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Erin Burnett Outfront

NYT Editorial Board: "Biden Should Leave The Race"; Who Could Replace Biden?; Backfire On Trump?. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Breaking news, President Biden should leave the race. That's the headline from "The New York Times" editorial board tonight. This as Biden appears like a different man today than the one millions saw on the debate stage last night.

Plus, what happens if Biden is not the nominee? How do Democrats replace him? And who would it be? A special report tonight.

And Trump already trying to seize on the Supreme Court ruling on January 6 rioters, but could backfire on him?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news: "The New York Times" editorial board, which endorsed Biden over Trump in 2020, just moments ago, calling for President Biden to drop out. Here's the headline: To serve his country, President Biden should leave the race. They go on to say: Voters cannot be expected to ignore what was instead plain to see. Mr. Biden is not the man he was four years ago.

It comes as President Biden's campaign is in crisis. The president desperately trying to reassure voters today after a disastrous debate, performance last night.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know I'm not a young man, to state the obvious. Well, I know.

Well --



Folks, I don't walk as easy as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't do debate as well as I used to.

Well, I know what I do know -- I know how to tell the truth. (CHEERS)


BURNETT: That was Biden just today, hours ago, looking and sounding like a different man than the one millions of Americans saw on the stage last night.


BIDEN: Making sure that we're able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with -- the COVID, excuse me, with -- dealing with everything we have to do with -- look -- if -- we finally beat Medicare.


BOLDUAN: And Trump seizing on every moment, trying to ensure voters don't forget what happened.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Despite the fact that crooked Joe Biden spent the entire week at Camp David resting, working, studying, he studied very hard. He studied so hard that he didn't know what the hell he was doing.


BURNETT: Even some of Biden's closest allies, closest allies, are admitting it did not go well last night for him.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president said himself it was not as best performance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he had a rough time.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): It was a poor performance.


BURNETT: But they, like the Democratic governors OUTFRONT spoke to, are standing by the president.

In a statement to OUTFRONT, Colorado's Governor Jared Polis said: Last night was not a good night, but also said, I hope that President Biden delivers his optimistic message about his vision for our future better throughout the campaign.

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, quote, President Biden had a rough debate performance, but as he so eloquently put it this morning, our other choice is a one-man crime wave.

And Kansas Governor Laura Kelly telling OUTFRONT: He is a decent man of strong character. I will support him in November.

But the question of whether there should be a new nominee still looms large tonight, and some Democrats are not giving their full-throated support.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You think there should be a new candidate?

REPORTER: Are you committed to President Biden?



BOLDUAN: Kayla Tausche OUTFRONT in Raleigh, North Carolina.

That is where we saw President Biden rallying with supporters earlier.

Kayla, you've been talking to your sources all day. What is happening inside the Biden campaign right now?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, President Biden hit back harder on President Trump today in front of a few hundred voters in North Carolina than he did last time on the debate in front of 50 million people.


But that's because he knew he had one job today and that was to reassure the party that he was fit for a second term.


TAUSCHE (voice-over): Day after, defiance. An energized President Biden out to reassure Democrats did he's up to the task.

BIDEN: I would not be running again if I didn't believe with all my heart and soul I can do this job, because quite frankly -- the stakes are too high.

TAUSCHE: Biden's performance at Thursday's debate, stumbling from the outset.

BIDEN: Making sure that were able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with the -- with the COVID excuse me, with -- dealing with everything we have to do with -- look -- if -- we finally beat Medicare.

TAUSCHE: Leading to a panic across the party.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That was not what we needed from Joe Biden and it's personally painful.

TAUSCHE: Inside the White House staffers reeled. Their group chats described as a abysmal and ugly, with one saying, everyone's deflated. Another calling it "RBG all over again".

Sources tell CNN frustration is mounting toward Biden's powerful inner circle, who keep an iron grip on details and decisions for the president. But the Biden campaign is unbowed, pledging to stay the course and debate in September.

An advisor telling CNN: There's no basis to back out, pointing to some high moments for their candidate.

BIDEN: If I'm elected, I'm going to restore Roe v. Wade.

The only person in this stage who's a convicted felon is the man I'm looking at right now.

TAUSCHE: And some low points for the opponent.

TRUMP: I didn't have sex with a porn star, number one. On January 6, we were respected all over the world.

TAUSCHE: In North Carolina, a purple state that the Biden team is trying to turn blue, leaders say the alternative is still worse.

