NEWS

Biden campaign: View from the ground: What battleground voters read about last night’s debate

Last night, Americans tuning into the debate saw two starkly different visions for our country: Joe Biden’s vision focused on improving life for working families and Donald Trump’s vision focused on improving life for himself. While President Biden shared his vision, Trump told lie after lie after lie.

And after the debate ended, while President Biden made a pit stop at Waffle House and then arrived to a crowd in North Carolina at 2 AM, the hour after the debate – 11 PM to 12 AM – was Team Biden-Harris’ best grassroots fundraising hour of the entire campaign, raising $14 million from grassroots supporters on debate day and the morning after.

Below is a statement attributable to Biden-Harris 2024 Battleground States Director Dan Kanninen:

“Voters across the country saw two very different visions for the country in last night’s debate. Independent voters – who decide elections – didn’t like what they saw from Donald Trump. And the president’s base of support is sticking with him, powering us to our best hour of grassroots fundraising on the campaign. We have a plan to win this race, and that plan was never to rely on one rally, one interview, or one debate. This is a largely fixed electorate with two well-known and well-defined candidates – winning the voters who will decide this election will require consistent time and effort, and our campaign is the only one giving that time and effort.”

Here’s how things looked in the battlegrounds:

Michigan

On WJBK (FOX – Detroit, MI):

Alexis Wiley, Founder and CEO of Moment Strategies: “I’m not gonna judge President Biden based on 90 minutes, right? I think that he has had a track record of creating jobs, creating opportunities, driving down the cost of health care for Americans. What we saw tonight from Donald Trump was a lot of lies, just peddling lies. And he defended January 6. We saw him talk about what he’s gonna do with – he celebrated Roe v. Wade being overturned. We know the impact that’s made on women, especially women who wanted to have children but were in terrible situations and had to make tough choices. That’s what stood out to me the most. He’s so clear on that.”

Reporter: “But Alexis, we’ll get to Trump, we’ll get to Trump and what he said and what he didn’t say in a moment. But I have to drill down on Biden and his abilities that were displayed. There are undecided voters and some Democrats who lean a little bit closer to the middle who wanted to watch to see whether or not he would be competent. Do you believe that this reinforced the competency or took away from it?”

Alexis Wiley: “I think that what this did was, it was 90 minutes where we got a chance – I don’t think that he was the most eloquent debater, but I do think that he’s a great decision-maker. I do think he’s been a great president. And I think that most people are not gonna just look at this 90 minutes and make a decision.”

On WWMT (CBS – Grand Rapids, MI):

Austin Marsman: “Joe Biden has delivered. We’re seeing that tonight. Democrats deliver from Lansing to DC and President Biden has shown that he is the adult in the room.”

In Detroit Free Press:

[Trump] didn’t bring up or reference Paul Whelan, a security executive who was arrested in Russia in Dec. 2018 and has been detained since. Whelan, a former Marine who lived in Novi, was accused of espionage and convicted in June 2020 during a closed-door trial and sentenced to 16 years of hard labor in a work camp. […]

Trump took credit for appointing three of the U.S. Supreme Court justices who ruled in July 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion access at the federal level for nearly 50 years… Biden said if re-elected, he would restore Roe v. Wade, and said congressional Republicans would pass a “very conservative” national abortion ban if Trump were elected. “I’ll veto it, he’ll sign it,” Biden said. […]

Biden noted that Republicans in Congress blocked a bipartisan border bill earlier this year, and said that Trump’s opposition to the bill pressured conservatives in Congress to reject it.

In The Detroit Free Press:

Biden: “My son was not a loser. He was not a sucker. You’re the sucker. You’re the loser.”

Biden attacked Trump’s record on veterans, saying Trump had refused to enter a World War I cemetery because it was filled with “losers” and “suckers” — referencing a 2020 article from The Atlantic that reported such statements during a trip to France. Biden’s son Beau Biden, who died in 2015, had served in the Iraq War. […]

Biden: “You have the morals of an alley cat.”

After Tapper asked Trump to clarify what he meant in a previous statement claiming he had “every right to go after” his political opponents, Trump instead pointed fingers at Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who was convicted on federal gun charges earlier this month. In response, Biden called out Trump’s felony convictions and his alleged sexual encounter with adult film star Stormy Daniels, saying he had “the morals of an alley cat.”

Pennsylvania

On WHYY:

Roughly 100 people gathered at a presidential debate watch party in Roxborough on Thursday to support the Biden-Harris campaign.

The crowd was vocal, often cheering for Biden, and laughing at Trump, including when the former president said he left the economy in better shape than he found it when he first took office in 2016. […]

Most there thought Biden had done a good job.

“He’s got some strong points,” said Biden campaign volunteer and North Philly resident David Evans.

