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How Biden’s press conference performance will determine his fate in the 2024 presidential election

On Thursday night, the world’s eyes will be on Joe Biden. All the 81-year-old has to do is deliver powerful, convincing answers to a series of questions, demonstrating that he can perform well in an impromptu setting and that he cannot speak because he is not mentally prepared for a second term.

But in a sign of how concerned his aides are about his performance during the 5:30 p.m. ET press conference, they have an alternate plan in place in case Biden fumbles for words and stares into space, as he did during the first presidential debate.

Biden is under pressure as he tries to silence voices in the Democratic Party who want to remove him from the presidential race and rally support for his candidacy. At least a dozen Democratic lawmakers have called on him to withdraw.

A good performance could convince his hysterical allies that he has the mental and physical energy to compete with Donald Trump. A bad performance could be a disaster and the nail in the coffin for his chances of remaining the Democratic nominee.

The president has said repeatedly that he will not leave the fight.

President Joe Biden has been preparing for the press conference all week

President Joe Biden has been preparing for the press conference all week

Biden has been preparing for the press conference all week, the White House said. Officials say this is not a one-off, high-stakes event but part of a larger strategy to make Biden more publicly available and more available to the media.

Additional events are already being planned, a series of public events with footage to make up for any unfortunate moments in the press conference: the president will speak to NBC’s Lester Holt for an interview during a trip to Texas on Monday, travel to Detroit on Friday, and next week, in addition to Austin, he will visit Las Vegas.

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But the press conference could prove to be the decisive moment for his candidacy.

Lawmakers, party officials, donors, allies and enemies will all tune in.

White House spokesman John Kirby said he did not know how long the press conference would last, but that Biden would call reporters himself. In the past, the president has used a list compiled by White House staff of the names of reporters he should call.

“How long it’s going to take depends on the number of questions,” Kirby said Wednesday on Fox News. “I can’t give you a time frame, but it’s going to be a substantial press conference — again, multiple reporters and himself, calling them in by himself.”

The president’s last solo press conference was in November 2023.

The challenge for Biden is to show that he is a strong, clear communicator who can make the case for why he can defeat Trump in November and win a second term.

The president, who relies on an autocue, will also have to show that he is unprepared and can think quickly when asked multiple questions in real time.

His allies argue it will revive his candidacy.

“The press conference and other events like this will help us return to the contrast between Biden and Trump that we need and that the country deserves,” said Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

But it’s not just the press conference.

Lawmakers and party officials will be closely watching polls released in the coming weeks, conducted after Biden’s debate performance was released.

Already a Washington Post-ABC News-Ipsos Poll found that most Democrats believe Biden should end his campaign based on his debate performance.

The poll found that 56 percent of Democrats think he should end his candidacy, while 42 percent think he should continue to run for re-election.

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Party members will also be watching the president’s next round of fundraising numbers. Donors have expressed anger over Biden’s debate performance, with some claiming the party misled them about Biden’s ability to get the job done.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden during the presidential debate on June 27

Donald Trump and Joe Biden during the presidential debate on June 27

Donald Trump and Joe Biden during the presidential debate on June 27

Biden has held 36 press conferences so far, including 14 solo and 22 joint press conferences with other leaders.

The president continues to face calls from some Democratic lawmakers to drop out of the race. And there’s more bad news to come.

George Clooney, a lifelong Democratic and major party donor, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on Wednesday calling on Biden to drop out of the race. The prominent actor’s call caused political earthquakes in the Democratic Party.

In addition, the Cook Political Report on Tuesday shifted six states toward Trump in its Electoral College rankings, citing Biden’s decline in national and private polls after the debate.

Other leading Democrats are less than positive about the president.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among those who appear to have doubts about Biden’s decision to enter the race.

“It’s up to the president to decide whether or not to run. We all encourage him to make that decision. Because time is running out,” she said on Morning Joe on Wednesday.

Biden has repeatedly said he is in the running for president.

“I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am determined to stay in this race, to see this race through to the end, and to defeat Donald Trump,” Biden wrote to Democratic lawmakers on Monday, launching a bold strategy to regain his party’s trust.

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His week has been good so far. He gave a near-disastrous speech at the opening of NATO, but managed to avoid a near-blunder when he read from his autocue.

He lasted two weeks after his disastrous debate with Trump, during which he often stared blankly into the camera and struggled to find his words.

And some Democrats have stuck with him.

“I’m not going to advise the president on anything other than, ‘Stay inside. You’re our guy. And I’ve got your back,’” Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania said Wednesday.

Joe Biden and Jill Biden leave the debate stage after his awful performance

Joe Biden and Jill Biden leave the debate stage after his awful performance

Joe Biden and Jill Biden leave the debate stage after his awful performance

But there is growing fear among Democrats that Biden will not only lose in November, but also drag Democratic lawmakers down with him.

If the Republicans win the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, Donald Trump will have no control over his presidential power.

“Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election and perhaps by a landslide, and to take control of the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado told CNN.

“So for me, this is not a question about polls. It’s not a question about politics. It’s a moral question about the future of our country.”

Bennet also articulated what many Democrats have argued privately: If Biden’s campaign has a plan to win a second term, they’re not sharing it publicly or privately.

“The White House, I think, has done nothing since that disastrous debate to really demonstrate that they have a plan to win this election,” Bennet said.



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