Biden tells allies he knows he has days to save the nomination

President Biden told key allies that he knows the days ahead are critical and understands that if he can’t convince voters after last week’s disastrous debate, he won’t be able to save his candidacy.

According to two associates who spoke with him, Mr. Biden insisted he remains deeply committed to his re-election bid, but he understands his credibility as a candidate is on the line.

Even as White House officials tried to calm nerves among ranks in the Biden administration, the president tried to exude confidence in a call with his campaign staff on Wednesday.

“Nobody pushed me out,” Mr. Biden said on the call. “I did not go.”

Vice President Kamala Harris was also in line.

“We will not back down. We will follow the lead of our president,” he said. “We will fight and we will win.”

However, Mr. Biden’s allies say the president has privately acknowledged that his next few appearances over the July 4 holiday weekend should go well, particularly an interview scheduled for Friday with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and campaign stops in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“If he has two more incidents like this, we’re in a different place,” he knew. By the end of the week, one of the associates, Mr. He notes Biden’s halting and unfocused performance in the debate. The person, who spoke with the president in the past 24 hours, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the tense situation.

Accounts of his conversations with allies are the first public signs that the president is seriously considering whether he can recover after a disastrous performance on the debate stage in Atlanta on Thursday.

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In a new poll by The New York Times and Siena College, former President Donald J. Trump now leads Mr. Biden 49 percent to 43 percent among voters nationally, a three-point swing toward the Republican party from a week ago. Discussion. A six-point deficit in the Times/Siena poll was a blow to the campaign, and while some insiders worry it could have been worse, it will be tough to hang on.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the president told her directly that he had not spoken to allies about dropping out of the race.

“This is completely false,” he said during the briefing.

But Mr. One of Biden’s allies, his top adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the president was “well aware of the political challenge he faces.”

Mr. Biden knew, the person said. Mr. Biden, the person said, believes he is an effective leader who is mentally sharp and “can’t understand how other people don’t accept that.”

Mr. Biden still believes his debate was a poor performance and not a revealing event about his ability to do the job for four years, the person said.

Major party donors have personally called House members, senators, super PACs, the Biden campaign and the White House, and Mr. Democrats familiar with the debate say they think Biden should step down.

An elected Democrat, speaking on condition of anonymity given political sensitivities, said the decision is still ultimately up to Mr. He said it depends on Biden. “The only thing that matters is his decision about whether he’s going to give it up or not,” the person said.

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Inside the White House, senior officials tried to calm nerves in a staff-level conference call. Jeff Giants, the White House chief of staff, told the president’s staff to keep their heads down and say, “Execute, execute, execute.” Mr. Sciants also told them to “hold your heads up” and be proud, which he admitted had an element of ironic humor.

Mr. Biden has been slow to personally reach out to key Democrats to assuage their concerns, sparking anger in the party and frustrating some of his own advisers. Mrs. According to Jean-Pierre, the president is now “connected” to New York’s representative, Hakeem Jeffries; Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Majority Leader; Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, former Speaker; Representative James E. of South Carolina. Clyburn; and Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.

The president had lunch with Mrs. Harris at the White House and planned to meet with Democratic governors there later that evening. Until now, he has focused on talking to trusted advisers and family members who have urged him to stay in the race.

Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingle said during an interview on MSNBC that Mr.

“He needs to show the American people that he can do this job,” he said. “He can’t be wrapped up in a bubble now.”

Major donors expressed anger that Monday’s campaign call was not included. And some Democrats are increasingly suspicious that the president’s team hasn’t been fully forthcoming about the impact aging has had on him.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate said Wednesday that Mr. Not urging their members to rally around Biden. Instead, they were hearing countless complaints about the president’s handling of the situation from across the party, including the centrist wing of the party and its progressives.

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Mr. Many of Biden’s allies have underscored that he is still in the fight of his political life, and that he largely sees this moment as an opportunity to bounce back from being counted out, as he has done so many times in his half-century career. At the same time, they said, he was clear about how uphill the battle would be to convince voters, donors and the political class that his debate show was an anomaly and not disqualified.

As unrest in the party continues to grow, some of the president’s advisers have grown pessimistic over the past day or so, a reflection of unhappiness not only with the performance of the debate but also with the way it has been handled since then.

Mr. Biden, including his son Hunter Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. Most of Biden’s family supports the president continuing his campaign.

Mr. Biden’s team sought to build a firewall by lobbying elected Democrats and well-known party figures. But Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first Democrat in Congress on Tuesday to say the president should step aside, and others have privately hinted that they may follow suit.

Peter Baker, Nicholas Nehamas, Simon J. Levian, Michael D. Sheer And Luke Broadwater Contributed report.

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