During a high-dollar fundraiser in the country-club enclave of Weston, Mass., President Joe Biden suggested he was only running for reelection because Donald Trump is in the race.
“If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” Biden told affluent Bay State donors at a campaign reception. “But we cannot let him win.”
Biden made the remarks — “a stunning admission by President Biden,” according to CNN’s Jake Tapper — just half an hour south of the New Hampshire state line. It is a line Biden refuses to cross, even as Granite State Democrats scramble to organize a write-in campaign for the 81-year-old incumbent. Biden, who instructed the Democratic National Committee to strip New Hampshire of its First in the Nation presidential primary status, refused to allow his name to be placed on the ballot.
New Hampshire Democrats noted his close call.
“The President is in Boston today – close to New Hampshire but not here,” state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro posted on X.
Questions about Biden’s physical and mental ability to handle the presidential workload have swirled for months. Granite Staters tell pollsters they believe Biden is too old, and his admission about being reluctant to seek reelection has added to the debate over his age. Republicans like presidential candidate Nikki Haley have argued for months that “a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris” because Biden will be unwilling or unable to serve a second full term.
But neither Biden’s disrespectful treatment of New Hampshire voters nor concerns about his age have stopped die-hard party activists from doubling down on their efforts to help Biden avoid embarrassment in next month’s primary. Former state party chair Kathy Sullivan has created the Granite for America super PAC to fund the write-in effort. Under federal election rules, the PAC Sullivan launched can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, including so-called “dark money” from anonymous sources.
Democratic political strategist Lucas Meyer has even tried to spin Biden’s attempt to kill the New Hampshire primary as a positive for the state party.
The write-in offers a “really great opportunity for Democrats,” Meyer told the Los Angeles Times. “To use the write-in as an opportunity to get party activists and local committees trained up on how to talk about the campaign — I think that’s the best way to stick it to the DNC.”
Republican state party chair Chris Ager isn’t as forgiving.
“Biden continues to snub Granite State voters,” Ager said of the president stopping in Massachusetts but not New Hampshire. “Vermin Supreme is more respectful of our state’s voters than our AWOL president — and probably more competent, too.”
As for Biden saying he’s “not sure I’d be running” if not for Trump, Ager quipped: “Well, I’m sure Joe Biden shouldn’t be running, regardless of the Republican field.”
Ironically, Biden is losing to Trump in nine of the 10 most recent head-to-head polls tracked by RealClearPolitics, and his approval among independent voters fell to a record-low 27 percent in the latest Gallup poll.