Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on calls for Biden to step aside (2024)

Tamara Keith, National Public Radio:

Certainly, the public statements have coalesced behind President Biden.

I was talking to the chairman of the — the Democratic chairman of the state party in Wisconsin today. And he's closer to the ground. What he said is, yes, absolutely, the debate was terrible. His phone was blowing up. But the people who were most concerned are people who have been paying close attention to the election and watched the State of the Union address, where President Biden did a solid job, or watched some of his speeches where he was on fire, like he was in North Carolina.

He said most voters who aren't paying a lot of attention are pretty much just seeing debate Joe Biden on loop on TikTok leading into this debate. The guy that they think is running for president, the many voters' believer is running for president is the guy who showed up on the debate stage, somebody who stumbles on the steps and everything that they have seen in loop on TikTok.

Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report:

That's right.

And, Amna, that's a really good point that Democratic voters have been saying now for months and months and months two things. One, they are — they do have concerns about his age. And, two, they wanted to see an alternative to President Biden in the Democratic primary.

And what we're seeing — and your piece set this up — is that the very people who could have provided that alternative, whether it was the governors or some of those senators that were in your piece, decided that they didn't want to challenge the president, the sitting president.

And that was the choice that they made. And that's why we are here now just four months before the election. There is not going to be a replacement. That replacement conversation has been happening in periods of time before this, right? We saw it right before the State of the Union. We're seeing it now.

It is set. Unless the president of the United States decides himself that he is stepping down, there is no replacement for him. The delegates are going to choose him as the nominee. And the party, this is the choice in front of them.

Now, what are the polls showing post-debate? We don't have really anything up to date right now because I think we're going to — it's going to be about a week or so before we see some of the fallout. I suspect that Trump is going to gain a little bit, based on everything that we have seen for these past four days, because the reality of this election today isn't much different than it was before the debate.

In order for Joe Biden to win this race, for President Biden to be reelected, the election has to be as much about Donald Trump as it is about Joe Biden or even more so about Trump than it is about Biden. The debate was an opportunity for him to change that focus. He failed on that measure.

And now it's really all about Biden. And that is a problem for the Biden campaign.

Tamara Keith:

Well, and what I will say is, President Biden is now set to speak about this later tonight. Certainly, that decision raises the stakes in the election. That is how the Biden campaign sees it.

And their view — and they're leaning into it — as Amy said, this election — if this election is about Joe Biden, it's a problem for Joe Biden, but if it's about former President Trump, then that is better for the Biden campaign. And so they are running hard against former President Trump, harder than ever.

And this decision is the latest example. They say it raises the stakes, because their belief and many voters believe that former President Trump is an existential threat to democracy, and this gives him or any president more power.

Amy Walter:

Well, I think that's right, that it was highly anticipated, that this is the ruling that we would see basically, kicking it down to the lower courts.

And essentially, from a practical purpose, what it means is that there will not be any other trials for which Donald Trump will be sitting. And so that is something that we long suspected, but now is the reality. And as Tam pointed out, the issue for the Trump campaign is making the case much more firmly that this election is about the economy, is about immigration, it's not about what the Supreme Court or other courts may say in the future.

Tamara Keith:


So we have been talking for this whole segment about Democrats in disarray. And what my reporting shows is that Republicans are further coalescing behind Trump. The — his top advisers have a plan to cut back the party platform considerably, to make it shorter, more streamlined, clearer, more concise, and, importantly, very Trump-centric.

It is going to be built around Trump and the ideas that he has pushed forward that helped him win the primary. And they are trying to avoid drama. They do not want to put anything in that platform that is going to give their adversaries anything to go after him on.

And so they are going to move the process, which has typically been in front of cameras, behind closed doors, not open press. This is a break with tradition. However, it's part of they think they're winning. They believe they are winning. They are winning based on the polls. And they don't want to mess with that by — with a platform document that's really just a vision document for the party.

Amy Walter:

I know. I know.

I think that is — listen, this has been happening for the last few years as we have seen candidates downballot really mold themselves in the image of Donald Trump, looking to get endorsem*nts from Donald Trump. That is now where the Republican Party is.

And, in fact, I have been thinking about how much where Democrats are right now reminds me of where we were at this point in 2016, when there were questions going into that convention about whether Donald Trump was going to get the elites and the establishment behind him because there were so many concerns about his electability.

But voters were saying, no, this is the person that we want. And, essentially, the establishment got on board. In this case, it's the voters on the Democratic side who've been saying for a long time, we'd like an alternative. The establishment and elites were saying, nope, this is the person that we're sticking with.

And so these conventions are going to look — are going to be actually quite fascinating to see what the rank and file take from this and what independent or swing voters take away from those two events. I think it's going to be really, really important.

Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on calls for Biden to step aside (2024)


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