Biden says he’s ‘staying in the race’

Published 3:53 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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MADISON, Wis.  — President Joe Biden, fighting to save his endangered reelection effort Friday, defiantly declared that “I’m staying in the race” during a campaign rally in a critical battleground state as he prepares to sit down for a network television interview where his every answer is sure to be scrutinized for evidence of his competency and fitness to run for office.

In front of roughly 300 supporters at a Wisconsin middle school, Biden again acknowledged his subpar debate last week, saying he “can’t say it was my best performance” but that amid speculation over what he would do, he had an answer: “I am running, and I’m going to win again.”

“I beat Donald Trump,” a forceful Biden said, as the crowd cheered and waved campaign signs. “I will beat him again.”

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Biden, relying on a teleprompter for his remarks, attacked his presumptive Republican challenger almost immediately, laying into Trump by pointing out that the former president once said that “George Washington’s army won the revolution by taking control of the airports from the British.”

As the crowd laughed, Biden continued, “Talk about me misspeaking.”

The rally preceded an interview that could be a watershed moment for Biden, who is under pressure to bow out of the campaign after his disastrous debate performance against Republican Donald Trump ignited concern that the 81-year-old Democrat is not up for the job for another four years.

The interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, being taped after a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, is expected to be intensive and probing, and two people familiar with the president’s efforts said he had been preparing aggressively. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.