Biden has privately acknowledged next stretch of days are critical for whether he can save his reelection bid


President Joe Biden has privately acknowledged that the next stretch of days are critical to whether he can save his reelection bid for president, making clear to an ally Tuesday that he understands what would prompt him to accept: “It’s just not working.”

“He sees the moment. He’s clear-eyed,” this person told CNN.

There is no ambiguity for the president about what series of events in the coming weeks would ultimately prompt him to acknowledge that his attempt to make amends for last week’s disastrous debate on CNN aren’t working.

It would be a scenario in which “the polls are plummeting, the fundraising is drying up, and the interviews are going badly,” that person said. “He’s not oblivious.”

In the days since Biden’s stunningly halting debate showing, Democrats across the country have expressed grave concern. Some elected officials have even begun to publicly call on Biden to drop out for the good of the party.

The New York Times reported separately on Wednesday that Biden acknowledged that he may not be able to save his campaign if he does not perform well in public events over the next several days. The White House denied that reporting.

In Tuesday’s private conversation, Biden was also “chastened” as he “blamed himself” – not his staff – for the debate performance.

“He said: ‘I have done way too much foreign policy,’” this person said. Biden said that the back-to-back trips to France and Italy – and the jet lag and exhaustion that had caused – were detrimental but that he wanted to put the debate in the rearview mirror.

The president said at a fundraiser in Virginia Tuesday night that going on two significant foreign trips right before the debate had been a bad idea.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

CNN’s Michael Williams contributed to this report.

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