CNN’s anchors pressed prominent Democrats about President Joe Biden’s perceived weaknesses going into the 2024 reelection campaign, following the release of a new CNN poll showing that a significant majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters want someone other than Biden to be their presidential candidate next year.
CNN host Erin Burnett asked Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat who’s also running for a California Senate seat, about the poll’s grim numbers.
“Does the Democratic Party need to start seriously looking at someone else?” Burnett said.
Porter didn’t directly respond right away, saying, “President Biden has done a terrific job on the economy, and I think this is a matter of just people wanting to sort of dream up what they could imagine for different kinds of candidates, at this point.”
Rep. Porter argued that people want to hear about what Biden’s done on the economy, as well as what he’s still going to do. The congressperson also brought up items that got knocked out of the signature legislation promoted by the president, including two free years of community college and reducing the costs of housing and childcare.
Porter wrapped up her answer with support for Biden’s reelection.
“I think what voters are signaling is they want those problems tackled, and they still see the work ahead,” Porter said, “and I would say Joe Biden sees the work ahead too, and that’s exactly why we should elect him.”
Burnett noted that she’d had discussions with Porter before about the economy and added that they could discuss the actual successes Biden’s had, versus the public perception.
“But do you really think ultimately, congresswoman, that if people just saw the economy differently, they wouldn’t care about all these other issues that they seem to have strong opinions on? The stamina, the age, whether they’re proud to have him as president — all of those, frankly, pretty damning numbers.”
Porter responded, saying that she’s run three races and has read a lot of polls, noting that polls can often include “cross-signals, and I think that’s some of what you see here.” Porter defended Biden, citing his numbers with independent voters and the demographics of his supporters compared with those who elected him president in 2020.
“I think you hear, if anything, even stronger concerns about President Trump,” Porter said. “So what I saw in this poll was actually a lot of consistency from 2020 in terms of who’s supporting President Biden, who’s supporting candidate Trump, and I think we’re going to see a very similar outcome, which is ultimately President Biden being reelected.”
Burnett wasn’t alone in putting the pressure on Democrats. CNN host Jake Tapper asked Cedric Richmond, cochair of Biden’s reelection campaign, “Do you not acknowledge that the perception of his frailty — perceived frailty — is hurting his campaign? Is hurting his reelection chances?”
Tapper also cited Nikki Haley, who’s beating Biden in a head-to-head polling matchup. Richmond started his answer by going after Haley’s position on abortion.
“Now, about the president’s age — voters will see his vigor, voters will see his accomplishments,” Richmond said. “If you just look at his schedule, he’s traveling around the world over the next 4.5 days to continue to show American leadership on the world stage. So when they compare President Biden’s travel to that of Republicans — even Republicans that are running for president — he’s traveling almost 30% more than they are.”
Richmond closed his answer with praise for how Biden is helping American families.
When asked about tough numbers in a recent Wall Street Journal poll in a CBS interview that also aired Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris said that “Joe Biden is going to be fine.”
Other Democrats, including a number of senators, also sought to downplay the negative elements of Biden’s poll numbers, CNN reports.