White House doubles down on Biden run even as more Dems look elsewhere – National & International News – WED 3Jul2024


White House doubles down on Biden run even as more Dems look elsewhere.

Reporter who helped expose MS welfare scandal may be jailed for refusing to reveal sources.



White House doubles down on Biden run even as more Dems look elsewhere

In a statement at a fundraiser yesterday, President Biden attempted to allay donors’ worries about his poor debate performance last week. However, it’s unlikely that his explanations did much to convince anyone harboring doubts that he’s up to serving another four years as President. Biden blamed his stumbling and at times barely coherent performance on jet lag, citing two recent trips to Europe. He returned from his latest trip, the G7 conference in Italy, on July 14 nearly two weeks before the night of the debate. He spent the week before the debate at the Camp David retreat with his family and aides who prepared him for the debate. Biden also said that he “almost fell asleep” during the debate. 

The White House has scheduled some sit-down interviews for Biden over the next few weeks, including an extended interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos on Friday. The campaign is hoping that these and other public events (where Biden will rely on a teleprompter) will rehabilitate his image. 

A New York Times report out today cited a source who said that Biden had privately acknowledged that he had to act fast to salvage his campaign. The Times quoted the sources as saying “[Biden] knows if he has two more events like that, we’re in a different place”. The White House quickly came out to deny the report or any suggestion Biden was considering bowing out of the race. However, ABC News came out hours later with a similar report, suggesting Biden is privately keeping an “open mind” about his future.

Harris seems favorited to replace Biden

Despite the defiant tone from the White House, more and more prominent Democrats are coming out signaling it’s time to consider an alternative. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was the first sitting Democratic member of Congress to explicitly call for Biden to step aside. Shortly before that, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) stated he was open to replacing Biden, but that it must be Biden’s decision. “We have to be honest with ourselves that it wasn’t just a horrible night,” Quigley said referring to the debate.

While names of popular Democratic governors like Gavin Newsome (CA), Gretchen Whitmer (MI) and J. B. Pritzker (IL) have been floated for months, the consensus is currently appears to be coalescing around Vice President Kamala Harris as a potential replacement. Harris did not perform particularly well as a candidate during the 2020 primaries and her approval ratings as VP have been lackluster. However, campaign finance rules in the Democratic Party would make it difficult to transfer the Biden-Harris campaign war chest (totaling hundreds of millions of dollars) to anyone who is not already on the ticket.

Several Democrats have said they would support her as the nominee if Biden steps down. Most notably, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), whose support in 2020 helped Biden clinch the nomination, said that he would support Harris and that the party should not try to “work around” her to appoint someone else. 

Reporter who helped expose Mississippi welfare scandal may be jailed

Anna Wolfe, the Mississippi Today journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the $77 million Mississippi welfare scandal, may soon be facing jail for her reporting. Former Gov. Phil Bryant, who has been heavily implicated in Wolfe’s reporting, has sued Wolfe and Mississippi Today for defamation.

The judge in the case has ordered Wolfe and Mississippi Today editor Adam Ganucheau to turn over documents Wolfe sourced in her reporting as well as the names of confidential sources. Failure to comply could result in a jail sentence. The paper is currently appealing to the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn the judge’s order. If the state’s highest court refuses to throw out the order, the paper may take the case to federal court.

Wolfe and Ganucheau told NBC News they were willing to go to jail to protect their sources, a duty which is considered sacred in journalism. “If one of us goes to jail,” Wolfe said, “we will be the first person to go to jail in the Mississippi welfare scandal”. 

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