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Biden’s Debate Gambit Derailed by Frailty and Confusion

Debate fallout leaves Democrats more befuddled than Biden.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump met for a first-of-its-kind debate in Atlanta, Georgia, courtesy of CNN last night, June 27. The left-leaning Fourth Estate had – despite valiant efforts at lowering expectations – put all their credibility eggs in one Biden basket. Based on CNN’s own snap polling, the hopes that Joe Biden would make it unscathed through the carefully choreographed debate format were dashed.

CNN’s flash poll handed Trump the win in a 67% to 33% wipeout. MSNBC’s poll gave the former president 69%. Betting markets lit up as cash bettors put their money against the incumbent, dropping his odds of re-election to three to one. But the real disaster was reported by Politico, citing Democrat strategists and big donors who are now actively demanding a replacement for the 2024 Democratic Party ticket.

Bizarre Debate Exchanges

Trump delivered strike after strike against the incumbent, hitting all the key issues for potential voters this cycle. The most devastating blow was on illegal immigration, when Trump named three young girls who have recently been savagely attacked and murdered by people who had no business being in the country.

“We are living right now in a rat’s nest,” Trump said. “They’re killing our people in New York and California and every state in the union, because we don’t have borders.”

“We call it migrant crime. I call it Biden migrant crime,” Trump added.

For Biden, his high point – if he could be said to have had one – was bizarrely calling out Trump for not carrying his own golf bag. When discussing cognitive and physical fitness, Trump referenced winning two tournaments and claimed Biden could not drive a ball even 50 yards. Taking the bait, Biden responded:

“I’d be happy to have a driving contest. I got my handicap when I was vice president down to a six. By the way, I told you before, I’m happy to play golf with you if you carry your own bag. Think you can do it?”

He then tried to course correct and say his handicap was “8,” leaving viewers confused and wondering if the president could even make it through the debate, let alone an 18-hole round.

History Made, for Better or Worse

Liberty Nation News Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner noted: “This was the most lopsided debate in American political history. Gerald Ford is off the hook for infamously saying that the Soviet Union did not dominate Eastern Europe in his debate with Jimmy Carter, who in turn has no more worries about historians who previously considered him the weakest president in history. Biden’s meltdown will serve as the gold standard for disastrous debate performances for generations to come, and it looks even worse when contrasted with the strength and discipline of Donald Trump.”

This damning appraisal was echoed across much of the media. The UK’s paper of record, The Telegraph, wrote:

“There’s no way to be polite. This wasn’t a debate, it was a medical emergency – the president resembling an animated corpse, his voice so weak it sounded like the whisper of leaves around an ancient tomb. Never mind, will he last four years? The audience wasn’t sure he’d last 90 minutes.”

A Controlled Environment?

The debate was expected to be a more civilized affair due to another first-of-its-kind tech innovation: muted mics. Pundits had reported that opposing candidates having their microphones cut off while their opponent was speaking would lead to a level of decorum missing from the previous three debates between the two men in 2020, but in yet another example of defying expectations, this actually worked in Donald Trump’s favor.

Mr. Biden was on numerous occasions left floundering for his point, which could have been brushed off if Trump had been permitted to interrupt. But he wasn’t. And what this wrought was Joe Biden without notes, left to fend for himself with no one to rescue him when he veered off into the verbal weeds.  As former CNN commentator Chris Cillizza noted, “This debate was a total and complete disaster for Biden.” He continued on X: “He looked old. His answers trailed off repeatedly. He was hard to understand. He would stop in mid sentence and move on to something else. I NEVER thought he would be this bad. Stunning. Truly.”

The State of the Union Specter

Concerns over both candidates’ age were rife – although this worry was more on the side of the sitting president. During his State of the Union Address earlier this year, Mr. Biden defied expectations and delivered a vigorous performance that media pundits referenced as evidence he could handle an extended recital. Those expectations were demolished, suggesting that anything more trying than scripted remarks are now beyond the commander-in-chief’s abilities.

Washington DC’s most prominent newspaper related this example verbatim:

“‘[We’re] making sure that we’re able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I’ve been able to do with –’ Biden said, before trailing off and adding, ‘the covid – excuse me, with – dealing with everything we have to do with – look – if – we finally beat Medicare.’

 

“It’s at this point that the moderator said his time was up.”

And this was not Mr. Biden’s only verbal gaffe. “I’m going to continue to move until we get the total ban on the – the total initiative, relative to what we can do with more Border Patrol and more asylum officers,” he said, confusing both the audience and his opponent. Trump responded: “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.”

A Persistent Delusion

Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appear to be the lone voices in the wilderness insisting that this was not a total disaster for Democrats. The president claimed in post-debate comments at an Atlanta Waffle House that he performed well. When asked about calls from his own party to step aside, he replied: “No. It’s hard to debate a liar. The New York Times pointed out he lied 26 times.”

And that may well be, but it was the president’s job on stage to refute these alleged lies in real time; relying on the Democrat-friendly Fourth Estate to do it for him is a sign of weakness that voters will almost certainly take note of.

Harris’ defense of her boss was less than spirited. “Yes, there was a slow start, but it was a strong finish. And what became very clear through the course of the night is that Joe Biden is fighting on behalf of the American people,” she told CNN.

The Tale of the Tape

The verdict on this debate was near-unanimous: Donald Trump won; Joe Biden lost. The 45th president is still receiving major column inches as the left-leaning Fourth Estate attempts to dissect his every statement as either half-truth or outright lies, and yet the outcome is begrudgingly admitted with a frankness that would have been hard to believe prior to the Atlanta spectacle.

MSNBC delivered a eulogy for Mr. Biden’s political future that was nearly as beyond hope as the performance itself. The outlet wrote:

“In the past, debates have been shown to have very little impact on election outcomes, but this one may test that trend. Whether Biden has lost a step is no longer up for debate. His campaign is fortunate that this event was so far from Election Day. He has time to recover. But he just dug himself a deep hole, and it’s not clear he has the capacity to dig himself out of it.”

This is a hole that Mr. Biden has dug for himself. He needed to enter a command performance in the debate and put to rest the accusations that he is too old, too infirm, and too cognitively impaired to win the election – without even considering whether he is capable of running the country for another four years. This was a test he failed last night.

He still has over four months to at least stop digging himself even deeper into the political grave, but the question remains whether Democrat donors, strategists, and the party hierarchy will be willing to loan Joe Biden a shovel.

Read More From Mark Angelides

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