support, so we’ll see what they advise him to do, especially since some of them, Tony, have presidential aspirations of their own.

DOKOUPIL: Yeah, this issue is not going away. Nancy, thank you very much.

(…)

NBC Today

7/3/2024

7:08:44

CRAIG MELVIN: We turn to politics now and the mounting pressure on President Biden as more Democrats voiced concerns about that shaky debate performance last week. Meanwhile, a New York court has given an update on former President Trump’s hush money trial sentencing. There’s a lot to break down this morning. We’ve got it all covered for you. We’re gonna start with our senior White House correspondent Gabe Gutierrez. Gabe, good morning to you.

GABE GUTIERREZ: Hey there, Craig, good morning. The White House chief of staff will hold an all staff call later today as the president also reaches out to reassure lawmakers and governors, what Democrats have been saying privately for days is now spilling into public view, and now the president is offering his own new explanation for his debate performance.

[Cuts to video]

Off camera at a Virginia fundraiser, President Biden apologizing for that disastrous debate saying he “wasn’t very smart” for “traveling around the world a couple times” before that showdown with former President Trump, and he quipped that he “almost fell asleep on stage” — adding “it’s not an excuse but an explanation.” The president returned to the U.S. from back to back trips to Europe 12 days before the debate.

Meanwhile, this morning, a political dam may be breaking. One of the president’s most important allies, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, acknowledging concerns about the president’s debate performance.

REPRESENATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think it’s a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition? And so when people ask that question, it’s completely legitimate of both candidates.

GUTIERREZ: Adding that both he and former President Donald Trump should take cognitive tests. While Pelosi is continuing to support President Biden, Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas is becoming the first elected Democrat to officially call for the president to leave the race.

REPRESENATIVE LLOYD DOGGET (D-TX): We must call on him to give the ultimate sacrifice of saying that he will step aside because that’s the best way to save our country.

GUTIERREZ: As more Democrats question whether he should step aside.

REPRESENTATIVE PETER WELCH (D-VT): And raise questions about his physical condition.

REPRESENTATIVE JULIAN CASTRO (D-TX): I don’t think he’s going to have a leg to stand on for very long.

GUTIERREZ: The Washington Post reporting overnight that former President Barack Obama has expressed concerns; privately telling allies that his former VPs path to the presidency has now grown more challenging, according to people familiar with the conversation but that Obama has offered support to Biden. The New York Times reports that in closed door meetings in recent weeks and months, several current and former officials noticed the president increasingly appeared confused or listless or would lose the thread of conversations.

IAN SAMS (WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL’S OFFICE SENIOR ADVISER): I’ve got to say that doesn’t look anything like the president that I know when I deal with him he’s sharp, he’s asking tough questions.

GUTIERREZ: As some Democrats look for a way forward a new CNN poll suggesting that Vice President Kamala Harris may do slightly better in a match up with Trump than Biden though the difference is within the margin of error.

Harris yesterday reaffirming her support, Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once and we’re going to beat him again. Period.

[Cuts back to live]

GUTIERREZ: Since the debate, the president has not taken questions from reporters while delivering mostly scripted remarks from a teleprompter. But the White House is now announcing a flurry of events in the coming days, travel to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well as an interview and he’s expected to hold a press conference during next week’s NATO summit here in DC, Craig.

ABC Good Morning America

7/3/2024                                                                                                                                                               

7:06:49 – 7:10:18 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We got the latest now on President Biden’s bid to keep his candidacy alive after last week’s debate. The Biden team pushing forward as some Democrats call on the president to step aside. Rachel Scott is tracking the race from Washington. Good morning, Rachel.

RACHEL SCOTT: Hey George, good morning to you. In the last 24 hours alone, one Democrat has called on the president to step aside. Two others are openly saying that he cannot win the election this November, and even some of Biden’s closest allies say questions about his age and mental fitness are legitimate.

[Cuts to video]

This morning as Democrats question whether President Biden should move forward with his campaign, the president is trying to explain what exactly happened on that debate stage. At a fundraiser in Virginia, the president saying he wasn’t very smart for traveling internationally ahead of the debate — telling donors he, quote, “almost fell asleep on stage.” Some in the room laughing. The president adding, “it’s not an excuse, but an explanation.”

The president traveled to Europe twice in June but he returned back to the United States 12 days before the debate and sources say during his debate prep at Camp David, advisors blocked out time in the schedule for rest. For days the White House has blamed a cold, not the president’s travel schedule, insisting it was just one bad night. But some Democrats aren’t buying it.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): It’s really not just a bad night. It is a situation that has to be addressed.

SCOTT: Now, the first democratic member of Congress, Lloyd Doggett of Texas coming forward to say the president should step aside.

REPRESENTATIVE LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): I salute President Biden. I just feel that it’s time for him to step aside if we were to be able to protect what he allowed us to gain in 2020 which was a victory for democracy but he delivered us from Trump then. He could be delivering us to Trump this year.

SCOTT: Sources tell ABC News, a second lawmaker, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, was planning to urge Biden to withdraw but senior Democrats talked him out of it. Even some of Biden’s closest allies like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling the questions about the president’s mental fitness, legitimate.

NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think it’s a legitimate question to say, is this an episode or is this a condition?

SCOTT: So we asked the White House.

SCOTT: Pelosi said it is a legitimate question to ask, if this is an episode or if this is a condition. Which one is it?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE (WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY): Well, what I can tell you is that he had a cold and a bad night. I would not see this as an episode. I would see this as what it was and what we believe it to be which is it was a bad night.

SCOTT: Some Democrats now casting doubt that Biden can win in November.

REPRESENTATIVE GLUESENKAMP PEREZ (D-WA): Truth I think is that Biden is going to lose to Trump. I know that’s difficult, but I think the damage has been done by that debate.

SCOTT: And another ally, Congressman Jim Clyburn said Biden should stay in the race, but if he drops out, Democrats should rally around Vice President Kamala Harris

[Cut to clip]

CONGRESSMAN JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I will supporter her if he were to step aside.

 [Cuts back to live]

SCOTT: A new CNN poll shows that Vice President Kamala Harris out performs President Biden in a head to head matchup with Donald Trump. The White House says the president and the vice president will have lunch together today. The White House press secretary could not answer questions about whether the two had even spoken after the debate.

Also today, the president is expected to meet with democratic governors. It comes as some have raised concerns about the president’s debate performance and also the path forward, Robin.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Appreciate your reporting there Rachel. Thank you very much.

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