GOV. ROY COOPER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: We know that Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy and our nation, and we have to stop him.


TAUSCHE (on camera): The majority of likely voters in this race has already made up their mind that Biden campaigns co-chair has acknowledged that this race is going to be fought by a small share of undecided voters in just six key battleground states, Kate, and the question tonight is how those undecided voters respond.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, what did they see last night? What did they see today? And how do they feel going forward?

Kayla, great reporting throughout. Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT with us now, the Democratic governor of Maryland, Wes Moore.

Governor, thank you so much for coming in.

Why didn't voters see the President Biden that took the stage today in Raleigh, North Carolina, on that debate stage last night?

GOV. WES MOORE (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think no one can argue, and the president even said it himself, he didn't have a great night last night. But the thing that we also know is that no one can argue that Donald Trump had had a great -- a great presidency. You know, that during his presidency, we saw the kind of chaos and frankly mistruths that we continue to see from Donald Trump last night.

And so, I think that -- you know, I know that a lot of the conversation is about the president's performance last night. Frankly, I'm just -- I'm not as interested in debate performances. I'm more invested in presidential performances. And I think their performance that this president has shown over the past four years, his ability to work in partnership with our states, his ability to create new jobs, new opportunities, 15 million new jobs across the entire country.

Think about here in the state of Maryland, driving -- helping to drive as to the lowest unemployment rates in recorded history. These kind of results matter. And so I'm happy that the president is continuing to push on his fight and he needs to know that we're all here to push on with him.

BOLDUAN: But isn't it more than just a debate performance? Because isn't it being able to deliver in critical moments? It's -- the performance of a presidency is also -- the performance of a presidency, these are in some way, Governor, one of the same. If you can't deliver on the stage, how do you give people the confidence you can deliver on the White House?

MOORE: I know the president delivers when it matters, and I've seen him deliver in times of trial. I know after the Key Bridge collapsed and one of the deadliest and most traumatic incidences in our states history, where we had tens of thousands of people who lost jobs overnight where we had six souls that were lost inside of our state and where something that represents 13 percent of our economy was shut down.

I know the first phone call that I got from the White House that morning. It was at 3:30 in the morning. Because and it was the White House telling me, Gov, we're going to be with you every single step of the way. And this president and vice presidents, and this White House has been with us every single step of the way.

And when people told us that it could take up to 11 months to get a federal channel cleared, by working together, we got it cleared in 11 weeks.


This president delivers and I think people know when they see it in their own lives, in the way that they have a government that is not only responsive, but in a government that knows how to get big things done. And I think that's what's going to matter to voters come November when its actually time for them to vote.

BOLDUAN: Governor, do you see any point at which you would support replacing Biden on the ticket?

MOORE: I'm supporting President Biden today. I'm supporting President Biden tomorrow. I'm going to support President Biden through November because I know that right now, we have a situation where this is binary choice for this country to make. And I really want every voter to take time with this, to really think about what we saw last night, because the president, even said it himself. He did not have a great performance last night.

Do you know who said he did have a great performance? Donald Trump. And people should take a look at Donald Trump's performance last night. When you hear someone say things like how the Democrats are talking about taking babies after they're born. And murdering them.

To the president to Donald Trump, I would say that's murder and its actually legal in all 50 states. For Donald Trump to say that immigrants are coming over the country. Millions of immigrants are being let out of jails and coming over this country, it's just factually incorrect. And that immigrants are coming to this country to, quote/unquote, take Black jobs.

I want everybody to pause and hear what they just heard from Donald Trump and know that this choice in November, this is going to be Donald Trump versus someone who genuinely cares and is devoted his life to public service, as in Joe Biden.

For me, the choice is very clear. I'm going to campaign for the presidents. I'm going to advocate for the president and I'm urging every single American to do the exact same thing.

BOLDUAN: The problem is President Biden did not do what you just did so eloquently in less than a minute on the debate stage last night. And that's why you see people like former HUD secretary under Obama, Julian Castro, he tweeted this, he tweeted: Biden had a very low bar going into the debate and failed to clear even that bar. He seemed unprepared, lost, not strong enough to parry effectively with Trump, who lies constantly.

Do you think Biden should debate again?

MOORE: I think -- I think about what happened the day after the debate, where just this morning where the president announced that was working with Congress to ensure that we can get 100 percent cost shares, so we can get the rebuilding of the Key Bridge done. You know, the president woke up this morning and got to work because that's what he's been doing his entire time. That's what he's been doing for his entire life, got to work for the American people.