Evans, who runs a nonprofit called Block by Block Philly, says reproductive health care and voting rights are his top issues this election.

He said Biden, 81, could have gone after Trump, 78, stronger on some points.

“He’s struggling a little bit with his rebuttals, but overall I think he’s got some really key points,” he said.

Philadelphia resident Sylvia Eve agreed.

“He seems a bit subdued but I think he is effectively getting across his message,” she said.

Eve added that she thought Biden’s demeanor showed restraint.

“He kept his calm even though it was apparent that Trump was intentionally trying to gaslight him and make him upset and discredit his efforts,” she said. “But Joe kept his cool, and Trump was unsuccessful at, I guess, painting him as a villain.” […]

Kim May, a doctor who works at a West Philly medical office, said she felt Biden had a slow start.

“He had a rocky start. Maybe he was nervous. We all know he has a history of stuttering,” she said. “But as the debate went on, he was able to state everything and get all of his positions across.”

May said Biden’s policy on health care is most important to the Black community.

“Absolutely he has made an impact,” she said. “I care for seniors in the community, so the $35 cap on insulin will definitely make a difference … and access to health care is an important part of care for minorities in the community, so continuation of the [Affordable Care Act] is important for us and we know Trump wanted to end it.”

In The Philadelphia Inquirer: “In this special feature, Inquirer Opinion writers rank the candidates on a scale of 1 to 10. A 1 means the candidate was a complete disappointment, while a 10 is an unquestionable win. Here’s what our columnists, editorial writers, and contributors thought about the debate. […]

From Will Bunch, National Columnist: “The man who famously told more than 30,000 lies during his presidency was back on the national stage telling lies at an even faster rate than before. Throughout the evening, Trump offered an Alice-in-Wonderland view of his presidency — claiming his disastrous efforts against COVID-19 were a huge success or that Biden’s record of job success was a ‘bounce back’ — and of the country he hopes to lead, which he described as ‘living in a rat’s nest.’ Indeed, Trump lied so often he became the first man in American history to have sex with a porn star and then lie that he didn’t. On most questions, he changed the subject in ridiculous ways, answering a question on climate change by saying we have ‘clean water.’”

From Paul Davies, Opinion Editor-at-Large: “Nonstop lies. Never answered a question. Trump showed his true racist colors when he referenced ‘Black jobs.’ On the environment, Trump said during his presidency we had H2O. Huh?’”

From Helen Ubiñas, Staff Columnist: “No. 45 lied, and lied, and lied (so he doesn’t even deserve the 1-point grade I’m giving him here).”

In The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Trump struggled to defend himself when criminal cases came up. […]

Biden also warned Americans of Trump’s promise to retaliate against his enemies if elected.

“The idea that you have the right to seek retribution against any American just because you’re president is wrong, simply wrong,” Biden said. “No president has ever spoken like that. No president in our history has ever spoken like that.” […]

Trump also had no new answers on some of his other weakest issues, including his role in overturning Roe v. Wade and his actions on Jan. 6, 2021.

On KYW-PHI (CBS – Philadelphia, PA):

Reporter: “The roughly 90 supporters who watched at a Biden campaign office deemed the President the winner.”

Voter: “I think that President Biden is holding his own. I think he did a pretty good job in terms of being able to answer the questions and reacting appropriately.”

Reporter: “But their praise for President Biden was nothing compared with their sharp criticism of former President Trump.”

Voter: “Trump is just a liar on everything he says. He just lies.”

Reporter: “Senator Chris Coons of Delaware was among the elected officials who attended the watch party. He said voters got a clear choice.”

U.S. Senator Chris Coons: “The difference between how they are describing our country, our future, their records – is so sharp.”

On WICU (NBC – Erie, PA):

Reporter: “Erie County Democratic Party chairman Sam Talarico joins me now. Sir, how do you think the president did tonight?”

Erie County Democratic Chair Sam Talarico: “Well, a lot of the post debate discussion is focusing on optics…the president did have a slow start, but then he came around and really brought forth a positive view and  a positive outlook for our country. His opponent, the total opposite. He has a dystopian view of America. He doesn’t like America as it is now. and I think that’s disgraceful. […]”

Former Erie County Council Republican Brian Shank: “It was, you know, Biden taking a swipe at the former president, and we totally expect that. That’s how the game can be played, but, you know, they were rehearsed. They both had their answers right … I think it’s going to be a draw.”

North Carolina

On WNCN (CBS – Raleigh, NC):

State Representative Diamond Staton-Williams: “I believe that President Biden is doing a phenomenal job of making sure that he’s pointing out things and not standing up for the lies that our former president is feeding people tonight.”

