Explainer: How the French snap election runoff works and what comes next

President Joe Biden’s trainwreck debate with Republican opponent Donald Trump followed a series of decisions by his top advisers that critics now say were wrong, according to interviews with Democratic allies, donors and former and current aides.
During the 90-minute debate on Thursday, Trump, 78, repeated a series of familiar, blatant lies, including the claim that he had indeed won the 2020 election.
Biden, 81, has failed to disprove them, and his lackluster, stalling performance has prompted calls by Democrats to end his second-term bid and “soul search” or resign among top aides.
“My only request was to make sure he was rested before the debate, but he was exhausted. It was wrong,” said one person, who said they had reached out to top Biden aides in recent days, but to no avail. “What a bad decision to send him away sick and exhausted.”
Others were even more emphatic.
“My belief is that he is overtrained, over practiced. And I believe it [senior aide] Anita Dunn … put her in a position that benefited Trump and not him,” said John Morgan, a Florida attorney and major Biden fundraiser.
Morgan suggested that Dunn and other aides “finally fire him and never let him back anywhere near the campaign.”
Biden’s debate strategy was signed off by campaign chairman Jen O’Malley Dillon, who helped him win in 2020 and was appointed in January to boost a bumpy re-election campaign. Dunn, a longtime Biden aide and former campaign strategist for Barack Obama, supported the strategy.
There was a lot of confidence in the event. Trump was convicted by a New York jury on May 31 of falsifying documents while Biden made consecutive trips to Europe.
To the surprise of some of Biden’s aides, his stubbornly low poll numbers nationally began to rise in the following weeks.
Advisers created a strict debate preparation calendar and locked Biden in Camp David for six days.
It included an inner circle, some of whom had been close to Biden for decades: Ron Klain, the first White House chief of staff, Dunn, a former White House counsel and longtime adviser to Dunn’s husband, Bob Bauer, and Mike Donilon, and about a dozen others. other political and policy experts.
Biden’s campaign said Friday it was not considering a staff shakeup. A spokeswoman for Dunn said several aides were involved in the preparations and noted that Morgan was not there.
In an email to supporters Saturday, O’Malley Dillon said internal polls and focus groups showed no change in voter opinion in battleground states after the debate. He warned that “exaggerated media narratives” could “cause a temporary dip in the polls,” but he’s confident Biden will win in November.

FACTS AND ZINGERS

Biden’s trips abroad, particularly to France earlier this month, have generated Republican social media clips poking fun at his age, but his team said it also showed him as a strong leader on the international stage.
White House staffers traveling with the president were in high spirits as he headed to Camp David on June 21. They believed that Biden entered the debate with the most valuable political tool: momentum, wind at his back.
In 14 days, Biden flew to France, back to the United States, Italy and the West Coast, before resting for just a few days at his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
It was pulled by several people who observed it during this period.
When Biden and his aides settled in at Camp David six days before the debate, aides believed he had a lot to accomplish, more than his opponent. Trump could only complain about the current administration — and Biden would need the facts and the fingertip.
They expected Trump to be far more disciplined and prepared than he was in 2020, and they thought they would have to counter a series of quick lies.
They peppered Biden with details during lengthy preparatory sessions, followed by mock debates.
Critics say the build-up should have focused on the bigger vision he has to sell the country and that Biden didn’t get enough rest in the debate.
Running down, Biden also catches a bit of a cold, White House staffers said, as he regularly did during his term, after long time-zone-bending work.
According to critics, the result was candidate Biden at his worst: he appeared on stage with a pale face, messy hair at the collar and a hoarse voice. He was often at a loss.
“I’ve never seen it performed like that,” said Michael LaRosa, former special assistant to President Biden and press secretary to first lady Jill Biden.
“He can run circles around most people on complex political issues,” LaRosa said. “It was always a question of presentation and cosmetics, and there were cursory judgments about its performance. And he couldn’t clear the bar.”

NEW DISCUSSION FORUM
Earlier this year, some Biden aides debated whether he should debate Trump at all, arguing that it could give Trump a broad public platform that could disadvantage Biden.
Then, in an April interview, Biden himself shocked Howard Stern with a ruling on the Trump debate that came as a surprise to some advisers. “I’m somewhere,” he said.
With the triumphant memory of his March State of the Union address fresh in their minds, Biden’s team prepared for the debate but took radical steps to control the conditions.
They decided to reject three long-planned presidential debates in September and October organized by the Committee on Presidential Debates, still smarting to handle the 2020 debates as a group.
Trump repeatedly broke the rules of the chaotic first debate in 2020, despite testing positive for COVID-19, and spoke relentlessly about Biden.
His team tried to run the race on their own terms, with what they saw as a more flexible host at CNN. No audience cheering for Trump’s exasperation. Networks and moderators willing to challenge Trump. Not Robert F. Kennedy Jr. A mute button.
The day after the debate, Biden returned with a powerful speech in North Carolina, vowing to continue. Many donors and Democrats are rallying around him.
But the damage was done.
Asked on Sunday whether the Democratic Party was discussing a new 2024 nominee, Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin told MSNBC: “There are very honest, serious and rigorous conversations going on at all levels of our party because it’s a political party. , and we have our differences. point of view.”
Raskin added, “Whether he is the nominee or someone else is the nominee, he will be the keynote speaker at our convention.”

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