And so I respect what Secretary Castro says. I also know this, is that my selection for president is not going to be based on something performative. My selection for president is going to be based on performance. And the president has shown remarkable performance throughout his time as president and his vision for the next four years is one that I believe in and is one that I will advocate for.

I think about what's happened in the past 18 months in Maryland, a magic if you can give us another four years, that's why I'm supporting the president.

BOLDUAN: Candidly, did he make the case harder though, for all of you to continue saying that after last night?

MOORE: I think the president has been making the case for his reelection over the past four years, and that's why I continue to support him. I think his case is made.

BOLDUAN: Governor, thank you so much for coming in, Governor Wes Moore of Maryland.

MOORE: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, international reaction to the debate coming in fast and furious, quote, hard to watch. And Trump ate Biden alive. Another diplomat saying, I could not believe my eyes.

Plus, a Republican speaking out to tell Democrats, a Republican to tell Democrats who are panicking over Biden to calm down. He's our guest.

And the Supreme Court sides with some of the January 6 rioters. So what does this mean now for Jack Smith's case against Donald Trump? We've got that for you.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, shell-shocked, a car crash, Trump ate him alive. That is what some foreign diplomats are telling CNN in reaction to President Biden's poor debate performance.

And like some Democrats in the U.S. one diplomat saying, quote, if they can change the horse, they should.

OUTFRONT now, David Axelrod is here with me.

First and foremost, David, let me ask -- can I ask you about "The New York Times" ed board that came out?


BOLDUAN: How much -- how much does -- does this hurt him outside and personally do think?

AXELROD: You know, I don't know that it hurts him with voters. I think where it hurts him is with elites and it hurts him with donors and it hurts him with the chattering class. You know, it's unhelpful for sure.

And I'm sure, you know, I think probably for him, Tom Friedman's column this morning was an even bigger blow because they've had a relationship for a long time around foreign policy and so on, and that was a deeply personal appeal to him.

I don't think it's going to change his thinking, but I think it's wounding.

BOLDUAN: I was really waiting with bated breath after the debate last night to hear your thoughts. And during the debate, from the beginning to the post, there is palpable concern among Democrats that ranged from worry to, like five alarm fire panic status.

Do you sense that that has calmed today?

AXELROD: No, you know, certainly, from the moment -- moments last night, I think the first ten minutes of that debate were shocking to a lot of people. The tenor of his voice, the sort of discombobulated answers, and so on --



AXELROD: -- so it was like a sort of the worst nightmare scenario because people were looking to this debate much like the State of the Union as a reset, where he could reassure people that he was not that he -- that he had it together and that he was up to the task.

And they asked for this debate.


AXELROD: It wasn't as if they got trapped into it. They wanted the debate for that very purpose and it clearly wasn't that.

BOLDUAN: Can you reality check me on the conversation now about -- you know, he says he's not getting out of our -- he says he's not going to bow out? When you -- when you, when you're assessing risk and the time that is left, what is less risky -- is one less risky than the other if Democrats want to not allow Donald Trump to get into the White House?

AXELROD: You're talking about uncharted waters. Of course, everything about this race is uncharted waters, but you're talking about uncharted waters here. It sounds in theory three, like a great idea to replace him, and it may be less risky but there's considerable risk associated with it.

First, you have no primary. So how do you choose a candidate in a -- in a party that has a lot of diverse voices and a lot of ambitious people. How do you choose a candidate?

Secondly, primaries are how we vet people. You learn a lot about people during these primary campaigns. I mean, look at Governor DeSantis, who was heralded as --

BOLDUAN: Great example.

AXELROD: -- as a huge figure in the Republican Party, the next nominee, and he faltered under the pressures of a campaign. Campaigns are important. And so, you're throwing someone into the maelstrom of a national campaign without any experience or preparation for what is unlike any other pressure, there is in politics.

So I think that is a -- you know, there is great risk associated with that. The fact that it's being talked about though reflects the amount of concern there is.

BOLDUAN: That's what I ask you. The -- this -- it's this conflict contrast juxtaposition. We had the governor of Maryland on, Wes Moore. He is -- he is with Joe Biden. He is supporting Joe Biden.

Out -- the team on OUTFRONT, they also got statements from the governors of Washington, Kansas, Colorado, all saying last night is not good, but he is our guy.

How in line or out of line do you think that the conversation is publicly and privately when you're talking about the big names like this right now?

