Editorial voices wonder how Democrats let debate happen

By Bob Unruh

Joe Biden and CNN's Dana Bash at the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, June 27, 2024.
Joe Biden and CNN’s Dana Bash at the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, June 27, 2024.

Editorial voices, including some who have advocated for Joe Biden through all of his stumbles so far, have drawn a line at Thursday’s failed debate performance by the octogenarian.

“The first presidential debate lasted 90 minutes, but President Joe Biden had lost it within 10 minutes,” explained the Washington Examiner. “He stumbled immediately, lost his train of thought, and fell silent. It was painful to watch and obvious that no matter how much preparation he had done, he was utterly incapable of stringing sentences together and making a coherent argument.”

The opinion continued, “It allowed former President Donald Trump to deliver a knockout punch within just 15 minutes of the debate beginning. After listening to Biden give a rambling answer on illegal immigration in which the president promised a ‘total ban’ on something, Trump was given an opportunity to respond and simply said, ‘I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows either.'”

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The analysis didn’t get any better for Biden.

“We watched an incumbent president who was what special counsel Robert Hur said he was, an elderly man with a poor memory. He was incapable of serious participation on the biggest stage in politics. … Biden was a frail old man coughing and getting almost everything wrong. He claimed he is the ‘only president of the 20th century’ who had no American troops die on his watch.”

Not only getting the century wrong, that must have surprised families of the 13 American service members killed during Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, the report said.

“The performance was massively worse than Democrats could have feared, and it exposed as a pack of lies all those statements that Biden is sharp as a tack and on top of the issues.”

Byron York, at the Examiner, wondered, “How did Democrats let this happen?”

“How long did it take Democrats to panic after President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump walked onstage for their debate in Atlanta? One minute? Two? Three max? Whatever the exact time, it was quick. Biden’s weak, raspy voice, his stiffness, slow uptakes, and weird, vacant expression confirmed in a few awful seconds what Democrats had denied for the last three years: that there is no way the 81-year-old president is physically or mentally fit to serve for four more years. But you knew that, didn’t you? Was there anything in Biden’s demeanor on Thursday night that would have surprised anyone who watched his performance in dozens of public events? Of course he is not up to being president until he is 86 years old. He’s not up to being president right now. The question is, why didn’t everybody already know that?” he said.

Liz Peek wrote at Fox News, “For weeks, rumors have circulated that the first presidential debate was scheduled many weeks earlier than usual to allow Democrats time to throw Joe Biden overboard in case he flopped. There would be time, some speculated, to convince Biden to step down and for the party to coalesce around a new candidate before the Democratic convention in August.

“According to the devastated talking heads on CNN, speaking after their network hosted the debate, that’s where we are. Even those totally in Biden’s corner had to admit that the president did not appear capable of serving for four more years. They weren’t alone.”

She pointed out even Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times said, “I hope he reviews his debate performance Thursday evening and withdraws from the race, throwing the choice of a Democratic nominee to the convention in August.”

She reported, “The Kobeissi Letter reported on X that the odds on Donald Trump winning the November election surged by over 10% during the debate, to a new high of 63%. More incredible, before the debate, odds-makers gave Biden an 86% chance of winning the nomination; that plummeted to a 38% probability that he will not be the nominee. It’s not surprising.”

She noted the stunning failures: “Walking onto the stage, Biden waved, perhaps forgetting there was no live audience. The goof set the tone for the evening: blank, confused stares from the president combined with garbled and sometimes incomprehensible statements.”

The Daily Mail joined in.

“President Joe Biden’s senior advisers, aides and the First Lady have a lot of explaining to do. For weeks, they’ve assured America that the Democratic party’s 81-year-old presumptive nominee was fighting fit and capable, not only of serving out his term but carrying on four more years. Americans were told not to believe their lying eyes, that the man they watched freeze at public events and ramble incoherently when speaking extemporaneously was actually sharp as a tack behind the scenes. Well, where was that man at Thursday night’s debate? The future of Joe Biden’s campaign rested on this single test – the first faceoff of the 2024 election – and he patently failed. Ironically, this was the showdown that the Biden campaign wanted.”

The Gateway Pundit pointed to the debate’s end.

“This was the saddest moment of the evening: Jill Biden came over to husband Joe at the end of the debate. As President Trump walked away unaided, Jill took Joe by the hand and slowly led him as he stiffly took the few steps from the podium to the edge of the stage where she then helped Joe down the four or five stairs in front so he could talk with the CNN debate moderators, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.

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