Evening Report — Can Biden stop the bleeding?

A second House Dem is urging Biden to step aside


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Wednesday, July 3


©  AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden began widespread outreach to Democrats on Wednesday as he sought to calm the intraparty panic over his election prospects and mental stamina.


The Biden campaign and White House denied reports from The New York Times and CNN saying he’s thinking about dropping out. They sought to reassure worried supporters that he’s in for the long haul and can still defeat President Trump.


  • Biden dialed in to a Democratic National Committee conference call to declare: “I am running…no one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win.”

  • White House chief of staff Jeff Zients held a call with staff asking them to tune out the noise and stay disciplined, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano reports. This comes amid a flood of leaks from the White House that have resulted in stories detailing Biden’s cognitive decline.

  • Biden phoned top allies on Capitol Hill, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).

  • Tonight, Biden will meet with 20 Democratic governors at the White House. Some of those in the room, including Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.), are considered potential replacements for Biden if he should step aside.


THE BIG QUESTION on the minds of many Democrats is why Biden waited almost a week before undertaking this push.


A raft of new polling out Wednesday found Biden losing ground to Trump amid overwhelming voter concerns about Biden’s age.


Democrats have been in full-blown panic mode since last Thursday’s  debate, with some calling on him to drop out of the race and others questioning whether he’s too old to serve another four years.


The White House said that Biden had been extraordinarly busy in the days since the debate.


Biden going on public blitz: The president will sit for an interview with ABC, campaign in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and he’ll hold a rare press conference next week. Biden also taped two interviews with Black radio hosts that will air tomorrow in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.


Former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who ran against Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary, said the media push is not enough.


“It’s gotta be a lot more than that. It’s gotta be a barnstorm, it’s gotta be town halls in hostile environments, probably like Fox News. And show us you can make the case.”


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New polls and forecasts released Wednesday underscored the dire outlook Democrats face with Biden at the top of the ticket:

  • The New York Times/Siena College poll found Trump doubling his lead over Biden from 3 points to 6 points. It’s Trump’s best poll for the outlet in 9 years. The Times found that 74 percent believe Biden is too old for the job.

  • The Wall Street Journal found Trump open up a 6 point lead nationally, with 80 percent saying Biden is too old to serve a second term.

  • A CBS News/YouGov survey found Trump leading by 2 points nationally, and by 3 points across the battlegrounds. The outlets previously found 72 percent of voters say Biden doesn’t have the cognitive health to serve as president.

  • The nonpartisan election forecaster Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics moved Minnesota from Likely Dem to Leans Dem. Michigan moved from Leans Dem to Toss-up. Biden must win both states to have a chance in November.

The polling is not all bad for Biden:

  • A new Reuters/Ipsos survey found Biden with a 1-point lead following the debate.

  • A survey from The Economist/YouGov found Trump with a slim 2-point lead nationally.


The Biden campaign pulled together some of those tight polls in a memo to staff, according to The Hill’s Alex Gangitano:

  • The memo said Biden’s internal polling found Trump leading by 1-point nationally. The candidates were tied before the debate.

  • The memo argued that recent surveys, including Wednesday’s CBS News poll, found Biden within the margin of error in key battlegrounds.

  • The memo claimed that The New York Times/Siena College poll, which is 538’s top-rated pollster, is “often a polling outlier.”


A lot of the chatter on Wednesday revolved around the shocking internal polling from the Democratic data group Open Labs, which was published by Puck News.


That survey found Trump holding big leads in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump holds smaller leads in traditionally blue states such as New Mexico, Virginia and New Hampshire. Colorado, Minnesota and Maine are toss-ups, according to the data.


That poll “really shook Democrats in their boots,” former Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer wrote in his Substack newsletter.


©  AP Photo/Matt Kelley

Vice President Harris and other potential replacements are grabbing the spotlight as speculation swirls around President Biden.


It’s a difficult spot for Harris, who is publicly maintaining loyalty to her boss.

Biden and Harris had lunch together at the White House on Wednesday and jointly dialed in to the DNC staff call.


“Look, Joe Biden is our nominee,” Harris said in an interview with CBS. “We beat Trump once and we’re gonna beat him [again]. Period.”


