Campaign staffers for former Vice President Joe Biden are reportedly “freaking out” over the Democratic presidential candidate’s weak showing on the debate stage Thursday night.
What are the details?
New York Magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi tweeted Thursday evening, “A source close to the Biden campaign tells me his staff is ‘freaking out’ about his performance tonight.”
Nuzzi said the unnamed source further claimed “that internally, field staff says the campaign-organized debate watch parties in early voting states have been ‘awkward’ and that Biden isn’t playing well to those who attended.”
The source also reportedly said that campaign staff complained that Biden “isn’t listening to his debate prep and he’s ‘set in his ways.'”
Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield denied Nuzzi’s claims, responding to the Twitter feed with a one-word answer: “Nope.”
The campaign sent out a text to supporters during the debate, claiming he was “on fire.” One Twitter user agreed, saying, “Oh God he’s on fire. Someone put him out.”
According to The Hill, Biden “struggled in the debate.” The 76-year-old candidate walked on stage as both the frontrunner and the target of his rivals, taking hits from Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) over his age, and Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) for his past concessions to Republicans.
But it was Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) who landed the heaviest blow against the former vice president, criticizing him for recent comments he made recalling how he had worked with pro-segregation senators long ago, and then using her personal experience as a child to slam him for opposing federally-run school busing in the 1970s.
The New York Times reported that during the debate, Biden “was at times halting and meandering, but also forceful in pushing back on criticism of his former record.”
Far-left “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert suggested after the debate that Biden wasn’t able to recover, saying in his monologue, “I hope they took dental photographs of Biden before this debate, because they’re going to need a reference to put his teeth back in.”