Biden travels to Wisconsin to kick off crucial 2024 campaign weekend

Washington — President Biden travels to the pivotal state of Wisconsin on Friday for a campaign rally, kicking off a crucial weekend for his re-election bid, during which he will address concerns about his fitness for a second term that have been fueled by his surprising debate performance a little over a week ago.

In addition to the campaign event in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday afternoon, Mr. Biden will tape an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, which the network said will air in full on Friday night. The president will also head to Philadelphia for another campaign event on Sunday, capping the Fourth of July weekend with a visit to a second centerpiece state.

The president’s performances have come under renewed fire after his poor showing against former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, during the first general election debate on June 27. Biden blamed his performance on a busy travel schedule leading up to the showdown with Trump. At a campaign event on Tuesday, he said he “almost fell asleep” on stage after two trips to Europe in June.

President Biden arrives at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on July 5, 2024, to board Air Force One.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

In two radio interviews aired Thursday, Biden admitted he had a “bad debate” and that he had “messed up.”

Biden’s campaign and the White House attempted to brush off concerns about his lackluster performance by claiming he had a cold and that the debate fiasco was just a “bad night.” As part of the effort to assuage concerns about Biden and his age, he and Vice President Kamala Harris have participated in a call with campaign staff on Wednesday, and they met 20 Democratic governors at the White House later that evening. Mr. Biden also met with House and Senate Democratic leaders, as well as other key allies on Capitol Hill.

According to participants, the president has repeated the same message throughout the campaign: he is in the race to beat Trump and will not be chased away.

“I learned from my father that when you get knocked down, you just get back up, get back up,” Biden told “The Earl Ingram Show,” which airs in Wisconsin, in a radio interview Thursday. “And you know we’re going to win this election, we’re going to beat Donald Trump.”

Amid the assurances, two Democrats in the House of Representatives have openly Mr Biden called on to withdraw from the presidential race: Reps. Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona. Others, meanwhile, have publicly called on the president to take steps to prove to voters, elected Democrats and party donors that he is qualified for a second term in the White House.

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