For many Democrats, Harris seems the likeliest replacement if Biden steps aside.

  • Going around a woman of color would infuriate many Black Democrats who make-up the backbone of the Democratic Party.

  • Harris is Biden’s handpicked running mate and it would be the most seamless transfer of campaign assets out of all the options.


“The vice president is the obvious choice. She’s sitting right there. She’s already been in the White House. And has the name recognition. And has been on the trail… and the optics of pushing aside a Black woman… it’s not good,” Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) said on“SiriusXM’s ‘Mornings with Zerlina.”.


Whether at the top of the ticket or running again at No. 2, Harris will be a target for Republicans.


The House GOP campaign arm released a new ad on Wednesday featuring a VoiceOver of Harris and asking, “Is this who we want to be president?


Read more: 


The Biden campaign is furious with the news media for what it views as a frenzy designed to pressure him out of the race.


A lot of the ire in Biden World is directed at The New York Times, which has run op-eds urging Biden to walk away and more recently has run tough reporting on Biden’s mental state.


The briefing room at the White House has crackled with electricity over the past two days, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre battling reporters over questions about Biden’s mental health and stamina.


Reporters hounded Jean-Pierre for answers on how Biden could blame jet lag for his debate performance when he’d been back in the states for a week-and-a-half.


They questioned how a cold could have cut him down so thoroughly.


“Have you had a cold before?,” Jeane-Pierre shot back at one reporter.


At one point as a reporter asked if Biden could come down for an imprompute press conference, another reporter interjected with “if he’s awake,” prompting a rebuke inside the room.


The briefing room has had an air of conflict in recent days reminiscent of when Trump was in the White House.


Republicans are enjoying the show, believing the frenzy around Biden is a normal week of media treatment for the GOP.


Read more: 

©  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


There’s something peculiar about this news cycle, as if it’s missing something…


President Trump has managed to stay out of the fray while Democrats suffer through their public meltdown.


There had been some speculation before the debate that Trump’s running mate announcement could come soon, but Republicans don’t seem eager to seize any headlines while their opponents implode.


There is some talk among Hill Republicans about pressing Biden’s Cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment. 


But The Hill’s Al Weaver reports that Republicans are torn on this. They’re happy to have a weakened Biden as their opponent, and some believe they should just stay out of the way and watch the fireworks.


A roundup from the right:

  • The New York Times reports special counsel Jack Smith will continue his criminal prosecutions of Trump past Inauguration Day whether Trump wins or loses.

  • Ivanka Trump said on the popular Lex Friedman podcast that watching a family member get prosecuted is “painful to experience.

  • The Trump campaign blocked two anti-aboriton activists from the GOP’s platform committee ahead of the convention. That move comes as anti-abortion activists pressure Trump to embrace a national ban.

  • The Trump campaign and associated groups raised $331 million in the second quarter, compared to $264 for Biden and the Democrats.

  • The leader of the conservative Heritage Foundation said the “second American Revolution” will be bloodless “if the left allows it to be.”

Bonus link:

  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Vanity Fair misreported a story claiming he ate a barbecued dog in Korea. The animal pictured on a spit is a goat and it was grilled in Patagonia, Kennedy said.


“The absurdity of the Dump Biden Democrats,” by Stuart Stevens for The Atlantic.


“Doing nothing about Biden is the riskiest plan of all,” by Nate Silver for The New York Times.


“Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for Biden’s debate,” by Derek Hunter for The Hill.


“Democrats risk looking Trumpified in defending Biden,” by Andrew Koppelman for The Hill.


12 days until the Republican National Convention.

47 days until the Democratic National Convention.

69 days until the second presidential debate.

125 days until the 2024 general election.

201 days until Inauguration Day 2025.



  • Biden meets with Democratic governors at 6:30.



  • Happy 4th of July!

  • Biden holds a barbecue at the White House with active duty service members and watches the fireworks display over the National Mall.


  • Biden travels to Wisconsin for campaign events and sits for an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that will run in full on Sunday morning.



There a story you think should be getting more attention? Something people should be talking about? Drop me a line: jeasley@thehill.com


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Updated at 6:59 p.m. EDT

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