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Dem lawmakers struggle to deal with fallout of Biden debate performance: ‘Disappointment’

Democrats were forced to grapple with a whirlwind of chaos on Capitol Hill Friday after many were left frustrated by President Biden’s debate performance on Thursday night.

‘I think the emotions of the night were basically disappointment, anger, and then by the end it was panic,’ one House Democrat, granted anonymity to speak freely, told Fox News Digital.

‘Now, with that foundation, where do we go? Obviously, there are conversations that I believe need to be had at all levels, with the realization of, this is not just about the presidency, this is about down-ballot.’

Democratic lawmakers were skittish on Friday morning as groups of reporters fervently chased even normally low-profile members for comment on the debate. Several declined to speak with Fox News Digital about the match-up, even when offered anonymity.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., looking noticeably weary, would not answer a reporter’s question on whether Biden was the most effective messenger for the party. 

He said instead, ‘President Biden is scheduled to speak today around noon, as I understand it, in North Carolina. I’m looking forward to hearing from President Biden. And until he articulates a way forward in terms of his vision for America at this moment, I’m going to reserve comment about anything relative to where we are at this moment, other than to say I stand behind the ticket.’

A second anonymous House Democrat, jaded by the process in general but who did not watch the debate, told Fox News Digital, ‘I’ve been hearing everyone freaking out and s—, but debates in this day and age are stupid. Tell me the last debate you saw where you felt good after and learned something?’

‘I bet you the majority of Americans would not choose these two old guys to be the only choice that they have,’ the Democrat said.

One senior House Democratic aide compared the mood on Capitol Hill to what they imagined Republicans went through after a high-profile gaffe by former President Trump during his administration.

‘Coming into work with absolute dread, knowing everyone is gonna come after you, and knowing you have nothing good to say,’ the aide explained.

Biden appeared tired and unfocused at times during his 90-minute face-off with Trump. At one point, Trump fired back, ‘I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.’

It exacerbated long-simmering concerns that Biden’s mental acuity has lessened in his advanced age, despite his Republican rival being just three years younger.

A longtime Democratic operative said lawmakers who spoke with them were alarmed by how the debate went.

‘What I’m hearing from people is a sense of disappointment, in that this was a moment that we could have capitalized on and that it was missed. This then leads to panicky responses, like, how do we fix it? What do we do? That’s the underlying discussion right now,’ the operative told Fox News Digital.

Even Democrats who spoke on the record reluctantly admitted that Biden’s performance was less than desirable, but they quickly insisted the election was about far more than a single bad performance.

‘The president doesn’t have a great debate night. That’s very clear. But, you know, this is more than just about one debate performance, but the future of America and the existential threat that Donald Trump poses to Americans and to our national security,’ Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., told reporters.

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said, ‘I think he had a terrible night…bad debate.’ Meeks still maintained that Biden ‘is the right man at the right time to do this job.’

Meanwhile, others within the Democratic sphere expressed frustration at fellow left-wingers – particularly media pundits – who were making their concerns about Biden’s debate performance public.

‘For those who are worried, it’s time to do less worrying and get to work,’ Joel Rubin, a Democratic strategist and former Obama administration Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs to the House, told Fox News Digital in a brief interview in response to the anonymously voiced concerns.

‘We’re four-plus months out, and the Democratic Party in moments like this, we tend to be experts at self-criticism, and we’re seeing it on full display today. But to win this election is not going to be based upon just one candidate being anointed by the heavens…it’s going to be about the whole infrastructure of the Democratic and progressive community mobilizing voters.’

Rubin said, ‘I mean, just because the president had a rough night does not mean that he’s not up to the job and that we stay home and stop fighting for him. He’s earned our support. A rough performance on one night doesn’t eviscerate three and a half years of extraordinary accomplishments.’

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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