AXELROD: Well, I don't -- I can't speak for those people who haven't spoken to those people. Look, I think there's a lot of concern -- private concern about it, but I think there's also are resolved to try and be supportive of the president and see how this thing plays out.

BOLDUAN: How much time does that allow? If that --


AXELROD: Well, I mean, you know, we're only four months from an election. So, that --

BOLDUAN: And we're less 24 hours from the debate. But --

AXELROD: Yeah. Well, and also, you know, there's a convention in late August, but they're actually meeting virtually on August 7 to nominate the candidates because Ohio demands that they nominate the candidates before the convention. So that -- there's very little time really to execute something of that magnitude.

BOLDUAN: I mean, on chartered territory.


BOLDUAN: It's great to see you.

AXELROD: Nice to see you, too.

BOLDUAN: It really is. Thank you so much.

All right. OUTFRONT with us also, right now, Jamal Simmons and Shermichael Singleton to talk more about this.

Okay. So we have -- for all the panic, Jamal, among Democrats in Washington, that crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, with -- I mean, they were there to buoy Joe Biden.


BOLDUAN: The cheers, the chants, they were going wild for him. Let's play this for everyone.


BIDEN: We will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again.

Are we going to let Donald Trump attack our democracy again?


BIDEN: I don't think so. I know like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back up.



BOLDUAN: I'm going to play something out, maybe the no ones playing out, and maybe I'm a crazy person. But is there a universal possibility that the disaster that was last night rallies Democrats to try to prop them up and helps some way?

SIMMONS: Listen, there is a great desire to get rid of Donald Trump. Democrats do not like MAGA, and we have seen this in elections in 2018 and 2020, and 2022, people really don't like Trump and the MAGA forces. They think what they're trying to do is take freedom and democracy away from the rest of us and the country.

And as no crowd advanced guy, you can build a great crowd --


BOLDUAN: They did a good job today.

SIMMONS: Yeah, that will buoy the president. So I'm glad that he had that moment and I think he did a good job and it's part of the path.

If he is going to say on the ballot, he is going to be our nominee, is part of the path that starts to say like, okay, he is somebody who can do this job, and we can have confidence in him and he can do it.


Maybe he should also do a town hall meeting where he's interacting with voters in an unscripted way.

But I think its incumbent upon the White House.

BOLDUAN: But does he hit it out of the park?

SIMMONS: Yeah, it's incumbent on the White House and the president to prove this to the voters. It's not incumbent on the party or the voters to accommodate the White House. I think that's the fundamental part. Part that we have to make sure they understand.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, Kate, the president had one objective and that debate last night. And that was a showcase vitality that he could continue to do the job for another four years. He miserably failed.

That speech today was incredible. I thought there are a lot of great moments, but its one thing to read a prepared script from someone from teleprompter. It's another thing to be at a debate against an opponent for 90 minutes, having to think with zero notes on your feet, in an extemporaneous manner, in a nuanced matter.

And what we saw, the 51.3 million viewers who tuned into our network yesterday, they saw someone that I'm almost certain most of them believe this person cannot continue to do the job.

I watched that and take part of some politics and set that to the side, Kate, I felt sad for the president, regardless of what you think about Joe Biden, I think he's an honorable man. I think he's a man of great dignity, despite the political differences.

And I couldn't help me the thing wow, I remember when I was younger in college, this was Barack Obama's vice president, the first Black president, I was proud of Barack Obama. And to see him age and to see that he is not the same person. I couldn't stop what contemplate, maybe it is time for the president to wrap this up.

BOLDUAN: So, speaking of --

SIMMONS: One moment of pause, there was a point where in the last midterm election, where John Fetterman had a stroke and every one of the Democratic party wondered whether or not we should not have --


BOLDUAN: And Fetterman came -- was the one the first people to come to his defense today.

SIMMONS: That's right. On the ballot in the Senate in Pennsylvania.

And voters, even though Fetterman didn't do very well, his debate and, you know, he wasn't as functional as he is today, voters still voted for him because of the politics of the moment. So it doesn't mean that the campaign is lost but again, it is incumbent upon the president and the White House to make the case and the voters, its not the voters were supposed to accommodate.

BOLDUAN: You're talking about being the fantastic advanced man that you are.

Democrats --

SIMMONS: Used to be.

BOLDUAN: Democrats are -- you know, there is some griping, complaining, whatever, word you want to use not, not just about preparation, but that Biden's inner circle, its proving once again to be two closed off and are not -- they're telling him what he wants to hear, not what he needs to hear.