On WNCN (CBS – Raleigh, NC): NC supporters of Trump, Biden react after 90-minute presidential debate

Republicans and Democrats feel their candidate made solid arguments in Thursday night’s debate.

It was the first televised debate between a sitting president and former president. Both Republicans and Democrats in Wake County voiced their take on the outcome moments after the closing statements.

“I believe President Biden is doing a phenomenal job of making sure he is pointing out things and not standing up for the lies that our former President is feeding people,” said NC State Representative of District 73, Diamond Staton-Williams.

In NC Newsline:

Near the end of the debate, Trump said political violence was “totally unacceptable,” though he went on to downplay the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, defending the conduct of his mob of supporters.

Trump initially did not directly answer a question about whether he would accept the results of the election if he lost. When pressed by moderator Dana Bash, Trump conditioned his answer.

“If it’s a fair and legal and good election, absolutely,” Trump said. He then repeated the oft-debunked claims that election fraud was a major issue in his 2020 loss. […]

Referring to reports that, as president, Trump said veterans killed in action in France during World War II were “suckers and losers,” Biden, invoked his son, Beau, who was a National Guard veteran and later died of brain cancer.

“My son was not a loser and was not a sucker,” Biden told his predecessor, scowling. “You’re the sucker. You’re the loser.”

Trump denied he ever made the remark, first reported in The Atlantic and confirmed in other reports.

Biden at several times attacked Trump’s credibility and truthfulness, saying after one answer, “Every single thing he said is a lie.” […]

“The American people got a chance tonight to be reminded about the character of Donald Trump, a man who stood there and lied for 90 minutes straight,” [U.S. Senator Raphael] Warnock said. “But what I was also struck by was by what he did not say. Every time he was asked a question that had something to do with the lives of the ordinary working-class people that I represent here in the state of Georgia, did you notice he never answered the question?”

Georgia

On Peachtree TV:

Reporter: “Atlanta voters… at the Democratic watch party said they were also pleased with Biden’s performance and were excited that he made an appearance after the showdown.”

Voter: “The energy was electric. It was an unexpected surprise. It was wonderful, it was great, just being able to meet him, to see him.”

In WAGA (FOX – Atlanta, GA): Biden makes Waffle House stop in Cobb County – 12:20 a.m.

President Joe Biden, joined by his wife, first lady Dr. Jill Biden, made a stop at the Waffle House along Cobb Parkway, just outside The Perimeter.

The stop comes two hours after he stopped off the debate stage against former President Donald Trump.

It was not immediately clear what, if anything, he ordered, but the president spent his time there shaking hands and talking to those inside this location of the famous, if not infamous, Norcross-based restaurant chain.

When former President Donald Trump was in Atlanta in April, he stopped at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta. He reportedly bought everyone at that location of the Atlanta-based restaurant chain a milkshake.

In The Atlanta Voice: Presidential debate watch party shows support for POTUS Biden

The first presidential debate in Atlanta for the 2024 Presidential Election between POTUS Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump kicked off with a bang.

During a watch party at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Biden supporters showed up with their “Let’s Go Joe”, “Biden-Harris”, and “Women for Biden” shirts. The energy was high the minute the debate started. There was not a dull moment during the watch party. […]

During the debate, many of Biden’s supporters cheered and yelled “Let’s Go Joe” during his turn. Also, when Trump tried to rebuttal, many of the supporter’s Boo’d and shouted F-bombs towards the viewing screen.

Most of the times during the debate when Trump spoke, the crowd shouted in anger and Boo’d loudly.

The crowd was the loudest when Biden rebuttal to Trump’s statements about overturning Roe v. Wade, and Biden said he supported the law. The crowd whistled, screamed, and clapped as loud as they could when Biden said those words.

Arizona

In The Arizona Republic:

Abortion rights loomed over the presidential debate with Arizona as a swing state directly affected by the changing legislative landscape.

When the subject turned to abortion rights, Biden vowed to return America to the standards outlined in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case.

As he has consistently done on the campaign trail, Biden blamed Trump for the evolving rules on abortion rights.

“The idea … that the founders wanted the politicians to be the ones making decisions about women’s health is ridiculous,” Biden said.

Wisconsin

On WKOW (ABC – Madison, WI):

Reporter: “We are getting some local reaction from officials on last night’s debate. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway took to social media app X and said, ‘Donald Trump failed Americans as president. A second term would be even worse. President Biden has delivered historic progress. We need to re-elect him to finish the job.’”

