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Defiant Biden says 'only the Lord Almighty' could convince him to leave the 2024 race

In this handout photo provided by ABC, President Biden speaks with George Stephanopoulos on July 5 in Madison, Wis.
Handout/Getty Images
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Getty Images North America
In this handout photo provided by ABC, President Biden speaks with George Stephanopoulos on July 5 in Madison, Wis.

MADISON, Wis. — President Biden is campaigning in the swing state of Wisconsin today, working to move on from a bad debate performance that has dominated headlines for more than a week.

He is holding a rally, where he's set to be joined by the state’s Gov. Tony Evers. But more significantly, while he's there, he will sit down for an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos.

A television network interview doesn't always attract huge headlines. But compared with other recent presidents, Biden has done relatively few one-on-one interviews.

And with a growing number of Democrats openly questioning whether Biden, 81, is up to the task of beating former President Donald Trump in November, this unscripted interview is another high-profile test of his cognitive abilities.

Depending on how it goes, the interview could quiet calls for Biden to step aside, or make them grow louder.

"I think it’s really important to a lot of donors, to a lot of elected officials who you've been hearing from in the media," Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Ga., told NPR.

But it's unclear how widely the interview will resonate among voters. Polls have long shown that voters have concerns about Biden's age, but whether the debate — let alone the interview — will move the needle is still an open question.

"What I'm hearing from voters on the ground is — well, a lot of them might not even know that this interview is happening on Friday," Williams said.

President Biden greets guests during a July 4th event on the South Lawn of the White House.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images / Getty Images North America
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Getty Images North America
President Biden greets guests during a July 4th event on the South Lawn of the White House.

Biden has been trying to calm his party

In recent days, Biden has stepped up calls to leaders in his party. On Wednesday, he met with Democratic governors.

The message from governors afterward: Biden is the nominee, and Trump is a threat who must be stopped. But they didn't get into hypotheticals about whether Biden is still the best person to take on Trump.

Publicly, Biden, the White House and the campaign have said that he's not thinking about dropping out. "He's staying in the race. He's not going anywhere," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters traveling with Biden to Madison on Air Force One.

But Hawaii Gov. Josh Green — who backs Biden and was part of the Wednesday meeting — told All Things Considered's Ailsa Chang that the president is still weighing his decision.
Copyright 2024 NPR

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Politics 2024 ElectionMorning EditionAll Things ConsideredJoe Biden
Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.