Biden Vows Re-Election Despite Age Criticism, Debate Setback

US President Joe Biden has responded to criticism regarding his age, asserting to his supporters during an impassioned speech that he is poised for re-election in November, despite a lackluster debate performance that has stirred doubts about his candidacy.

At a North Carolina rally on Friday, just one day after his challenging debate, Biden admitted, “I know I’m not a young man, to state the obvious.”

He said, “I don’t move as easily as I once did… I don’t debate as sharply as I once could.” However, he affirmed his capabilities, saying, “But what I do know is how to speak the truth and how to handle this job.”

In Raleigh, amidst chants of “four more years” from the supportive crowd, the 81-year-old Biden expressed his firm belief in his ability to serve another term.

Shortly thereafter, Donald Trump, speaking at his own rally in Virginia, proclaimed a “big victory” in the debate, which was viewed by 48 million television viewers and many more online. Trump, 78, critiqued Biden not on age but on ability, labeling him “grossly incompetent.”

Despite rumors of Biden potentially exiting the race, Trump dismissed such speculation, noting Biden’s strong polling compared to other Democrats like California Governor Gavin Newsom and Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Biden’s debate, characterized by verbal stumbles, a hoarse voice, and some convoluted responses, sparked concern among Democrats, leading to renewed scrutiny of his candidacy.

BBC’s Katty Kay reported an atmosphere of anxiety among Democratic officials, strategists, and Biden associates about the candidate’s prospects.

Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic House speaker, critiqued the debate as lacking. Biden’s former communications director, Kate Bedingfield, deemed it “a really disappointing debate performance.”

Democratic donors, speaking anonymously, were unequivocal, with one describing the performance as “disqualifying” and suggesting, “The only way it could have been more disastrous was if he had fallen off the stage. Big donors are saying… he has to go.”

The New York Times editorial board further suggested that Biden should withdraw, urging Democrats to find a more viable candidate.

However, high-ranking Democrats and Biden allies publicly defended his debate night, attempting to stabilize their base’s concerns.

Former President Barack Obama supported Biden on Twitter, acknowledging that “bad debate nights happen” and framing the election as a choice between Biden’s lifelong advocacy for ordinary people and Trump’s self-centered motives.

Disregarding calls to withdraw, Biden’s campaign remained defiant. “President Biden is the only person who has ever beaten Donald Trump. He will do it again,” a campaign adviser stated. “This election isn’t determined by a single rally, conversation, or debate.”

Following recent fundraisers, the Biden campaign announced a $14 million boost, signaling sustained momentum.