9 things Biden must do to save his campaign during tonight’s high-stakes primetime interview

Politically, this last week has been one of the worst weeks ever for President Joe Biden. His debate performance last Thursday was horrible, but the response from his campaign, allies and the White House somehow made it worse. 

Post debate, the blame has been placed everywhere and anywhere. The president’s closest allies are calling on Biden to prove this was just a single bad performance. Alarmingly, the White House and Biden gave contradictory answers when asked whether Biden saw a doctor after the debate, with the White House press secretary saying he did not, and the Biden claiming just a few hours later that he did.

Now Team Biden is scrambling to provide new opportunities for the president to prove himself.

Is Joe Biden physically up for a vigorous campaign? And if elected, will he be able to do the job? Such questions have been asked over and over these past seven days, and a satisfying answer has not materialized.

Remember, Biden was supposed to put the concerns aside at last week’s debate. Now Team Biden is scrambling to provide new opportunities for the president to prove himself, with more public events and interviews. His first major test will be an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Friday, which will air as a prime-time special.

This high-stakes chat with Stephanopoulos could help ease, but not stop, the calls for him to step down. It could also potentially end his hopes for a second term altogether.

With so much on the line, here are nine things Biden must do during his interview tonight:

  1. He must explain to the American public why he is sitting for this interview. He should admit he wanted to address the concerns about his performance at the debate. And he should not sound overly scripted; he is opening up a dialog.
  2. He must admit he was too focused on making his case to the voters with numbers and data on Thursday, and as a result failed to speak clearly and genuinely in ways the American public can understand.
  3. He must not appear defensive or make excuses, and he must absolutely not mention jet lag or having a cold.
  4. He must speak directly to his health, addressing any ongoing medical treatments he might be receiving, or recent diagnoses. This has been an issue for a long time, and Biden must address these questions head-on.
  5. He must never forget that the camera(s) are on, and he has to appear engaged, interested and vigorous at all times. Even if it means taking a few extra swigs of orange Gatorade and eating a few extra chocolate chip cookies.
  6. He must not overcompensate with machismo. There must be no mentions of the specifics of his exercise routines, or bragging about his golf game, his ability to carry own clubs or how many pushups he can do, even in jest.
  7. He must take a few minutes to give the answers he should have given at the debate. His answer on abortion would be a great start. He needs to show how horrible Donald Trump is on the issue, and why his policies are fundamentally better for America.
  8. He must not overprepare. No one cares if he can recall every data point; people want to know that you have command of the subject matter generally.
  9. He must remember to smile and allow a little of the old charismatic Scranton Joe to shine through — just not too much.