Kinzinger: Democrats need to find ‘the best candidate to defend democracy’

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Friday that Democrats need to find “the best candidate to defend democracy” in the wake of a widely criticized performance by President Biden in the presidential debate.

“I’m not gonna go there, because that’s gonna be a messy process,” Kinzinger said when asked by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer if he believes “it would be a good idea” for Biden to take himself off the top of the Democratic ticket.

“Democrats have to figure out how to put up the best candidate — and that may be Joe Biden — but how to put up the best candidate to defend democracy, because the risk in November is not a joke,” said Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Thursday night’s debate performance by Biden, in which he spoke with a raspy voice and stumbled over his words, sparked widespread fear among Democrats. Operatives and pundits indicated following the debate that discussions were going on about whether Biden should bow out as his party’s nominee. Biden’s campaign and the White House have said he’s not going anywhere.

“I think there was a sense of shock, actually, at how he came out at the beginning of this debate. How his voice sounded. He seemed a bit disoriented. He did get stronger as the debate went on,” Democratic strategist David Axelrod said on CNN. “I think you’re going to hear discussions — that I don’t know will lead to anything — but there are going to be discussions about whether he should continue.”

Biden had a cold during the debate, according to a White House official, and his camp defended him as questions swirled around his position at the top of the Democratic ticket.

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