Biden, campaigning in Wisconsin, defies calls to drop out: "Completely ruling that out"

Biden, campaigning in Wisconsin, defies calls to drop out: “Completely ruling that out”

President Biden had a message on Friday for Democrats and others who are calling on him to drop his reelection bid after last week’s debate: “I am going to run and I’m going to win again.” 

Speaking to supporters in the battleground state of Wisconsin on Friday, the president reiterated that he won’t be forced out as the Democratic presidential nominee amid a chorus of criticism and concern sparked by his startling debate performance. After a week of working to assuage concerns about his fitness for a second term, Mr. Biden stood his ground. 

“Now, you probably heard we had a little debate last week,” the president said after taking the stage in Madison. “Can’t say it was my best performance. But ever since then, there’s been a lot of speculation. What’s Joe going to do? Is he going to stay in the race? Is he going to drop out, what’s he going to do? Well, here’s my answer: I am going to run and I’m going to win again.”

participated in a call with campaign staff on Wednesday, and they met with 20 Democratic governors at the White House later that evening. Mr. Biden also spoke with the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, as well as other key allies on Capitol Hill.

One of the governors who attended the White House meeting, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, praised Mr. Biden for his work over the last four years and reiterated that she is committed to defeating Trump in November. But Healey also urged the president to examine the path forward, while stopping short of saying he should step aside.

“The best way forward right now is a decision for the president to make,” she said in a statement. “Over the coming days, I urge him to listen to the American people and carefully evaluate whether he remains our best hope to defeat Donald Trump.”

The president has maintained the same message throughout the outreach, according to participants: he is in the race to defeat Trump and will not be pushed out.

“I learned from my father, when you get knocked down, just get back up, get back up,” Mr. Biden told “The Earl Ingram Show,” which airs in Wisconsin, in the radio interview Thursday. “And you know we’re going to win this election, we’re going to just beat Donald Trump.”

Amid the assurances, a handful of House Democrats have openly called on Mr. Biden to withdraw from the presidential race, including Reps. Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona. Others, meanwhile, have publicly urged the president to take steps to prove to voters, elected Democrats and party donors that he is fit for a second term in the White House.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia has been speaking with Democratic colleagues about finding ways to convince Mr. Biden to step aside and let others seek the nomination, a senator who has been contacted by Warner told CBS News Thursday.

The senator says Warner’s outreach “is nothing formal. There’s no formal plan, at least not yet.”