Obama World Is Circling Joe Biden Like A Wounded Gazelle

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Longtime allies of former President Barack Obama are pouncing on President Joe Biden as he and his family fight to maintain power within the White House.

Biden and his campaign have insisted that the president is not going anywhere, despite deafening calls for him to end his reelection bid from fellow Democrats. His defiance has not done much to mute the critics within his own party. Individuals in Obama’s orbit are increasingly piling on, arguing that Biden should step aside due to his age and mental decline.

Perhaps the biggest domino yet fell Wednesday, when Democratic donor and actor George Clooney admitted that he noticed a severe decline in Biden at a recent Hollywood fundraiser. Clooney, notably, is a close personal friend of Obama’s dating back years.

Clooney hosted the fundraiser in California that featured former President Bill Clinton, Obama and Biden. In a viral clip, Biden was seen freezing for several seconds before Obama grabs his wrist and appears to lead him off stage. The White House decried the video as a “cheap fake,” falsely saying it was edited to make the president look bad.

Clooney, however, wrote Wednesday that the president was showing signs of cognitive decline at the fundraiser.

“In the last four years, he’s won many of the battles he’s faced,” Clooney wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal‘ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

Clooney’s assessment was quickly backed up by other notable Obama allies, such as David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, and Jon Favreau, a former aide who co-founded the successful liberal media company, Crooked Media.

“That is devastating,” Axelrod said of Clooney’s op-ed. “It’s devastating, and it’s what people fear.”

“It was not surprising to any of us who were at the fundraiser,” Favreau added.

Axelrod, and Favreau’s colleagues at Crooked Media, have been calling for Biden to drop out since the debate. After Biden’s primetime interview with ABC News, Axelrod wrote in a CNN column that “duty and love of country” should compel Biden to “step aside.”

“I respect those who genuinely believe Biden has the best shot of winning in November. I disagree, but we’re all making our best guess based on available information,” Tommy Vietor, a former Obama administration staffer and Favreau’s co-host on ‘Pod Save America,’ wrote in a tweet. “But the people who say shut up, stop talking about it, ignore data like this should be laughed out of politics.”

“I think it was a fucking disaster,” Favreau said on a June 28 episode of their podcast. “I think it was the worst debate I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

Dan Pfeiffer, another co-host and former aide, gave his thoughts immediately following the debate in a Substack post.

“I have no doubt about Joe Biden’s ability to be President, but last night raised serious questions about his ability to be a candidate who can make a clear and compelling case against the most flawed politician in history,” Pfeiffer wrote.

Hours behind Clooney, Marie Harf, a foreign policy adviser to Obama, told Fox News that Democrats are asking him to take a “serious look” at his campaign because polls are nosediving.

“I think that there’s a lot of frustration that they are trying to turn the page and say, ‘We’re not having this conversation about the debate anymore,’ but the problem, Bill, is that voters are having that conversation,” Harf said of Biden’s inner circle. “It’s not just pundits, it’s not just members of Congress.”

In the immediate minutes following the debate, former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called the president’s performance a “DEFCON 1 moment.”

“Biden did have a couple of good moments, but I think at the end of the day the overwhelming reaction — again it doesn’t matter quite frankly what people like us say, it’s what voters say, and if they were already concerned about it, and the way I think about it is, sadly, it really pains me to say this, [Trump and Biden] are three years apart. They seemed about 30 years apart tonight. And I think that’s going to be the thing voters really wrestle with coming out of this,” Plouffe said.

Former Biden press secretary and Obama communications aide Jen Psaki even showed a moment of vulnerability about her former boss.

“I worked for him. I respect him and I care about him deeply,” Psaki said during her Monday MSNBC show. “But if I sat here every night and told you that every question being asked out there is unfair, I wouldn’t be respecting you. So I’m not going to do that.”

Obama himself has remained rather quiet on the issue, aside from a post-debate tweet backing his former running mate.

“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know,” Obama tweeted. “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. 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. joebiden.com.”

The former president’s support came as Biden, the first lady and the rest of his family huddled at Camp David to discuss the 81-year-old’s political future. Hunter Biden is reportedly pushing the hardest for his dad to stay in the race, even showing up for some meetings with aides in the aftermath of the debate.

Biden’s team is on a mission to quell the concerns about the president’s age and ability to serve another four years in the White House. Since the debate, Biden has made several campaign stops and appeared on local radio stations. The president, who has repeatedly ducked TV interviews and press conferences throughout his administration, sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for a primetime interview on Friday. (RELATED: Forget Basement Campaign — It’s Been A Whole Basement Presidency For Joe Biden)

In the interview, the president denied numerous polls showing him trailing in key swing states, his low approval rating and the calls for him to exit the race.