WISN (ABC – Milwaukee, WI):

Reporter: “Everybody exaggerates. A lot of politicians don’t tell the truth. But Trump said at least a dozen things last night that are demonstrably false. He talked about Biden says that he’s going to raise your taxes fourfold. That’s made up. Biden has never said anything of the sort. He suggested that under Roe v. Wade, which Biden wants to return to, that abortions would not only be legal in the ninth month, but he said some Democrats believe that they should be legal after the ninth month. In other words, after the baby is born. That’s murder. Joe Biden’s certainly never suggested anything like that. On inflation, he says that the prices have gone up fourfold, threefold, twofold. He had lots of different numbers. They’ve gone up a lot but 20%.”

WKOW (ABC – Madison, WI):

Reporter: “People all over southern Wisconsin, they hosted watch parties for this first presidential debate.”

Reporter: “And that included people who align with both the Democratic and Republican parties. The Democrats hosted a party in downtown Madison. We spoke with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway about her reaction to what she saw.”

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway: “I’ll tell you, even in just the first few minutes, what I’ve seen is that President Biden is talking about his really impressive record, particularly on the economy. And President Trump is somewhere out in la la land, and he’s just telling lies and he’s making up stuff about his record, particularly his impact on the economy. And I can’t say I’m surprised.”

WDJT (CBS – Milwaukee, WI):

Reporter: “In talking to voters at Democratic and Republican watch parties earlier tonight, we got a very clear sense into where voters here in the Milwaukee area break on which issues they believe will matter the most in this campaign. For Democrats, who gathered at Broken Bat Brewing in the Walker’s Point neighborhood, they talked about the economy, saying, ‘yes, it is very important,’ and they pointed to an inflation rate that is slowly declining from that 2022 spike. But they also say abortion rights and democracy are  key issues as well in this race, and they should come up in the debate and in the other one coming up in September.”

Nevada

In The Reno Gazette Journal:

Trump looked obviously more physically fit than Biden, Corbin said, “but on the other hand, he just shot from the hip with a thousand different statements that nobody is going to believe half of them.”

Corbin watched video of Biden after the debate at a watch party in Atlanta.

“It was like the old Joe Biden,” he said. “His voice was strong. He sounded good, and you wouldn’t believe it was the same person you just watched 15 minutes earlier.” […]

At a debate watch party at the Democratic Party of Washoe County headquarters, an audience of about 60 booed and often shouted “Answer the question” whenever Trump spoke.

“He can’t stick to a subject,” Allyson Ford said. “He’s just rambling, he can’t focus, he can’t answer a question that’s posed to him. He’s just throwing out accusations, many of which have already been disproved many times.”

Khalid McClure, who also attended the Democratic watch party, thought Biden’s rough voice sounded like he might have a cold.

“But when you look at his mental acuity, he was right on point, like when he talked about the immigration law they wanted to pass but it got stopped because of Trump’s influence,” he said.

McClure wished Trump had admitted he’d made some mistakes instead of dodging questions.

“I look at Biden, and he’s got character of steel,” he said. “We can tell he’s a person who cares for us.” […]

Nicol Herris, a Reno Republican, said she felt like the whole country lost while watching the presidential debate… “I don’t think this debate is going to change people’s minds. I believe that people are sick and tired of what’s happening and we want real solutions.”

On KRNV (NBC – Reno, Nevada):

Reporter: “Local elected leaders and community members came together in support of President Joe Biden for a debate watch party here in Reno. Leaders say the watch parties show support and energize Biden’s reelection campaign. They say they wanted to highlight the importance of fundamental freedoms, democracy, and livelihood for Nevadans. Members say the stakes for this year’s elections couldn’t be higher.”

Chair for Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus Aaron Sims: “This is a president who carried us through a pandemic, right? We had a pandemic. We were in the midst of it in the 2020 election. Any president who would have been elected at that time and, you know, had served throughout these last 4 years would have dealt with some kind of an economic crisis. And I think President Biden has carried us through pretty well.”

Reporter: “Supporters said they want to pass along President Biden’s vision where freedoms and democracy are protected and all Americans have a fair shot.”

Updates from the Grassroots

Kevin Munoz: 11PM-12AM was the campaign’s best grassroots fundraising hour since launch, besting its two record-breaking hours earlier this evening. All in all, June 27 was our best grassroots fundraising day since launch.

Rosemary Boeglin: 🇺🇸 @TheDemocrats just had our best fundraising day in years thanks to @JoeBiden & our grassroots donors who are fired up to re-elect him.

Ed O’KeefeNEW: Biden team says it raised $14 million “on debate day and the morning after.”

Says the 11pm-12am ET hour last night “was the single best hour of fundraising since the campaign’s launch in April 2023.”

Josh Wingrove: The Biden-Harris campaign says it raised $14 million yesterday and this morning combined, calling it “a sign of strength of our grassroots support.”

Rob Flaherty: $14m from just our grassroots supporters alone.

Our folks are keeping the faith and — not a joke folks — spreading it.

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