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Biden will "100%" be the Democratic presidential nominee, says campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez

Biden 2024 campaign manager on state of race
Biden 2024 campaign manager breaks down state of presidential race 24:31

As some Democrats continue to call for a Democratic primary challenge against President Joe Biden, his campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, expressed confidence that he'll be the 2024 nominee. 

In an interview Thursday, CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe asked her about the odds she'd place on Mr. Biden being the Democratic nominee. 

"I'd say 100%," she responded. "You know, what we're seeing is a stronger and more united Democratic Party than I know I've seen in my lifetime. You know, the Democratic National Committee has never been stronger." 

A CBS News poll this week indicated that former President Donald Trump has a slight edge over the current president, with 50% of likely voters saying they would support Trump and 49% supporting Biden, a statistical tie.  

Chavez Rodriguez declined to say whether the Biden campaign believed Trump, who is polling far ahead of any of his Republican opponents, would be Mr. Biden's general election opponent.  

"We're not gonna — kinda make any predictions about you know, what, who our opponent is going to be," Chavez Rodriguez said. "At the end of the day though, we're going to ensure that everyone understands no matter who our opponent is, they're coming with the same extreme agenda that we've seen time and time again, whether it's from folks like Trump or DeSantis, or whomever else may be." 

President Biden Delivers Economics Speech At Prince George's Community College In Maryland
President Joe Biden greets members of the audience after delivering remarks at Prince George's Community College on Sept.14, 2023 in Largo, Maryland.  Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

"While Republicans continue to waste resources fighting amongst themselves and trying to 'out-MAGA' one another with the next you know, most extreme position, whether it's a national abortion ban or continuing to scapegoat immigrants, we're going to have the competitive advantage and continue to reach out to voters that we know are going to help us win in November," she added.  

Chavez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of farm labor champion Cesar Chavez, also told O'Keefe it was "extremely surreal" to see the statue of her grandfather that sits in the Oval Office.  

"At times I feel like I had to walk into the Oval Office and sort of keep it out of my vision," Chavez Rodriguez said. "It's such an emotional thing for me to see because, for me, what it symbolizes is not just my own personal history, but really the history of a people in this country who have contributed so much, who have literally put food on our table."  

Chavez Rodriguez will try to draw on her personal background to boost the president's standing with Hispanic voters, as more Hispanic voters in the CBS News poll said they believed Trump would defeat Mr. Biden in the 2024 election.  

The president, too, has long been an outspoken proponent for labor unions, and he said last week that the nation's auto workers ought to "receive a fair share of the benefits they helped create," amid the union's strike against the big three U.S. automakers. Chavez Rodriguez slammed Trump and Republicans for policies she said would hurt auto workers.

"Republicans and folks like Donald Trump, they've been absolutely horrible for American auto workers," Chavez Rodriguez said. "They've shipped jobs overseas. They've increased you know, tax cuts for the rich. That's not the kind of, you know, vision that helps the American worker."

Trump, who is skipping the second GOP primary debate and instead plans to address union workers in Detroit at the same time, has echoed the concerns of auto workers that Mr. Biden's push for electric vehicles will hurt them. Fewer workers are needed to manufacture the cars, and battery plants are opening in right-to-work states, rather than union-friendly sites. 

"The auto workers are not going to have any jobs when you come right down to it, because if you take a look at what they're doing with electric cars, electric cars are going to be made in China," Trump said on NBC News' "Meet the Press."

In her new role as campaign manager, Chavez Rodriguez said she communicates regularly with the president and that she has trained herself to answer every phone call, since the president sometimes calls her unexpectedly.   

"Rest assured, [Mr. Biden] is very engaged. And look, he knows what's at stake, and he understands that, you know, we have an important kind of story and message to tell, but he also knows that we have an important job to do as a campaign," Chavez Rodriguez said.  

The campaign is ramping up as the president's son, Hunter Biden, is set to face federal gun possession charges and possibly others. He did not have an active public role during the 2020 campaign, and Chavez Rodriguez would not say whether he would again maintain a low profile in 2024.

"We're building a strong surrogate campaign and operation," she said, adding later, "We'll have a great kind of surrogate cohort" deployed next Wednesday to the site of the Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif. 

Watch Ed O'Keefe's interview with Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez Thursday at 5 p.m. on CBS News' "America Decides."

Cara Korte, Allison Sandza and Grace Kazarian contributed to this story.  

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