Newsom: Democratic talk of replacing Biden ‘unhelpful and unnecessary’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, one of President Biden’s top Democratic campaign surrogates, has dismissed concerns about Biden’s candidacy after his widely panned debate performance Thursday against former President Trump.

“I am old fashioned, but on the substance Joe Biden won the debate last night. That is what matters to me,” Newsom wrote in a Biden campaign fundraising pitch Friday. “All this other talk … it’s unhelpful and unnecessary.

“We aren’t going to turn our backs because of one performance. What kind of party does that?” he added.

Biden’s Thursday night’s debate was largely seen as a loss, even by some members of his own party.

“Joe Biden had one thing he had to do tonight, and he didn’t do it,” former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said in an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC after the debate. “He had one thing he had to accomplish, and that was reassure America that he was up to the job at his age. And he failed at that.”

“I think we’ll know a lot more in a few weeks how this plays out, how the polling plays out, but I think a couple of things are going on right now. I think I’m not the only one whose heart is breaking right now,” she added.

A CNN post-debate snap poll found that 67 percent of respondents believed Trump won, while 33 percent saw Biden as the victor. Four years ago, as the two candidates faced off in the 2020 election, 60 percent of voters surveyed in the same poll believed Biden had won the first debate.

On Thursday, Biden’s voice was raspy, which the White House attributed to a cold, and he appeared to struggle to make clear points on multiple answers. Biden’s team has dismissed speculation that he could bow out of the race and be replaced atop the Democratic ticket.

Newsom, 56, has been mentioned among potential successors to Biden. He’s been governor since 2019, after previously serving as the state’s lieutenant governor and mayor of San Francisco, but he can’t seek a third term because of California’s term limits.

He has fended off multiple gubernatorial recall attempts and remains politically popular among Democrats and has become a rising star in the national party.

“Don’t look at 30 minutes … look at 3 and a half years of Joe Biden as president,” Newsom said in the email linking to the Democratic National Committee’s online donation portal. “That’s what I intend to do, and I hope you’ll join me.”

Trump said during a Fox News Digital interview Friday that he thinks Biden “will be the nominee” despite the postdebate backlash.

“They wouldn’t have done any better,” Trump said. “No one else would have been better.”

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