Biden’s Tough Week: The President Faces Personal and Political Setbacks

POLITICS: Biden’s Tough Week: The President Faces Personal and Political Setbacks

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, who was seen as a possible candidate if Mr. Biden did not run, recently told fellow Democrats it was “time for all of us to get on the train and buck up,” as he put it in an interview.

Donna Brazile, a former Democratic Party chair, insisted that reports of hand wringing are overwrought. “No matter his age or accomplishment, Democrats must begin to focus on every branch of government, preserving our democracy, inspiring young people to run for office and vote — not to mention raise money and run as if we are 10 points behind,” she said. “There’s only one way to win: You have to believe in the candidates on the ballot.”

So far, the polling has been unforgiving, undercutting Mr. Biden’s argument that he is the safest choice to defeat Mr. Trump. Multiple surveys have shown him statistically tied with his predecessor, and his approval rating has remained mired around 40 percent despite improving economic conditions.

Mr. Biden’s advisers dismiss such findings, noting that Ronald Reagan, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama all rebounded from low approval ratings to win re-election handily. Mr. Biden’s campaign has already started airing ads in battleground states, and advisers argue that when the time comes for a choice that matters, voters will return to Mr. Biden rather than switch to an unpopular challenger who has been indicted four times, including for trying to subvert democracy.

In the meantime, they said, no one should worry about one week or another. The president survived plenty of tough weeks before pushing through landmark legislation and enacting other major policy goals. After a half-century in politics, they said, he has seen it all and he sets the tone for his White House.

“When I read these stories on Biden’s age or polling status, it reminds me of what I used to tell the staff,” said Ms. Brazile. “Keep your head down, make your phone calls and just do the work.”

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