California Democrat 'getting pretty close' to calling for Biden to step aside

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Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) on Monday said he’s “getting pretty close” to joining the handful of House Democrats publicly calling on President Biden to withdraw from the race.

In an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Peters said he wants to hear the Biden campaign acknowledge members’ concerns as legitimate and articulate a plan to address falling poll numbers “to win this election and turn things around, particularly in those swing states.”

“But it’s been over a week,” Peters continued, “and I haven’t heard that yet. So I’m getting pretty close to saying it’s time to make a switch.”

Peters said Biden has “earned reelection,” pointing to Biden’s accomplishments on civil rights, infrastructure and leading the country out of the pandemic.

“The problem is,” he continued, “the polls aren’t going that way. We were in trouble before that debate. We wanted a boost. We didn’t get a boost. In fact, we had a setback. I think we have to be really clear-eyed about where we’re going, and it’s not in a good direction.”

In recent days, six House Democrats have publicly said it is time for Biden to bow out of the race, amid concerns about his standing at the top of the ticket. Several more have expressed the same sentiment privately.

At the same time, however, many members have come out fiercely defending Biden, praising his record and noting the American people chose the president to be the Democratic nominee.

Peters acknowledged the time constraints associated with potentially replacing Biden at the top of the ticket. Asked about a timeline for the party to make a final decision on next steps, Peters said, “I don’t think we let this go by, past this week.”

“We got to make sure that we get this cleared up this week. And I want to hear from the campaign how they expect to win this, win this campaign in those swing states, where we’ve gone backwards since the debate when we needed a boost.”

Peters did not say explicitly whether he supports Vice President Harris as Biden’s theoretical replacement.

“We have a deep bench. We have a lot of potential nominees,” Peters said when asked whether Harris would make a stronger candidate than Biden.

“As a Californian, I’m partial to the vice president, but I think I like the idea of a mini primary like Rep. Clyburn suggested recently,” Peters continued, referring to Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.). “Let’s have a look at everyone, and again, let’s focus on those six to 10 states.”

Peters stressed the importance of focusing on the swing states and noted that many of the party leaders are from either New York, California or Massachusetts.

“We should be really listening to folks in those states, including the elected governors and senators we have there about who’s best to win those states … and make sure that a Democrat stays in the White House,” he said.

Biden and his campaign have maintained that he will not drop out of the race. Biden, in an interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” dared other Democrats to challenge him at the national convention this summer, emphasizing that he believes he is the best candidate to beat Trump.

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