At the same time, there's also sources who always say that, like Joe Biden is tunes out criticism from his party because he thinks Democrats are just used to panicking and he'd seen the bedwetting for years and years and years.

Do you think there should be some change in structure and people around him in order to avoid what happened last night to happen again?

SIMMONS: I think every president has a cadre of people around them who they listened to, and everyone who's outside of that circle feels like they're not being listened to enough. That is the nature of the presidency. And if you decide you want to run and lead the free world, it takes the pretty big amount of ego to decide that you are the person that ought to do that.

So I give them a little bit of space to do that. But on the other hand, it is also true that truth to your face is better than behind your back, right?


SIMMONS: You want people to say what they think and for you to be able to listen to it. You've got a reward that in your people, if the people around him are not giving him the best advice all the time, then they are not doing their job. And I've worked for a vice president, I've worked for presidential candidates. It is your job to sometimes be unpopular with your boss.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, Shermichael -- Doug Burgum, top candidate to be Trump VP, he came out today to say that Biden should remain as the Democratic nominee. What is the mind game at play here with that? Does that tell you that they really are fearful of who could come in his place if he would not be?

SINGLETON: I would say is less about fear and more about the fact that Republicans realized that they can beat Joe Biden. I think everyone that I've talked to in Trump's inner circle as they are confident. They're excited about November.

Even Republicans who were somewhat trepidatious about -- about Donald Trump are saying, you know what, let's rally behind this guy. Not only are we going to win the White House, we're going to win the Senate. And maybe well even expand in the House. People are excited about what's to come.

BOLDUAN: Let's see what comes tomorrow after what just happened. It's great to see you guys. Thank you so much for staying up late and a long day.

SIMMONS: It's possible that we know nothing everything around here changes. So --

BOLDUAN: I'm going to put that as a sure bet.


BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Joe Biden says, he's not going anywhere. But if he were to bow out, when would the party select a new nominee? And would it be Kamala Harris?

It could be a must-win state for both Biden and Trumps. So what do undecided voters think about last night's debate?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like I would have lost less brain cells watching "Love Island".




BOLDUAN: Breaking news, Donald Trump, predicting Democrats will stick with Joe Biden as their 2024 presidential nominee.


TRUMP: Many people are saying that after last nights performance that Joe Biden is leaving the race. But the fact is, I don't really believe that because he does better in polls than any of the Democrats they're talking about.


BOLDUAN: But those comments are coming just hours after that widely panned debate for Biden. As we've discussed, its created widespread panic among Democrats, which is forcing Democrats to start -- well, one, playing clean up and also begin asking what really are the options to replace Biden now? Something that may be hard but not impossible to do.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


BIDEN: When you get knocked down, you get back out.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden tried to tamp down concerns during his speech in North Carolina today, after his dismal debate performance last night, so disappointing some members of his own party founded hard to spin their way out of it.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Did Joe Biden have a bad night in my opinion? Yes, he absolutely did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had a bad debate, and we move on.


CARROLL: Biden made it clear he is not dropping out of the race. But post-debate, there are questions about whether he should and what would happen if he did.


TIM NAFTALI, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Messy, chaotic, will there be debates?

CARROLL: If Biden were to bow out, it would be unprecedented in modern times. The simple version of what could happen is this -- if it did happen, the upcoming Democratic National Convention, which begins August 19th, is where their party could select a new nominee.

NAFTALI: There will be enormous pressure on the DNC to make it Kamala Harris to just say, well, she's the number two. If the number one can't do it, the number two should do it.

CARROLL: Despite that potential political pressure, the vice president does not automatically become the new nominee. Individual delegates, and there are more than 4,000 of them would be the ones tasked with selecting a new nominee by a majority vote on the convention floor, based on whichever candidates decide to run.

Already, in Democratic political circles, notables such as Governors Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer or Michigan, and JB Pritzker of Illinois, had been floated, whoever those candidates may be, they would have to win over those delegates one-by-one.

LARRY SABATO, FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Would give speeches to the convention, speeches to individual delegations and that would go on for a week, maybe more. The delegates would have to choose and they would have to keep voting until somebody got a majority.

CARROLL: And sources telling CNN at the moment, Democratic leaders are not planning a direct intervention to pressure Biden to step down.


