Live updates: Biden says debate was 'bad night' but remains steadfast in reelection campaign in ABC interview


President Biden said he had a “bad night” in attempting to explain his highly criticized debate performance, but that he remains steadfast in his pursuit of reelection and convinced that he can beat Donald Trump in November.

Biden spoke with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos Friday in a much anticipated primetime interview amid turmoil in his campaign over his performance in last week’s debate.

Stephanopoulos interviewed Biden for 22 minutes, mostly asking about Biden’s mental fitness and whether he was capable of being president of the United States.

Biden insisted he was the right man for the job. He repeated talking points he’s said at rallies and other events, touting his record on foreign policy, on the creation of jobs and how Trump, he said, “is a pathological liar.”

“I don’t think anybody’s more qualified to be president or win this race than me,” Biden said, downplaying worry from members of the Democratic Party.

The president said he was suffering from a cold, tired from travel and didn’t prepare well for the showdown with Trump.

The interview followed a rally earlier in the day by Biden in Madison, Wis. Speaking to a crowd of 1,000 in the critical swing state, Biden said, “I am running and going to win again.”

The president said he was staying in the race because the voters chose him. “I’m the nominee of the Democratic Party,” Biden said. “Despite that some folks don’t seem to care who you voted for.”

During the Wisconsin rally, Biden also attacked Trump repeatedly, calling him a “one-man crime wave” because of his recent guilty convictions and losses in civil lawsuits.

Biden’s appearances today come as he faces eroding support within his own party for his election bid. Four representatives have now publicly called for him to step aside following the debate, where Biden spoke haltingly and seemed to lose his train of thought at times.

Live38 updates

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    In 22-minute interview, Biden touts record and insists he is capable of being president

    Stephanopoulos interviewed Biden for 22 minutes, mostly asking about Biden’s mental fitness and whether he was capable of being president of the United States.

    Biden insisted he was the right man for the job. He repeated talking points he’s said at recent rallies and other events, touting his record on foreign policy, job creation and how Trump “is a pathological liar.”

    “I don’t think anybody’s more qualified to be president or win this race than me,” Biden said, downplaying worry from members of the Democratic Party.

    Stephanopoulos said ABC News also invited Trump to be interviewed for a one-on-one interview after the debate but the former president declined.

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    Stephanopoulos to Biden: Will you take a neurological test and release the results?

    Biden repeatedly ducked Stephanopoulos’s attempts to get the president to commit to taking an independent neurological test.

    “Have you had a full neurological and cognitive evaluation?” Stephanopoulos asked after inquiring about Biden’s physical health.

    Biden responded that he has a full evaluation as part of his regular health checkups.

    “Have you had a neurologist, a specialist, do an examination?” Stephanopoulos asked again.

    “No. No one said I had to. They said I’m good,” Biden said.

    “Would you be willing to undergo an independent medical evaluation that included neurological and cognitive tests and release the results to the American people?” Stephanopoulos asked again.

    Biden dismissed the question by touting his work as commander in chief.

    “Look, I have a cognitive test every day. Every day I have had tests. Everything I do. Not only am I campaigning, but I am running the world. Now that sounds like hyperbole. But we are the essential nation in the world. … For example, today before I came out here, I’m on the phone with the prime minister — anyway I shouldn’t get into the detail — but with Netanyahu. I’m on the phone with the new prime minister of England.”

    Stephanopoulos asked Biden one final time, noting that some Americans still have concerns about Biden’s health. “To reassure them, would you be willing to have the independent medical evaluation?”

    Biden just said they should watch him during the campaign.

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    Biden rejects notion that he’s staying in the race because he’s ‘out for himself’

    Stephanopoulos asked Biden how he responds to those who say he’s staying in the 2024 presidential race mainly because he’s out for himself — a criticism often lobbed at Donald Trump.

    “I don’t think those critics know what they’re talking about,” Biden said. “They’re just wrong.”

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    Biden: ‘It’s about the character of the president’

    President Biden, being interviewed on ABC News Friday by George Stephanopoulos, said that his 2024 race against former president Donald Trump amounted to more than politics.

    “It’s about the character of the president,” Biden said, comparing himself to his rival.

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    Biden says he wouldn’t run for president if he didn’t think he was capable

    In an interview with ABC News on Friday, George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he was the same man he was in 2020 when he was elected president.

    Biden said that “in terms of successes, yes.” He then went on to list things he’s done while in office, including expanding NATO, improving the economy and creating jobs.

    When asked what the job has cost him mentally, physically and emotionally, Biden referred to the debate: “Well, I just think it cost me a really bad night. Bad run.”

