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Pelosi urges Biden to make a decision on race, even as he insists he will stay

Pelosi urges Biden to make a decision on race, even as he insists he will stay

In an interview Wednesday morning, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) repeatedly urged President Biden to make a decision about remaining in the presidential race, even as the president insisted he should remain at the top of the Democratic ticket.

“It’s up to the president to decide whether he’s going to run. We all encourage him to make that decision because time is running out,” Pelosi said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “… He’s popular, he’s respected and people want him to make that decision.”

Biden has so far insisted he will continue to run for re-election, despite growing concerns within the party about his candidacy following his sluggish performance against Donald Trump in the first debate last month. Since the debate, Biden has held campaign events, given an interview to ABC News, sent a lengthy letter to members of Congress, campaigned in Pennsylvania and agreed to hold a press conference on Thursday in hopes of dispelling doubts about his fitness for a second term.

Biden and his team have also met with key party leaders – including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus – who have strongly supported his candidacy. As of Wednesday morning, only 10 Democratic lawmakers have publicly called on Biden to drop out of the 2024 race.

But Pelosi’s comments during her television appearance on Wednesday suggested that Biden had not yet made a final decision on whether to continue running. Asked if she wanted him to stay in the race, Pelosi said: “I want him to do whatever he decides to do. And that’s the way it is. Whatever he decides, we’re going with it.”

Pelosi also indicated that she had told Democratic lawmakers to refrain from expressing any opinion on Biden’s candidacy until after the NATO summit Biden is hosting in Washington this week.

“Over 30 heads of state are here … that means (Biden) is orchestrating the discussion and setting the agenda, and he’s doing a great job of that,” Pelosi said. “And I’ve said to everybody – let’s just hold back whatever you think, either tell somebody privately, but you don’t have to put that on the table until we see how it goes this week. But I’m very proud of the president.”

Democratic lawmakers remain divided on Biden – and they certainly haven’t kept their opinions of the president secret. Late Tuesday night, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told CNN that Trump was on track to “win overwhelmingly and take the Senate and House with him” if Biden stayed in the race.

“For me, this is not a question of polls; it is not a question of politics. It is a moral question about the future of our country,” Bennet said. “It is critical that we confront what is ahead if we are to collectively put this country on the path to re-elect Donald Trump.”

Asked to respond to Bennet’s comments, Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said: “No one is more determined to defeat Donald Trump and defend our democracy than Joe Biden, and few know better than Joe Biden the importance of showing up and campaigning to win voter support. It was clear from the start that it was going to be a close race.”

CNN political commentator Kate Bedingfield, who previously served as communications director for Biden’s 2020 campaign and in the White House, said Wednesday that voters want to see data that supports the belief that Biden can win in November.

“I know firsthand better than almost anyone how smart the Biden team is with data and how good they are at ignoring the noise. You’re right that this is about convincing voters, not experts,” Bedingfield wrote on X. “But when the battle over the public data is so overwhelmingly negative, it’s a good time to put forward your theory of the case. If they have data that supports the path to victory they see, they should release it now and help the people who desperately want to beat Trump rally behind them. People want to see the path.”

Maeve Reston contributed to this report.