California Democrat says Biden campaign 'arrogant' after debate

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Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) says the Biden campaign has been “arrogant” since a shaky debate performance by the president last week.

“As much as I love Joe Biden, in those swing states, he’s having a hard time,” Peters said Wednesday in an interview with CBS 8 San Diego. “We needed a boost from Thursday. We didn’t get it. And the campaign has been very, I think, arrogant in their response.”

Biden’s first debate performance raised alarms among some Democrats and supporters, with the president struggling to string ideas together or rebut former President Trump’s many false statements. That’s created increasing chatter about whether Biden should end his presidential campaign and let a different Democrat take on Trump.

Peters didn’t go as far as to say he wants Biden off the ticket — as three other House Democrats already have — but said it’s an option that should be left open.

“We want to know what [the Biden campaign’s] plan is to win this election and turn these numbers around,” he said. “If they don’t have a plan, then I think we have to move in a different direction.”

Recent polls have shown Biden trailing Trump in most swing states. A June poll before the debate found Trump up 4 points over Biden in Arizona and Georgia, 3 points up in Wisconsin and Nevada, and 2 points up in Pennsylvania. In Michigan, Trump led by 1 point, and the pair were dead even in Minnesota.

A Wednesday poll from The New York Times, taken after the debate, found Trump had increased his lead nationally to 6 points.

The Biden campaign has strongly fought off any idea that Biden will leave the race. The president himself admitted in a radio interview Thursday that he “screwed up” in the debate, but reiterated that he will continue to run.

“I had a bad night,” he told the Wisconsin station. “I screwed up. I made a mistake. But I learned from my father, when you get knocked down, just get back up. And you know, we’re gonna win this election. We’re gonna just beat Donald Trump as much as we did in 2020.”

Still, Peters says Biden needs to come up with a plan to compete in the swing states.

“The point is to win the election. It’s those seven to 10 states that this is going to be decided in, and Joe Biden’s trailing,” he said. “We need a plan to win those states. And if Joe Biden’s got that plan, I want to hear about it. ASAP.”

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