    Biden said he wouldn’t run if he didn’t think he could be president for another four years.

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    How to access Biden’s interview on ABC News

    President Biden is being interviewed on ABC News by George Stephanopoulos, his first following his highly criticized debate. Here’s where to fin it.

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    Rep. Quigley of Illinois is latest Democrat to call on Biden to step aside

    Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois is the fourth Democratic representative to call on President Biden to drop his reelection bid in the wake of his debate performance last week.

    “Mr. President, your legacy is set. We owe you the greatest debt of gratitude. The only thing that you can do now to cement that for all time and prevent utter catastrophe is to step down and let someone else do this,” Quigley said on “All In with Chris Hayes” Friday.

    Here’s a rundown of Democrats who have called on Biden to step aside or voiced concern over his candidacy.

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    Report: Jeffries to meet with top House Democrats to discuss Biden’s candidacy

    House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries will convene a meeting with top House Democrats at which they will discuss Biden’s candidacy, Axios reported Friday.

    Asked by reporters on Friday whether he had been made aware of the Washington Post reporting that Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia was contacting other senators to have them call on Biden to drop out of the race, the president portrayed Warner as an outlier.

    “Mark Warner, my understanding, is the only one considering that,” Biden said.

    Three House Democrats have already gone public with calls for Biden to withdraw from the race following his much-criticized debate performance last week.

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    Biden writes off debate performance as ‘bad episode’

    During Biden’s interview on Friday with ABC News, journalist George Stephanopoulos asked the president whether the halting performance the nation witnessed during last week’s debate was “a bad episode or the sign of a more serious condition?”

    “It was a bad episode,” Biden said. “No indication of any serious condition. … I didn’t listen to my instincts in terms of preparing. It was a bad night.”

    “You came home from Europe about 11 or 12 days before the debate,” Stephanopoulos continued. “You spent six days in Camp David. Why wasn’t that enough rest time, enough recovery time?”

    “Because I was sick. I was feeling terrible,” Biden responded. “Matter of fact, the docs with me, I asked if they did a COVID test because they were trying to figure out what’s wrong. They did a test to see whether or not I had some infection, you know, a virus. I didn’t. I just had a really bad cold.”

    Asked if he had rewatched the debate or if he realized how badly it was going as the event unfolded, Biden’s answer was hard to follow.

    “The whole way I prepared, nobody’s fault, mine, nobody’s fault but mine, I, uh, I prepared what I usually would do, sitting down as I did come back with foreign leaders or the National Security Council for explicit detail and I realized about partway through that, you know, all the — I get quoted from — the New York Times had me down 10 points before the debate, 9 now or whatever the hell it is,” Biden said. “The fact of the matter is that what I looked at is that he also lied 28 times. I couldn’t, I mean the way that the debate ran, not — my fault, no one else’s fault…”

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    Biden tells reporters he has completely ruled out exiting presidential race

    President Joe Biden President Joe Biden

    Biden faces the media on Friday. (Nathan Howard/Reuters)

    Following a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., and his interview with ABC News, Biden was asked by members of the media if he was considering dropping out of the race.

    “I’m completely ruling that out,” Biden responded.

    Reporters pressed Biden on why he was convinced he was still the best candidate to beat Trump, even after his much-criticized debate performance against him last week.

    “Because I’ve beaten him before, and I’ve gotten more than any president has,” Biden responded.

    Biden said he had spoken to at least 20 members of Congress who he said have told him to stay in the race.

    The president was also asked about a report that Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia was contacting other senators to have them call on Biden to drop out of the race.

    “Mark Warner, my understanding, is the only one considering that,” he said.

    Three House Democrats have already urged Biden to drop out.

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    Photo: Biden’s ABC interview

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    These top Democratic donors have halted support for Biden

    Some of the Democratic Party’s wealthiest donors have publicly withdrawn their support for Biden’s reelection campaign after his debate against Trump. The Hollywood Reporter also reported that some celebrities who are staunch Democrats, like Steven Spielberg, George Clooney and Jimmy Kimmel, have remained silent.

    Here are a few of what the Hollywood Reporter has called some of Biden’s most “deep-pocketed supporters” who are halting their donations:

    • Reed Hastings, the Netflix co-founder and CEO, who has reportedly donated more than $20 million to the party over the past few years.

    • Ari Emanuel, the Endeavor CEO described as a “prolific Democratic donor.”

    • Abigail Disney, a filmmaker, philanthropist and granddaughter of Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co., who has helped fund the party for years, including making a $50,000 donation to a climate change PAC in April 2024.