CARROLL (on camera): And again this is all hypothetical, but there's also a scenario where Biden could be replaced even after the DNC. In that case, the Democratic National Convention party chair would then call the national committee into session and then they would take a vote. But the bottom line is, there's just really no easy solution no matter how you look at all of this.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly what I'm taking from, your great explanation, like this is not easy and doesn't get easier, especially as time ticks on.

CARROLL: And no one knows that more than the Democrats.

BOLDUAN: That's a great point. It's great to see you. Thank you so much. Great reporting.

OUTFRONT with us now, Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California. He's a top member of the national advisory board for the Biden-Harris campaign.

Congressman, thank you for coming in.

Jason Carroll just laid out what could happen and "The New York Times" just urge President Biden to step aside in a new editorial and said that it's up to you and other Democrats to tell him the truth.

Are you at all open to considering a nominee other than Joe Biden?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): No. And, look, Joe Biden won the votes. And this country, we don't have journalists or members of Congress pick the nominee. We have people run for the primary. He did that, in New Hampshire and South Carolina and Super Tuesday, he has the delegates. This is his decision and he was very clear today. He said, when you get knocked down, you come back, you show resilience.

He has made it very clear that he's running and at this point, the Democratic Party should focus on the economy, how we are for the working class, building manufacturing jobs, Donald Trump wants tax breaks for the very wealthy, drive that message, he can win.

BOLDUAN: The problem is, is that is exactly what I heard you say you wanted him to drive that same message on to the debate stage last night, and it didn't happen, Congressman. I mean, even if you are not open to what is being discussed, "Politico" is reporting the movement to convince Biden to not run is real.

Is that what you're hearing?

KHANNA: You have a person who was elected to the United States Senate, who was elected, who was run for president three times, was elected vice president twice, who was elected president of the United States? I don't think he's going to listen to a number of people who've been selected the Congress with 200,000 votes when he's had millions of votes.

The only person he may listen to is Barack Obama, who today came out and said, we need to rally around Joe Biden because Barack Obama has run for president. I think he'd respect his judgment, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who's been at his side.

So I think the rest is just speculation and I rather than the Democrats focus on helping the president drive the economic contrast. I mean, we're the party that's pro-abortion rights. Donald Trump wants to ban it. We're the party that wants to provide childcare and affordable housing. Donald Trump wants to help his rich friends. That's what we all need to be focused on.

BOLDUAN: And you are laser-focused on that.

We've heard that -- we've heard no one in President Biden's inner circle is going to step -- is going to -- is going to be telling him to step down. As you said, maybe the only person he has a conversation with his wife, he is often insisted, Congressman, that he does not believe the polls. I want to play for you what he actually told Erin during their exclusive interview about that.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: With less than six months to go to election day, are you worried that you're running out of time to turn that around?


BIDEN: We've already turned it around. Look, look at the Michigan survey. For 65 percent, American people think they're in good shape economically. They think their nation's not in good shape, but they're personally in good shape. The polling data has been wrong all along.


BOLDUAN: To your point, he's talking about the economic data and pushing -- talking about the economy, but he's saying the polling is wrong. In a few days, there's going to be pulling out and it's going to be factoring in the impact of the debate.

If his numbers are worse, what do you do then?

KHANNA: Look, I believe in polling, but polling is a snapshot in time, and the president has acknowledged that he had a bad night. He's talking about making a comeback, but these races are marathons and this president knows that.

In politics, you have success and you have failure. But what matters is resilience. What matters is not quitting.

And if this president shows heart, if he shows why he's still in this race, and then we can drive our message and help him drive that message, we can defeat Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, good to have you on. Thank you for too much.

KHANNA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: I want to turn now -- I want to turn now to Stuart Stevens. He was a top strategist for Mitt Romney, of course, you remember in 20 -- for his 2012 presidential campaign.

It's good to see you.

You're the Republican here telling those Democrats out there that are freaking out to actually calm down. Tell me why.

STUART STEVENS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think that campaign, you always ask yourself, would you rather be my guy, or the other guy? I'd rather be Joe Biden in this race. I mean, there's a certain kind of craziness that's going on here.

A guy who is a convicted felon who has been found liable of sexual assault, or the judge called rape, who is up there saying that America is a third world country, and then they're calling for him to get out of the race? I mean, it just shows how Trump has succeeded in sort of moving the standards here.

But I don't think that most Americans look across the country and see the same country that Donald Trump was describing last night. This hellscape of violence like a Mad Max movie and we should be ashamed of our country. I think that's just completely out of touch with where the American people are.

