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Nancy Pelosi and George Clooney deal new blows to Biden’s re-election bid

Joe Biden’s bid to keep his re-election bid alive received a double blow on Wednesday when Nancy Pelosi, the veteran Democratic lawmaker, said he had a “decision” to make about his future and actor George Clooney said he needed to be replaced as party leader. presidential candidate.

The interventions by Pelosi and Clooney, who hosted a huge fundraiser for Biden last month in California, were significant setbacks for the president as he tries to prevent an all-out revolt against his candidacy in the wake of a disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump last time. month.

“It’s up to the president to decide whether to run. We all encourage him to make that decision because time is running out,” Pelosi, the former speaker of the House and one of the party’s most influential members of Congress, said during an MSNBC- interview.

Biden told Democrats this week that he was determined to continue the re-election campaign and secured the support of a number of powerful lawmakers within the party.

However, Pelosi’s equivocal comments suggested there was still deep concern among rank-and-file Democrats about whether he would remain in the presidential race. Pelosi, who is 84, has been one of Biden’s staunchest supporters but her comments lacked full support.

A few more Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday called directly for Biden to withdraw, including Peter Welch, a senator from Vermont, and House members Pat Ryan of New York and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.

Welch was the first Democratic senator to call for Biden to drop out of the race. “We cannot look past President Biden’s disastrous debate performance. We cannot ignore or dismiss the valid questions that have been raised since that night,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

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Clooney released his support for Biden’s re-election bid separately in an opinion piece for The New York Times. Clooney wrote that he loved Biden but “the only battle he can’t win is the battle against time”.

He added: “None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fundraiser was not Joe’big F-ing deal‘ Biden in 2010. He wasn’t even Joe Biden in 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed in the debate.”

Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic senator from Connecticut, stepped up pressure on the president, saying he was “deeply concerned about Joe Biden winning in November because it’s an existential threat to the country if Donald Trump wins. I think we have to come to a conclusion as soon as possible.”

Senate Democrats were to meet Jen O’Malley Dillon, the chairman of the Biden campaign, and top White House officials, including Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti, at a gathering over lunch on Thursday, a campaign official said.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader of the House, said lawmakers would continue to have “frank, comprehensive and clear-headed conversations” about Biden but said he believed the president could still win in November and the party could regain control of the lower chamber. But he was expected to convey lawmakers’ concerns to Biden, a congressional aide said.

Republicans are determined to address concerns among Democrats: James Comer, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, on Wednesday issued subpoenas to three Biden aides for creating a “protective bubble” around the president to hide his “declining cognitive state” .

Biden will hold a news conference Thursday night at the end of the NATO summit he is hosting in Washington this week, before heading to Michigan on Friday for a campaign rally.

On MSNBC, Pelosi pleaded with Democrats to stop airing their grievances publicly until after the NATO summit in Washington. “Let him deal with this Nato conference . . . whatever you think – either tell someone privately, but you don’t have to put it on the table until we see how we go this week,” she said.

One of the most blistering accusations against Biden’s continued campaign was delivered on CNN Tuesday night by Michael Bennet, the Democratic senator from Colorado, who warned that Trump could win in a “landslide.”

“I’m sure President Biden has a different view of his prospects in this election than I do. But we should have a discussion about it,” Bennet said. to really show that they have a plan to win this election.”

According to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average, Trump leads Biden by 2.1 percentage points, while Biden held a slim lead heading into the debate in late June. Trump also has an edge in battleground states that will decide the election in November.

In a sign of the deepening anxiety among Democrats about the results of the November poll, Ritchie Torres, a New York Democrat, warned on social media that “there has to be a serious reckoning with the down-ballot effect of whoever we nominate. The important thing is not how we feel without what the numbers tell us”.

Meanwhile, Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s former communications director, said the campaign needed to show it could still win the race. “If they have data that supports the path to victory that they see, they should put it out there now and help people who badly want to beat Trump rally around it. People want to see the path,” she wrote on X.

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