Jill Biden stands behind Joe Biden after debate performance

NEW YORK — “So let’s talk about last night’s debate, because I know you’re thinking about it,” Jill Biden said.

The living room of the Greenwich Village brownstone fell silent. The first lady, dressed in a polka-dot dress and a pair of pink stilettos, stood behind a lectern, her lips parted in a half-smile. The nearly 60 attendees at this afternoon’s fundraiser, clutching the melted remains of their Aperol Spritzes, watched her.

“Like Joe said earlier today, he’s not a young man,” she continued, her voice optimistic. “After the debate last night, he said, ‘You know, Jill, I don’t know what happened. I didn’t feel very well.’

It was the most intimate detail that anyone in Biden’s orbit had revealed about how the president viewed his Thursday night debate, a dismal 90 minutes during which he stuttered, stumbled and seemed to lose his train of thought. thoughts.

For his wife of 47 years, there was no reason to panic. “I said, ‘Look, Joe, we’re not going to let 90 minutes define the four years you’ve been president,’” she said. The room erupted into applause.

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“What my husband knows how to do is tell the truth,” she continued. “When he gets knocked down, Joe gets back up, and that’s what we’re doing today.”

If anyone had wondered whether the first lady still thought her husband was the best person for the job, the answer was clear.

Outside of Biden Land, doubts remain and some have called for drastic measures. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, host of one of Biden’s favorites morning show host and often his most ardent supporter, has called on Biden to drop out of the race. So has New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a personal friend of the president.

Meanwhile, some of Biden’s most prominent Democratic allies have doubled down on their support for the outgoing president. “Let’s stay the course,” the representative said. James E. Clyburn (DS.C.) told reporters Friday. “Bad debate nights are coming,” former President Barack Obama wrote on X, appearing to view Biden’s performance as a surmountable setback.

The first lady’s account on the evening of the debate had was incredibly pink. “Joe, you did a great job!” she said from the stadium a watch party late Thursday night. “You answered all the questions!” You knew all the facts! » But by the time the Bidens took the stage at a rally in North Carolina on Friday afternoon, they were publicly admitting that things hadn’t gone well. “I’m not walking as easily as I usually do,” President Biden explained to a supportive crowd in Raleigh. “I don’t speak as easily as I used to.” I don’t debate as well as I used to. But, he added, “I know how to do this job.”

Jill joined her husband on stage at the North Carolina event in a form-fitting black dress with “Vote” printed all over it in bold white letters. The dress was meant as a statement of support in itself, according to a source close to the first lady, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the campaign.

Then it was the fundraiser in New York, the first time Jill Biden had faced an audience solo since the debate. Attendees, who had paid at least $1,000 each to hear Jill Biden speak in the Greenwich Village salon, did not seem alarmed by the president, either. “We are in love with your husband,” said the novelist Adriana Trigiani, host of the fundraiser, during the presentation of the first lady.

“We believe in you, we’re not going anywhere,” Trigiani added. “Everyone has a night here and there.” Get off his back.

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