BOLDUAN: You have seen post-debate panic up close. You are on the other side of it in 2012 when Obama loss the first debate to your candidate Mitt Romney. Bill Clinton also faced similar criticism in '92. This is a different political time though. Is this something


STEVENS: Look, I think the only thing that's different is the stakes of the race and the degree of the contrast. You know, when Romney lost to Obama, we went to bed that night. We are disappointed. We are tired, but we didn't fear for the future of the country. You could go in a different direction. That's how it's supposed to work.

That's not true now. You have a guy who is an existential threat to democracy. And for all those people out there that say that you can't put democracy on the ballot. They've been proven wrong.

You look in the latest Marist poll of the Biden voters, 50 percent consider serving democracy their number one issue.

So I -- listen, I think that it's June, this is not even in the first quarter of these races. There's not six people in America. They can tell you what to lead story in the news was last Wednesday. That's just how it is.

What you have to do in these things. You can't talk your way out of it. You just have to fight your way out of it. And that's what Joe Biden started to do today.

I think that he's going to win this race. I think he's going to win it comfortably. I don't think that Trump is really offering people any sort of vision.

I think he missed a tremendous opportunity last night -- we're talking about the missed opportunities of Biden, but Trump could have come forward and said something to reassure people on abortion, some kind of economic plan. Instead, he didn't.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Stuart. Thanks for coming in.

STEVENS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT for us next, we're going to take you to a pivotal battleground state where Joe Biden was today. Voters now reacting to what they heard last night.


TRUMP: Twenty million people, they're taking Black jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a financial advisor, is that a Black job.


BOLDUAN: Plus, the Supreme Court saving one of its biggest decisions that is a ruling on Trump's immunity claim for last. What could that tell you?



BOLDUAN: Tonight, Jill Biden, coming out swinging during the first post debate rally in North Carolina for President Biden, wearing a dress with a very clear message. She wants you to vote.


JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: What you saw last night on the debate stage was Joe Biden, a president with integrity and character, who told that truth. And Trump told lie after lie after lie.


BOLDUAN: What are the voters saying today?

Diane Gallagher is OUTFRONT.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among the millions of people tuning into CNN's debate Thursday night, voters here in North Carolina, a critical battleground state considered key by both campaigns, the morning after were back at Sip City Market and Bottle Shop in Charlotte with nine North Carolina voters who have plenty to say about what happened in Atlanta.





JOHN SHARKEY, IT PROFESSIONAL, DEMOCRAT: I saw a tired president and I think he needed a Snicker and a Mountain Dew.

JENN PARK, FORMER REPUBLICAN, CURRENT DEMOCRAT: I feel like I would have lost less brain cells watching "Love Island".

DAVID MERRILL, TECHNOLOGY SALES, REPUBLICAN: I think it's a sad day when were at that level on politics.

GALLAGHER: President Joe Biden's performance, a top concern for Democrats.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looked fragile. He froze up at moments, was having trouble with his words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Trump, he was coherently lying. And with Biden, he was incoherently telling the truth.

GALLAGHER: And orally meandering moment from Biden --

BIDEN: With the COVID -- excuse me, with -- dealing with everything we have to do with -- look, if -- we finally beat Medicare.

GALLAGHER: Making even his biggest fans cringe.

SHARKEY: I heard it and I said, oh, but then I said, I know what he was trying to say.

GALLAGHER: Another line from former President Donald Trump on a question about immigration, drawing criticism from some of our voters.

TRUMP: They're taking Black jobs and they're taking Hispanic jobs. And you haven't seen it yet, but you're going to see something that's going to be the worst in our history.

S.Y. MASON-WATSON, CONSULTANT, DEMOCRAT: First of all, he doesn't know squat about how Black people are employed and work in this country.

JERELL CUEVAS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR, DEMOCRAT: What are Black jobs? I'm a financial advisor. Is that a Black job?

GALLAGHER: And this exchange between the candidates over the war in Gaza upset others.

TRUMP: He's become like a Palestinian but they don't like him because he's a very bad Palestinian.

LAILA EL-ALI, HEALTHCARE WORKER, UNAFFILIATED VOTER: And the only thing that I heard was a U.S. president just turned Palestinian into a slur.

GALLAGHER: This Republicans says that Trump didn't do enough to address his felony convictions to earn his vote.

DEREK PARTEE, FORMER COUNTY COMMISSIONER, REPUBLICAN: I don't know who I'm going to vote for when it comes November.