    • Damon Lindelof, a Hollywood screenwriter and “lifelong Democrat.”

    • Barry Diller, the IAC and Expedia Group chairman and executive who reportedly donated $100,000 to Biden and the party’s super-PAC in 2023.

    Per the Hollywood Reporter:

    A couple donors are even taking the position that they’re halting support to all Democratic candidates to boost pressure on Biden to drop out of the race. After all, it’s not just the presidency at stake in November but down-ballot races for the House and Senate. The drama is perhaps unlike any in modern political history, with longtime ride-or-die party loyalists giving the president of the United States a “get out or else” ultimatum just four months before a high-stakes general election.

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    Biden gives fewer TV interviews than his predecessors

    Biden’s Friday interview with ABC News will be just the second of his presidency with host George Stephanopoulos, and his total number of televised interviews lags behind those of other modern presidents. According to USA Today, Biden “currently holds the record for the fewest press conferences and media interviews held by presidents in over 40 years.”

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    Biden heads to ABC News interview

    After the rally in Madison, Biden headed to the event’s overflow room, where he told supporters and others that he had to leave to meet with news anchor George Stephanopoulos.

    The interview is set to air at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. A clip from the sit-down will first appear on World News Tonight in the 6:30 p.m. ET hour.

    The high-stakes sit-down will be an opportunity for Biden, 81, to present a sharper image than he did during the debate, when Biden spoke haltingly and appeared to lose his train of thought multiple times.

    Stephanopoulos — who interviewed Biden once before during his presidency — is expected to conduct an “intensive and probing” interview, according to the Associated Press.

    White House press secretary Karina Jean-Pierre said “millions of Americans” are expected to watch.

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    ‘The Reintroduction of Kamala Harris’

    The New York Times reports on Kamala Harris’s reintroduction to the public discussion as a potential Democratic nominee should Biden bow out of the race. Biden has insisted he’s going nowhere, and he did so again on Friday at his Wisconsin campaign rally. But the president has been unable to quash discussions about who might replace him.

    Her allies emphasize that she has been taking on a bigger role for some time, notably after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago and during high-profile foreign assignments. But even before the questions about Biden’s age and acuity burst into the open, people close to her say, she was looking for more powerful ways to support the ticket.

    Now, the effort to reintroduce herself has reached its most critical moment, with Biden’s candidacy plunged into crisis after a devastating debate performance in Atlanta and Democrats seriously weighing the prospect that she could become the nominee.

    And while Harris, 59, has shown steadfast support for Biden in the frenzied week since the debate, her allies insist she is the only logical choice to lead the ticket if he steps aside.

    Click here to read the full article.

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    ‘Pass the torch, Joe,’ sign at Wisconsin rally reads

    Someone in the crowd of around 300 people at Biden’s rally in Wisconsin held a sign that read: “Pass the torch, Joe.”

    But speaking to the crowd on Friday afternoon, Biden insisted he was staying in the race. “I beat Donald Trump,” Biden said. “I will beat him again.”

    President Biden greets supporters at a campaign event in Madison, Wis., on Friday. President Biden greets supporters at a campaign event in Madison, Wis., on Friday.

    Biden greets supporters at a campaign event in Madison, Wis. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

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    Report: Sen. Mark Warner attempting to assemble group of senators to convince Biden to drop out of 2024 race

    Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.  (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.  (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

    Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat who represents Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

    As President Biden was concluding a defiant speech in Madison, Wis., the Washington Post, citing two reliable sources, reported that Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, was attempting to put together a group of Democratic senators to convince Biden to withdraw from the presidential race.

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    Biden: ‘I’m staying in the race’

    During his 17-minute campaign speech in Madison, Wis., on Friday, President Biden’s central theme was that he would remain in the race despite his shaky performance in last week’s debate.

    “Let me say this as clearly as I can: I’m the sitting president of the United States,” he said, reading off a teleprompter. “I’m the nominee of the Democratic party. I’m staying in the race.”

    To reinforce that message his campaign tweeted out those same words as he spoke.

    As he finished his speech, the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty drove the message home.

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    Biden exits podium

    A defiant President Biden left the podium after delivering a 17-minute speech in which he vowed to stay in the race and beat Trump. Biden said he planned to continue his campaign stop in the overflow room after waving to the crowd.

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    Biden addresses age concerns

    Biden addressed widespread concerns about his age during the Wisconsin rally.

    “I know I look 40. I keep seeing all of those stories about I’m being too old,” Biden said before he touted what he’s accomplished since taking office, including creating millions of new jobs, insuring Americans under the Affordable Care Act, providing student debt relief and appointing the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.





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