Crisis? What Crisis? Biden Rejects Democratic Pessimism

All sounds fine in President Biden’s world. That devastating debate? Just a bad night. Those dismal poll numbers? Simply inaccurate. The gloomy election predictions? The same old doomsayers, wrong again. The Democrats who want him to drop out? No one has told him that.

For Mr. Biden, the crisis seen by so many Democrats who are not on his payroll — and by some who are — is nothing more than another bump in the road, another obstacle to overcome as he always has. He does not agree that he is slipping as he ages. He does not accept that he is losing to former President Donald J. Trump. He does not believe much of his own party wants him to step aside.

His prime-time interview that aired on ABC News on Friday night was an exercise not just in damage control but in reality control. For much of his long and storied political career, Mr. Biden has succeeded through sheer force of will, defying the doubters and the skeptics and the scorners to prove that he could do what no one expected. Yet now, in what may be the most threatened moment of his presidency, that self-confidence leaves him increasingly isolated in his own party.

“You really see a president in denial and in a bubble,” Julián Castro, a former housing secretary who ran against Mr. Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2020, said in an interview. “You want a president who can honestly and accurately assess his viability in this race, and that interview did not give confidence at all that he’s got a good handle on that.”

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama who has long expressed worry about Mr. Biden’s decision to run again, said the president was rightfully proud of his record. “But he is dangerously out-of-touch with the concerns people have about his capacities moving forward and his standing in this race,” he wrote on social media.

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