Washington Senator Jeff Merkley says President Biden’s debate performance raises ‘important issues’

Washington Senator Jeff Merkley says President Biden’s debate performance raises ‘important issues’

President Joe Biden is greeted upon his arrival at Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is second from right. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PORTLAND, Oregon (COIN) — Add Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley to growing list of Democrats concerned President Joe Biden’s re-election efforts He came under intense criticism for his performance against Republican rival Donald Trump last month.

Merkley spoke with KOIN 6 News Political Director Ken Boddie on Wednesday morning ahead of a special program called Northwest Politics Spotlight airing this Sunday.

Merkley stopped short of explicitly calling on Biden to step aside during the speech, but hinted that he was open to the idea of ​​Democrats choosing another candidate.

Merkley said Biden’s debate performance raised “significant issues” and that those concerns should be seriously addressed.

“I believe right now the presidential train, the campaign train, is heading toward a bridge,” Merkley said. “And that bridge is in disrepair. And that’s a problem. So either the bridge needs to be fixed or the train needs to be stopped.”

KOIN 6 also reached out to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who said he advises the president to hold more “unscripted” town hall meetings, which will show voters that he is a “real person” by looking them in the eye.

“President Biden said he had a bad night,” Wyden added in a statement. “But I am proud of the results Democrats and I have achieved with him over the past four years in Oregon and across the country. The voters of his state and across America rightfully fired Donald Trump in 2020. And they will not rehire him in 2024.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he partially believes Biden “He should not be the Democrat candidate for president.”

Blumenauer praised Biden for his accomplishments, calling him “the most successful president of the last 50 years” for managing everything from helping the country recover from COVID to tackling the climate crisis and rebuilding the economy. But he also said the challenge facing the country “is not just about extending his presidency, it’s also about preserving democracy.”

“While this is a decision for the president and the first lady, I hope they come to the same conclusion that I and others have come to: President Biden should not be the Democratic nominee for president,” Blumenauer said. “It’s a painful and difficult conclusion, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we would all be better served if the president stepped down as the Democratic nominee and managed a transition on his own terms. He’s earned that right.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have scheduled a lunch meeting with senior Biden advisers on Thursday, after which Biden has scheduled a news conference that will be closely watched amid concerns about his age and mental acuity.

Watch Merkley’s full interview on Eye on Northwest Politics this Sunday at 6 p.m. on KOIN 6 and 4:30 p.m. on Portland’s CW.