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‘Everyone should just calm down’ about Biden debate performance, pollster says 

Mark Mellman, who runs Democratic Majority for Israel, told JNS that it would be a “terrible idea” to replace the president on the Democratic ticket.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., on June 28, 2024. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., on June 28, 2024. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.

Immediately after the presidential debate concluded on Thursday night, even analysts and journalists on the left referred to a “panic” in the Democratic party following U.S. President Joe Biden’s performance against former President Donald Trump. Many called for Biden to be replaced after the president froze, appeared to look vacantly and struggled to answer many of the questions in a coherent way.

Mark Mellman, president of Democratic Majority for Israel who also runs an eponymous polling firm, told JNS that replacing Biden on the Democratic ticket in November is “a terrible idea.”

“The reality is that the skills that are honored in these debates are about performance,” he told JNS. “Those have nothing to do with the skills one needs as a president to analyze the situation, to make the right decisions, to bring other people along with those decisions.”

Biden “has proven he can do that job every day since he’s been president,” according to Mellman. 

“That’s why he’s been able to accomplish so much and so effectively because he’s made the right decisions, and he’s brought people along,” the Jewish pollster said.

Shortly after the debate ended on Thursday night, Mellman said Biden “made clear he’s the only candidate with character and integrity,” as well as “underscored his commitment to defending America’s values and promised to continue fighting for American women’s reproductive rights.”

“President Biden reiterated that Hamas ‘should be eliminated’ and his unwavering commitment to providing Israel ‘with every weapon it needs and when they need them,’” Mellman added in the statement. “He also made clear that Hamas ‘is the only one who wants the war to continue.’”

Mellman told JNS that Trump was “detached from reality, a serial liar and a fabulist on the level of George Santos.” (Santos, a former Republican congressman from New York, claimed without evidence that he is of Jewish descent.)

“Having somebody who is that dishonest and detached from reality in the White House is a danger to every American and a danger to the world,” Mellman said, of Trump.

Mellman told JNS that voters shouldn’t be concerned about Biden’s age and that being president is not like being part of a debating society.

“It’s like saying, ‘Look at that. He couldn’t play football on a professional football team.’ Well, that’s certainly true, but it’s not relevant,” Mellman said, of Biden.

‘He stands by our ally’

Speaking at a rally in North Carolina on Friday, Biden said: “Folks, I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to. But I know what I do know: I know how to tell the truth.”

Mellman told JNS that Biden is “the strongest pro-Israel president we’ve ever had,” and the president “made it clear that Hamas has to go.”

“He made it clear that he’s supplying all the weapons Israel needs to defend itself and doing so in a timely fashion,” Mellman added. “He made it clear that he stands by our ally.”

JNS asked Mellman if there was anything that he saw during Thursday night’s debate that concerned him about Biden’s ability to do his job for the rest of his term, and potentially for four more years.

“No,” Mellman said. “He’s proven day-in, day-out by his work that he has the skills to be president because he’s done a great job as president.”

“He’s got legislation passed that no one has gotten passed in the past,” Mellman said. “He’s brought the world together to defend Ukraine. He brought countries together to defend Israel when Iran attacked. On every sort of score in doing the job, he’s done a great job.”

Mellman noted that Biden “has a stutter that he’s had since youth” and that “he was not feeling so well.” The political chatter that night reported him grappling with a cold.

“That happens to people, but to me, the evidence that he’s doing the job well is overwhelming. The evidence from the debate stage is not terribly relevant,” he said.

“Everyone should just calm down,” Mellman added, noting that both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama went on to be elected after losing debates.

“There isn’t any correlation between winning debates and winning elections,” he said. “Everyone ought to just calm down and get to work on making sure Biden wins.”

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