Indian Prime Minister Modi makes first visit to ally Russia since the start of its war on Ukraine

While Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania, some House Democratic leaders say he should step aside.

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: President Joe Biden urged his supporters to remain united during Sunday’s critical stops in Pennsylvania, even as some top congressional Democrats privately suggested it was time to abandon his re-election bid amid growing questions about that it is suitable for another expression.
“I know I look 40 years old,” joked Biden, 81, during a rousing service in front of sunlight-bathed stained-glass windows at Philadelphia’s Mount Airy Church of God in Christ, but “I’ve been doing this for a long time. time.”
“I, honest to God, have never been more optimistic about the future of America if we stick together,” he said.
There and at a later rally with union members in Harrisburg, Biden gave brief speeches that touched on familiar themes. But he also left plenty of room for key supporters to debate whether to stand by him. In this way, the purpose of the Pennsylvania swing was more to showcase the president’s support from key political circles than to prove that he still has four more years.
But his party remains deeply divided.
As Congress prepares to resume this week, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries convened top committee lawmakers Sunday afternoon to weigh in on their views. Several Democratic committee leaders, including Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut and Rep. Mark Takano of California, said privately that Biden should step aside, according to two people with knowledge of the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. .
But other top Democrats, including members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, argued just as strongly that Biden would remain the party’s choice. The conversation was wide-ranging, the committee leaders shared different positions regarding the situation, but there was no agreement on what should be done, the people said.
Biden personally called lawmakers over the weekend. He also joined the call with campaign aides and reiterated that he has no plans to leave the race. Instead, the president has pledged to campaign harder in the future and speed up his political travel, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the private conversations.
One Democrat the president spoke with, Sen. Alex Padilla of California, said he and others are urging the Biden campaign to “Joe be Joe, get him out of there.”
“I absolutely believe we can turn it around,” Padilla told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, a person familiar with Sen. Mark Warner’s thinking said there would be no discussion on Monday about Biden’s future, as previously discussed, and that those discussions would take place at Tuesday’s regular caucus luncheon, which includes all Democratic senators. The person said the private meeting was no longer possible after it became public that he was reaching out to Virginia’s Democratic senators about Biden and that various conversations between the senators were continuing.
Five other different Democratic lawmakers have already publicly called on Biden to drop his re-election campaign before November. Next week’s face-to-face meeting will provide more opportunities for lawmakers to discuss Biden’s concerns about whether he can survive the remaining four months of the campaign — let alone four more years in the White House — and Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump. about the real prospects of its defeat.
Biden’s campaign team has also been calling and texting lawmakers to try to prevent further potential defections, while increasingly asking high-profile Biden supporters to speak on his behalf.
Despite this, calls for bowing emerged from different directions.
Tampa City Councilman and Democratic National Committee member Alan Clendenin on Sunday called on Biden to “step aside and allow Vice President Kamala Harris to advance her agenda as the Democratic nominee.” Director Rob Reiner, who has helped organize glitzy Hollywood fundraisers for Biden in the past, wrote on X: “It’s time for Joe Biden to go.”
The Democratic convention is fast approaching, and Biden’s interview with ABC on Friday failed to convince some who remain skeptical.
Democratic fundraiser Barry Goodman, a Michigan attorney, said he supports Biden but would back Harris if he stepped aside. That’s notable because Goodman was the finance co-chairman of both statewide campaigns for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was also touted as a top alternative.
“We don’t have much time,” Goodman said. “I don’t think the president will get out. But if he does, I think it will be Kamala.
There was no such suggestion at Mount Airy, where Pastor Louis Felton compared the president to Joseph and the biblical story of his “coat of many colors.” In it, Joseph is enslaved in Egypt by his jealous brothers, only to eventually gain a prominent position in the Pharaoh’s kingdom and beg for his brothers’ help without first recognizing him.
“Never count Joseph out,” Felton pleaded. Then, referring to Democrats who have called on Biden to step aside, he added: “This is what is happening, Mr. President. People are jealous of you. Jealous of your affection, jealous of your favor. You envy the hand of God in your life.”
Felton also led a prayer where he said, “Our president is discouraged. But today, by your holy spirit, renew his mind, renew his soul, renew his body.”
After the service, Biden visited a campaign office in Philadelphia, where Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who won a tough 2022 race while recovering from a stroke, offered a strong endorsement.
“There’s only one guy who’s ever beaten Trump,” Fetterman said. “And he’s going to do it twice, and he’s going to put it down for good.”
Later, stepping off Air Force One in Harrisburg, the president was asked if the Democratic Party was behind him and answered emphatically, “Yes.”
Joining him at the union event was Rep. Madeleine Dean, also a Democrat from Pennsylvania, who said that “democracy is on the brink. There is one man who understands, Joe Biden.
Isabel Afonso, who saw Biden speak in Harrisburg, said she was concerned when she saw the president’s debate performance, but she doesn’t think he should drop out and still win. “I know he is old, but I know if something happens to him, he will be replaced by a sensible person,” said Afonso, 63.
At the same event, James Johnson, 73, said he knows what it’s like to forget things as he gets older, but called Biden a “fighter.” According to him, replacing the president at the top of the Democratic ticket would only cause confusion.
“I’m talking about lifelong Democrats and people who have been in the Democratic Party for a long time,” Johnson said. “Because of this, they may decide to jump ship.”
Others, however, are not entirely convinced.
Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, told CNN that Biden “needs to answer the questions that voters are asking,” adding, “If he does that this week, I think he’s going to be in a very good position.”
Biden has refused to submit to independent cognitive testing, arguing that the daily rigors of the presidency are sufficient proof of his mental acuity. But Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told NBC on Sunday that he would “like to see both the president and Donald Trump take a cognitive test.”
As some Democrats have done, Schiff took a dig at Biden, who suggested during the ABC interview that a loss to Trump would be acceptable “as long as I give it my all.”
“It’s not just about whether he gave his best college try,” Schiff said, but whether he made the right decision to run or pass the torch.

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