chicago politics

Barack Obama, Brandon Johnson react to President Joe Biden's debate performance

Following the debate, reaction poured in from across the U.S., including from those with Chicago-area ties.

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Former President Barack Obama and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson were among the prominent Democrats who shared their thoughts on President Joe Biden's rough performance during Thursday night's presidential debate.

Joe Biden worked forcefully Friday to quell Democratic anxieties over his unsteady showing in his debate with former President Donald Trump, as elected members of his party closed ranks around him in an effort to shut down talk of replacing him atop the ticket.

Biden’s halting delivery and meandering comments, particularly early in the debate, fueled concerns from even members of his own party that at age 81 he’s not up for the task of leading the country for another four years. 

Following the debate, reaction poured in from across the U.S., including from those with Chicago-area ties.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Obama said, "Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know..."

"But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself," he added. "Between someone who tells the truth; who knows right from wrong and will give it to the American people straight — and someone who lies through his teeth for his own benefit. Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November..."

Johnson, too, vowed to stand with Biden.

"Here's what I know: when you get knocked down, you've got to dust yourself off and get back up again," he said on X, in part. "Take it from a guy who’s beaten a bad poll or two—this President is ready to fight for us every single day!"

Johnson went on to say that "Donald Trump spun lie after lie about his disastrous term," while Biden "laid out his record of achievements and his vision to lead our country forward..."

"The stakes of this election for Chicago and the nation are simply too high for anyone to sit on the sidelines, and I look forward to welcoming Democrats to Chicago for the Democratic National Convention to officially nominate President Biden and Vice President Harris for four more years in the White House..."

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statement on Thursday night, but didn't touch on Biden's performance. The statement can be found below:

"Tonight, voters were presented with a clear choice – a president working hard every day to improve the lives of all Americans or a convicted felon, a selfish blowhard looking out only for himself. The contrast between these two men was clear before the debate – it is even clearer now.

“At every turn, Donald Trump lied, rambled, and misled the American people about what a second Trump term would look like, but voters won’t be fooled. This is a man who brags about ripping reproductive rights away from women, tried to gut healthcare for millions of Americans, shipped jobs overseas, and sold out the middle class to the wealthiest bidders. Trump’s second term will only be worse.

“Americans rejected Donald Trump’s extreme MAGA agenda in 2020 and they’ll do it again in November.”

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