Aides and allies to Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, are growing increasingly concerned about the upcoming presidential debates, when Biden will face off against President Donald Trump, The Hill reported on Friday.
A longtime Biden aide said that Trump will try to “spin everything” and blame his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the issues the U.S. is facing. To counteract this, the aide continued, the Democratic nominee needs to go on the offense, fact-check Trump and hold him accountable.
“He can’t get away with any of it. Not one f**ing thing,” another individual close to Biden said, adding that voters want to see the former Delaware senator “calling out all of the bull**it.”
Still, “there is a palpable fear among some Democrats about whether Biden is up for the challenge and whether being too aggressive could backfire,” according to The Hill.
Some Democrats are reportedly concerned that Biden will make “gaffes,” which he is known to do. On the campaign trail, the party’s nominee has frequently confused places and names, going off on tangents and giving long-winded answers to simple questions.
For instance, during a primary debate last year, he was asked to lay out his vision for fixing the legacy of slavery, but ended up delivering a bizarre monologue about record players.
In recent weeks, the former vice president has relied on reading from a teleprompter, largely avoiding contentious interviews with members of the media. The Trump campaign has taken note of this, hammering the Democrat and suggesting that he is unfit for office.
A close ally conceded that many in the former vice president’s team are “a little nervous” about the debates, explaining that the candidate “has a tendency to wrap up very well, but he’s one of those people who takes some time to get there.”
According to Joel Payne, who served as the director of African American paid media for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, Biden’s team is aware of these issues and will most likely be working with the candidate to prevent mistakes and gaffes.
Some insiders are not as concerned about Biden’s performance in the debates. According to strategist Eddie Vale, voters care about Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t pay attention to gaffes.
“If you or someone in your family has lost their job, is sick, died, or can’t send their kids to school right now who the hell cares about ‘OMG Gaffe!'” Vale said.
Most polls suggest that Biden stands as the favorite to win the 2020 presidential election.
Nevertheless, a recent Monmouth University survey found that 48 percent of registered American voters believe Trump will win re-election, while only 43 percent believe Biden will win.