Joe Biden Has Finally Reached Out to Influential Hill Democrats, Including Schumer, Jeffries

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Joe Biden appears to be looking to shore up his support among top Democrats. But is he seeking advice from them on how to salvage last week's debate disaster? Is he trial-ballooning the idea of stepping aside and handing the baton to Kamala Harris? Or is he floating the idea of alternative candidates?

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It's not clear if he even knows. We learned on Wednesday that the embattled (and befuddled) president has been reaching out to Capitol Hill Democrats, including the House minority leader and the Senate majority leader. Why? That's unclear.

President Joe Biden called senior Hill Democrats days after his terrible debate performance last week, multiple people familiar told POLITICO, marking his most direct effort to reassure the highest levels of his party of his reelection campaign's continued viability. 

The lawmakers included House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who Biden called Tuesday, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who Biden called Wednesday morning. 

He has also spoken with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and close ally Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday, two people familiar said. After his call with Clyburn, the South Carolina member's spokesperson Brianna Frias told POLITICO: “Congressman Clyburn had a very long conversation with President Biden on Wednesday. The substance of that call will remain private.”

The substance of these calls will probably remain private until some kind of decision is made on the part of the Biden campaign; whatever else we might say about Democrats, they know how to hold a line. But we can speculate that Joe Biden is growing ever more confused and his poll numbers ever more disheartening (to Democrats) as the left scrambles frantically to downplay his disastrous debate performance and Donald Trump, uncharacteristically, is keeping away from the topic. The former president is adhering to the old maxim, "When your opponent is making a mistake, let him."

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See Related: The Growing List of Desperately Comical Biden Debate Performance Excuses 

Gotta Love It: Trump Takes Unusual Approach to Dem Implosion Over Biden, and It's Driving the MSM Nuts


But here's where the Democrats may slip up:

Many Democrats continue to stress they need to see more of the president engaging with voters in unscripted settings and answering tough questions. Schumer, Jeffries and Clyburn have publicly said they continue to support the president, but they will still need to deal with growing concerns from members within their caucuses. 

“I want, like everybody else, to hear more from the president,” Clyburn said Wednesday morning on CNN. “I give him my honest opinions, but I keep them private.”

I do not doubt that Clyburn, for once, is telling the truth here; he probably does want to hear more from the president, and the words he would want to hear if he has any hope of salvaging this mess is "I'm resigning." But really, giving President Biden an increased public profile at this point would be a disaster for Democrats, as well as delighting Republicans. 

The fact is that every time Joe Biden makes a public appearance, his physical and mental deterioration becomes more and more obvious. He's declining faster now; even in the last year, the difference is notable.

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If last week's debate told us anything, it was that Joe Biden is no longer ready for prime time. He can't continue like this. If the Democrats try to brazen ahead with Joe Biden as their presidential candidate, they are likely setting themselves up for a catastrophic loss, especially as Donald Trump seems to have adopted the strategy of staying quiet and allowing Biden to self-destruct.

One thing is becoming more obvious every day. The question Democrats face, right now, is this: Who will bell the cat?

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