GALLAGHER: And while other Republicans didn't exactly give their candidate glowing review. They did feel he outperformed his opponent.

MERRILL: He should have done a better job in disavowing what happened on January 6, but I think he did a great job talking about the abortion issue.

GALLAGHER: A topic that other voters, which the candidates had spent more time discussing.

PARK: I thought abortion was a top three at least, and it would have been more than one or two questions worth of attention.

GALLAGHER: And while Democrats were split --

SHARKEY: Don't panic. It was just one performance. It was late at night. BRYAN LI, RESTAURANT OWNER, DEMOCRAT: I would like to think if you

replace him with just someone younger with all the same talking points and people would feel very differently.

GALLAGHER: The debate did not change or make up the minds of these voters.

MASON-WATSON: It does not affect what I plan to do, but I know that it has affected others.

PARK: I'd rather vote if it were the corpse of Biden than Trump's lying face.


GALLAGHER (on camera): Now, CNN's debate format also received pretty good feedback. The mute button as well as the fact there was no audience, although voters did tell me they missed the moderators fact checking the candidates in real time. There was only one moment from the debate that every single voter brought up to me and they all rolled their eyes. It was that trash talk over their golf game. People called it beneath the office, embarrassing and said they should have spent the time on an actual issue that people cared about -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It also went on surprisingly long given how little time there is debate, I think everyone thought so those voters, Dianne.

GALLAGHER: And that was noted by the voter.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Those voters not holding back and speaking with you, it's really important to hear from them. Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT for us next, did the Supreme Court just throw -- throw Trump a legal lifeline by siding with the January 6 rioter.



BOLDUAN: New tonight, Donald Trump looking to seize on a major Supreme Court ruling related to January 6, moving quickly to get dismissed, two major obstruction charges at the heart of DOJ's election interference case against him.

This is after the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the Justice Department overstepped by charging hundreds of people who rioted at the Capitol, charging them with obstruction.

As of today, about 250 Jan-6 cases involving obstruction are pending, more than 50 were convicted and sentenced with obstruction as the only felony charge. Twenty-seven are currently behind bars.

Ryan Goodman is OUTFRONT.

Help me make sense of this, big picture. Ryan, what does this mean? Could this mean when it comes to Donald Trump's case? RYAN GOODMAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So if I were Jack Smith, I'm pretty

sure he is not worried tonight. The Supreme Court almost goes out of its way to say what's still left in the statute is trying to impair documents or records like this electoral certificates and they even give an example of using false evidence, so false information would be the false electors scheme. So that's clearly still within bounds.

At the same time, I think that Donald Trump needs to worry if he were to make the argument that Jack Smith should dropped two charges, it could end up hurting him and backfiring, hurting Donald Trump, because after Monday, when the Supreme Court rules on immunity, big question -- can Jack Smith say, okay, I'm going to slim this case down. We're going to drop two of the charges and now we do have time to proceed to a jury trial before the election.

BOLDUAN: Interesting. On its face, this really does appear to be a big blow to cases against January 6 defendants. You don't think that's the case though. Why? Tell me.

GOODMAN: So it's the case that a quarter of all January 6 defendants have been charged with this obstruction statute, but just charged with it. A large slice of them, another quarter of those 350 actually play two other charges, not to the obstruction charge. So there are other charges stay.

The plea deals all have this proviso in it which says if the obstruction charges ever vacated, we can charge you again. And of all those people, they were charged with other crimes. Some of them might even be more severe because they pled down to obstruction.

So, there's so many ways in which the only core group of people who truly affected in a huge way is about 6 percent of the total number of cases.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, you mentioned Monday, big day, we're going to hear from -- the finally for the Supreme Court on this immunity idea. The fact that its on the final day, what can we read? Should we read into that?

GOODMAN: So, the Supreme Court often leaves some of the most controversial cases for the final day and then they leave town. And it also doesn't then have an effect on their other parts of their caseload in terms of how their or their opinions or received.

I do think that there's almost no chance that Donald Trump will be vindicated with a maximalist view of presidential immunity. And I think when we see the case on Monday, big question will be, what is it also me for future presidents? Is there this blanket immunity or not? I do not think the court is going to give that.

BOLDUAN: That's so interesting. It's always great to have you here. Thank you so much.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Thank you. And thank you all so much for joining us today. I'm Kate Bolduan. Have

a great weekend.

"AC360" starts now.