Vulnerable Senate Democrats dodge on Biden mental fitness – Washington Examiner


Vulnerable Senate Democrats facing reelection this November are steering clear of discussing President Joe Biden, whose disastrous debate performance last week could be a drag on them and other down-ballot candidates in November.

Those Senate Democrats, each of whom are running in competitive races this fall, include Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Jon Tester (D-MT). Their offices or campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.

Others offered statements that largely deflected from the Democratic crisis of confidence facing the president, who has rejected calls to step aside as the Democratic nominee after appearing feeble and repeatedly losing his train of thought at the debate.

The outlier was Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who stood by Biden, a longtime ally who shares the same home state of Pennsylvania.

“He had a bad night and debate, but I think people know what’s at stake,” Casey told reporters in Pennsylvania on Monday before pivoting to other concerns such as abortion, labor, voting rights, and democracy.

“I’ve been at this a while, and I know his work,” he continued. “And I also know that the American people and the people of Pennsylvania are going to focus on these races in the way that I just outlined.”

Casey’s Republican challenger, former hedge fund executive David McCormick, shot back.

“Our troops deserve a commander in chief with the strength and acuity to lead in a crisis. Yet, here is Casey going back to his tired, old routine: Protecting Biden and lying to Pennsylvanians,” McCormick said.

Sen. Jacky Rosen’s (D-NV) campaign declined to address Biden’s performance directly in a statement to the Washington Examiner, and a spokesperson emphasized that voters have a binary choice for president: Biden or former President Donald Trump.

“There is a clear choice for voters this November between an administration focused on lowering costs, growing the middle class, and restoring reproductive freedom and Trump’s MAGA agenda that would ban abortion and devastate hardworking Nevada families,” the spokesperson said. “Senator Rosen is focused on her own reelection campaign and continuing her track record as one of the most bipartisan, independent, and effective senators.”

Republicans are already trying to capitalize on the politically perilous situation Democrats have suddenly found themselves in.

The campaign of Brown’s opponent, Republican Bernie Moreno, blasted to reporters a local news clip of Brown dodging a question about the debate.

“My focus is on my job,” he says in the clip. “That means fighting for women’s rights, and it means focusing on this campaign and the contrast between me and Bernie Moreno. That’s my focus, and it’ll continue to be my focus.”

In a statement, Moreno said it’s “pathetic” that Brown won’t admit Biden is “unfit to lead.”

“Biden and Brown are forever politicians with over 100 years in office combined, and Ohioans will send them into retirement in November,” Moreno said.

Biden’s fumbled debate immediately set off alarm bells among Democratic lawmakers, liberal pundits, and party strategists. Democrats fear he could not only lose the White House but also jeopardize their chances of keeping the Senate and retaking the House.

Congressional Democrats have so far rebuffed calls to oust him from the race and nominate another candidate while Biden’s allies furiously try to quell a possible revolt.

Senate Democrats hold a one-seat majority and must successfully defend all eight battleground state races.

Biden’s campaign tried to spin his debate performance Monday with a new ad that focused on Trump’s perceived missteps, stringing together audio and video from a Friday rally in North Carolina in which the president addressed his performance.

“Folks, I know I’m not a young man,” Biden says in the 60-second spot. “But I know how to do this job. I know right from wrong. I know how to tell the truth. And I know, like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back up.”

As they grappled with the fallout, many congressional Democrats blamed Biden’s slow start and verbal stumbles on factors outside his control, insisting his performance was not indicative of his time in office. Among their explanations was a campaign talking point that Biden was battling a cold, his advisers failing to prepare him properly, and the debate moderators declining to live fact-check Trump’s remarks.

The campaign arm of Senate Republicans cut an ad featuring several vulnerable Senate Democrats or those running for competitive seats, including Tester. The 90-second video includes a prior NBC interview with Tester in which he says Biden is “absolutely, 100% with it.”


“Cognitive ability, whatever you want to call it, I’m not a doctor, I’m a dirt farmer, but he’s, he’s fine,” Tester says.

Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, Tester’s Republican challenger, shared the video on social media and said, “Two-Faced Jon Tester will always fall in line with Crooked Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer’s marching orders.”

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