2024 Election /

Corporate Press Unanimous: Biden’s ‘Disastrous’ Debate Performance Induced ‘Panic’ for Democrats

MSNBC: ‘The president gave one of the worst debate performances in recent memory’

Corporate Press Unanimous: Biden’s ‘Disastrous’ Debate Performance Induced ‘Panic’ for Democrats

Every corporate press outlet has issued sharp criticisms of President Joe Biden’s performance during his Thursday night debate against Donald Trump.

Over two dozen of the top corporate news outlets reported that Biden’s “disastrous” performance triggered “panic” and “doubt” among Democrats.

“If a debate cannot be won but only lost, Donald Trump may not have won on Thursday – but President Joe Biden certainly lost, and in spectacular fashion,” MSNBC reports. “The president gave one of the worst debate performances in recent memory.”

“Expectations for his performance were low, but he still failed to meet them,” the outlet added.

“The beginning of the evening … was actually painful to watch. And it didn’t get much better,” political analyst Brendan Buck wrote, referring to Biden as “old” and “frail.”

The Atlantic echoed MSNBC, declaring the debate “a disaster” for Biden that was “almost physically uncomfortable” to watch.

POLITICO, Bloomberg, Axios and CNN, which hosted the debate, used the word “disastrous” to describe Biden’s effort.

“Biden’s voice was weak, at times reduced to a whisper. Early on, the president’s answers drifted into incoherence,” writes CNN analyst Stephen Collinson. “He missed openings to jab Trump on abortion — the top Democratic talking point — and meandered into highlighting his own biggest political liability, immigration. ‘We finally beat Medicare,’ Biden said at one point, lapsing into confused silence.”

Writing for POLITICO, Emmy-winning author Jeff Greenfield deemed Biden’s appearance “the worst debate performance in American history.”

Though Greenfield took Trump to task for “spewing a series of lies,” he claimed the former president still “came off looking better than Biden.”

“Nothing in the past — not Richard Nixon’s sweat in 1960, not Ronald Reagan’s serpentine wandering down memory lane in 1984, not Barack Obama’s vacuous indifference in 2012 — comes close to what we witnessed, through the hands that covered millions of eyes,” he wrote.

Greenfield referred to a viral moment from the debate where Trump pounced on Biden over an inarticulate comment regarding the southern border.

“I’ve changed [the law] in a way that now, you’re in a situation where there are 40 percent fewer people coming across the border legally, that’s better when he left office,” Biden said. “And I’m gonna continue to move until we get the total ban on the total initiative relative to what we’re gonna do with more border patrol and more asylum officers.”

“I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence, and I don’t think he did, either,” Trump quipped.

Other outlets, including The Washington Post, BBC, The New York Post, AP News, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, and Financial Times, emphasized the “panic” among Democrats following the event, which HuffPost referred to as “the debate from hell.”

“[Democrats’] consternation encompassed the halls of Congress, the moneyed coastal cities of donors, the party strongholds across the country and the bars and living rooms where Democratic stalwarts gathered to cheer on their guy,” the Washington Post reports. “On Capitol Hill, the panic among Democratic lawmakers and staffers was also palpable, as they privately acknowledged that calls for Biden to step aside were only likely to grow as the party fully processed Biden’s dismal debate night performance.”

Other outlets focused on signs of old age and senility exhibited by the president.

“This is an honest-to-God nightmare,” one Biden ally told The Hill. “I can’t believe what I’m watching. I am watching us lose this election in slow motion.”

Another Democrat told the outlet, “I wish Jamaal Bowman was around to pull the fire alarm.”

“His voice was hoarse. His lips quivered. … He tripped over his words. At times, he veered off topic and in the wrong direction,” The Hill reports, adding that Biden “was knocked down. Hard.”

Democratic strategist David Plouffe called the debate “a Defcon 1 moment” for Biden.

“The biggest thing in this election is voters’ concerns – and it’s both swing voters and base voters – with his age, and those were compounded tonight,” Plouffe said, per The Guardian.

Though an analysis from ABC News claimed Biden “won the debate on policy,” the outlet acknowledged the president “failed to reassure voters he is up for another four years.”

“The president's voice was raspy and his answers halting in a performance that fueled worries about his age, not settled them,” USA Today reports. “Even in his closing statement, the most scripted moment of the debate, Biden meandered.”

TIME writes that the debate left party insiders “gobsmacked.”

“His campaign team tried to mask the disaster but there was no denying things did not go as planned,” wrote senior correspondent Philip Elliott. “And with a painful 53 days until Democrats have their next big night in front of a national audience with the opening of their nominating convention in Chicago, the fumbling impression left Thursday evening is going to be the image that endures for a stretch.”

Though plans to replace Biden were strongly denied by Democratic lawmakers earlier this week, the conversation has been renewed overnight.

The New York Times reports Democratic donors are now asking “What’s plan B?”

“Some party faithful[s] who were suppressing their doubts about Biden are now privately lobbying Democratic leaders and scouring rule books to figure out how to change the presidential ticket,” the outlet wrote, quoting one donor who called the debate a “disaster.”

“Do we have time to put somebody else in there?” another donor, Mark Buell, asked.

Another Biden donor told Reuters that the president’s effort was “disqualifying” and suggested consideration of a replacement was likely.

Axios reports that Biden’s “faltering” performance has sparked such worry for Democrats that party members are openly discussing whether the president should be replaced.

"Under current Democratic Party rules, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace Biden as the party’s nominee without his cooperation or without the party officials being willing to rewrite its rules at the August national convention," AP News reports, questioning whether the damage caused by the debate would be "permanent."

Despite blowback following the debate, Kayla Tausche, a senior White House correspondent for CNN, reported that Biden does not have a plan to drop out and has already committed to a second debate in September, according to an advisor to the president.

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