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What possible Biden replacements are saying about his debate performance

High-profile Democratic officials, including some who have been floated as possible replacements should President Biden step aside as the party’s nominee, have begun weighing in on his debate performance Thursday night.

Some of these Democrats have conceded that the commander in chief had a rocky debate night. But they still broadly defended the substance of Biden’s arguments and the policy positions he sought to advance at the lectern — and continued to make the case against his Republican rival, former president Donald Trump.

Here’s a sample of what they’ve had to say:

On Biden’s debate performance, Harris told CNN on Thursday: “Listen, first of all, what we saw tonight was the president making a very clear contrast with Donald Trump on all the issues that matter with the American people.”

“Yes, there was a slow start, but there was a strong finish. What became very clear through the course of the night is that Joe Biden is fighting on behalf of the American people on substance, on policy, on performance.”

Later she added: “People can debate on style points, but ultimately this election and who is the president of the United States has to be about substance.”

And: “It was a slow start. That’s obvious to everyone. I’m not going to debate that. I’m talking about the choice in November.”

On Biden’s performance, Newsom told MSNBC on Thursday: “Well, I thought on the substance he won the debate.”

On talk of replacing Biden: “I think it’s unhelpful, and I think it’s unnecessary. We got to go in and we got to keep our head high. And as I say: We got to have the back of this president. You don’t turn your back because of one performance. What kind of party does that? … He got stronger. He had more stamina over the debate.”

Whitmer signaled she intends to see Biden continue to represent the party in the general election.

In a statement released Friday by her political action committee she said: “Joe Biden is running to serve the American people. Donald Trump is running to serve Donald Trump. The difference between Joe Biden’s vision for making sure everyone in America has a fair shot and Donald Trump’s dangerous, self-serving plans will only get sharper as we head toward November.”

Shapiro acknowledged on MSNBC on Friday that Biden had a bad performance: “I think Joe Biden had a bad debate night, but it doesn’t change the fact that Donald Trump was a bad president.”

The governor added: “Nothing about the debate changed that last night.”

He broadly dismissed Democrats fretting about the future of the party: “I’m scared of what will happen if Donald Trump is given the keys to the White House again and so, forgive me, but sitting here and hand-wringing, sitting here and fretting is not the answer.”

Warnock brushed off concerns, saying after the debate: “I would be concerned if the president didn’t have a record to run on, but the fact of the matter is this is a man who’s passed historic legislation.”

He said Americans were reminded about Trump’s character during the debate: “At the end of the day, it’s really about the character of the country, and the American people got a chance tonight to be reminded about the character of Donald Trump, a man who stood there and lied for 90 minutes straight.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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