Only “Almighty God” can force me to quit.

by Mike Wendling and Max Mazza, Madison, Wisconsin, BBC News

Getty Images Joe Biden in conversation with George StephanopoulosGetty Images

Biden gave a rare prime-time interview to ABC News on Friday.

US President Joe Biden, in a rare prime-time interview seeking to ease Democratic concerns about his candidacy, said only “God Almighty” could convince him not to seek reelection.

Biden told ABC News on Friday that he would take a cognitive test to assure voters he was eligible to serve another term, and he also refused to release the results.

“I take cognitive tests every day. I take those tests every day. Everything I do [is a test]” he told George Stephanopoulos.

The 81-year-old again rejected the idea, raised by some Democratic officials and donors after his disastrous defeat in last week’s debate with Donald Trump, that he should step aside for a younger candidate.

Through the interview, Stephanopoulos applied pressure on the president. He asked Biden if he felt he had the ability to serve another term and whether he was in denial about his own health or ability to win.

“I don’t think there’s anybody more qualified to be president or more qualified to win this election,” Biden said, blaming his poor performance last week on fatigue and a “bad cold.” In the 22-minute interview, he also said:

  • Seeking to ease concerns from Democrats who have found themselves trailing Donald Trump since the debate, he said pollsters he had spoken to had said the race was “50-50”.
  • He rejected suggestions that allies might ask him to step down. “That’s not going to happen,” he said.
  • He was asked multiple times why he was dropping out of the race, but he denied it. “If the Almighty came down and said, ‘Joe, drop out of the race,’ I would drop out of the race,” he said. “The Almighty is not going to come down.”

The president answered questions more clearly than he did on stage at last week’s debate, but his voice again sounded weak and raspy at times.

It was a contrast to his performance at a rally in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, where a spirited Biden acknowledged his dismal performance in last week’s CNN debate. “There’s been a lot of speculation since then: What is Joe going to do?” he told the crowd.

“Here’s my answer: I’m going to run and I’m going to win again,” Biden said, as supporters in key battleground states chanted his name.

“I’m going to run again and I’m going to win again,” Biden said.

The interview and rally come at a critical time for Trump’s campaign, as donors and Democratic supporters consider whether to back him.

According to various US media reports, Biden is looking to regain ground lost to Republican rival Donald Trump after the debate, with his campaign aware that the coming days will determine whether he will be re-elected.

As Biden took to the stage at the rally, he passed a voter holding a sign that read, “Pass the baton, Joe,” while another voter standing outside held a sign that read, “For your legacy, retreat!”

“All I see is talk about I’m too old,” Biden said at a rally before touting his accomplishments in the White House. “Am I too old to create 15 million jobs? Am I too old to cancel the student loans of 5 million Americans?”

“Do you think I’m too old to beat Donald Trump?” he asked, to which the crowd replied, “No.”

Referring to Trump’s conviction in New York and other charges he faces in separate cases, he called his rival a “one-man crime wave.”

Some voters at the Wisconsin rally told the BBC they were open to change.

Pressure for Biden to resign has only grown as Biden appeared to lose his train of thought at several points during the debate, raising concerns about his age and mental health.

Some of the Democratic Party’s top donors They began calling for Biden to resign. He was nominated as the party’s candidate and publicly warned that he would withhold funding unless he was replaced.

The Biden campaign is planning an aggressive comeback, with his wife, Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris planning to campaign in battleground states this month.

Biden is scheduled to speak at another rally in Pennsylvania on Sunday, where he thanked the vice president for his support, and he is seen as the leading Democratic candidate to replace Biden if he steps down.

The Washington Post reported that Biden’s team is aware of pressure from within the Democratic Party to make a decision about the future of his candidacy within the next week.

Reports surfaced Friday that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries plans to meet with House Democratic leaders on Sunday to discuss Biden’s candidacy.

Four Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives — Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Seth Boulton of Massachusetts and Mike Quigley of Illinois — have now called for him to drop out of the presidential race.

“President Biden has done a great deal for our country, but it’s time to follow in the footsteps of one of our founding fathers, George Washington, and step aside so new leadership can rise up and take on Donald Trump,” Moulton told radio station WBUR on Thursday.

However, as the Trump campaign pointed out to reporters, there are no calls from senior Democratic Party officials for Trump to resign.

Reports emerged on Friday that Sen. Mark Warner was forming a group with Democratic senators to call on Biden to drop out of the race. Includes Washington Post articlesuggested Warner had deep concerns following the CNN debate.

Biden told reporters late Friday that Warner was “the only person considering it” and that his understanding was that no one else was asking him to resign.

The same day, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, a Democrat and ally of Biden, issued a statement calling on the president to “carefully evaluate” whether she remained the Democratic nominee.

“Whatever President Biden decides, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump,” she said.

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Some Democrats are also losing confidence in Biden’s ability to campaign: A Wall Street Journal poll released Friday found that 86% of Democrats say they support Biden, down from 93% in February.

At a rally in Madison, Several Biden supporters told BBC News: They said they support his reelection and aren’t worried about the debate debacle.

“I’m not worried about his health. I think he’ll be able to hang in there until the election and beyond,” said Susan Shotliff, 56, an elementary school teacher.

As Biden struggled to find words, some urged him to pay more attention to his Republican rival. [Trump] “He lied a lot,” said Greg Hoebel, 67. “Is that worse than what Biden did?”

Others are more concerned. “I would have liked to have seen first-hand what he was like as a person, his mannerisms, his energy,” said Madison health researcher Thomas Loeffler. “I’m worried about whether he can beat Trump.”

“I think this is going to get more and more serious as he gets older, but no matter what, I’m going to vote Democrat,” he said.

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