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President Biden’s campaign is continuing to do damage control after his poor performance in the first presidential debate left some Democrats questioning his fitness to run. Sitting down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a pre-taped interview, Biden attempted to assure Stephanopoulos and his voters that he is still the man for the job. Addressing his debate performance, he called it a “bad night.” “It was a bad episode, no indication of any serious condition. I was exhausted. I didn’t listen to my instincts in terms of preparing and it was a bad night,” he said. Stephanopoulos asked Biden, who will be 86 at the end of his 4-year-term, whether he had the stamina to keep up. “I believe so. I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I did. Look, I’m running again because I think I understand best what has to be done to take this nation to a completely new level.” He declined, however, to submit to an independent medical evaluation that would include cognitive testing, insisting his work load shows his ability to handle the job. “I have a cognitive test every single day. Every day I have that test, everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, I’m running the world.”

Stephanopoulos also pressed Biden on whether he believes he has been having more mental lapses. “Do you dispute that there have been more lapses, especially in the last several months?” he asked. “Can I run the 100 in 10 flat? No. But I’m still in good shape,” said Biden. He also denied the claim that he is frailer and insisted against the idea that Democrats would force him to stand down. “If you can be convinced that you cannot defeat Donald Trump, will you stand down?” Stephanopoulos asked. “It depends on — on if the Lord Almighty comes down and tells me that, I might do that,” he said. President Biden reasserted his commitment to the presidential race at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. “Let me say it as clearly as I can, I’m staying in the race. I’ll beat Donald Trump,” he said. He did have a slight flub, saying he would beat Donald Trump again in 2020.

Despite his defiance, the president still has his detractors. MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, who formerly served as Biden’s press secretary, called the interview “just okay.” “I would say it went just okay for the president. When the interview ended, it left us all in this sort of purgatory for the moment. It was better than debate, not a home run at all,” she said. “The questions I know I’m getting from text messages from friends, from family are twofold: What’s going to happen and what is the best path forward? And I’m not going to sit here this afternoon and tell you I know the answer to either question.” David Axelrod, a former advisor to President Obama, doubted Biden’s ability to win. “He’s not winning this race. If you just look at the data and talk to political people around the country, it’s more likely that he’ll lose by a landslide than win narrowly this race.”

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