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Biden tells congressional Democrats he is "firmly committed" to staying in 2024 race

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White House grilled over Parkinson's specialist visits with Biden doctor 02:54

Washington — President Biden on Monday sent a letter to congressional Democrats saying he is "firmly committed" to staying in the race and making clear that he wouldn't be running again if he "did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024."

Mr. Biden also spoke to Democratic donors in a call, saying that he was done talking about the debate, according to a source familiar with the discussion during the call. "I'm not going anywhere and I'm going to beat Trump," he said in the call, which came hours after the letter to congressional Democrats.  

When asked how he would prepare differently for the next debate, which is scheduled for September, Mr. Biden said he would "attack, attack, attack," the source said.  

Lawmakers are returning to Washington this week after a July 4 recess, which came as questions about Mr. Biden's ability to serve another term roiled the political sphere following a disastrous debate performance last month. A slow leak of Democratic lawmakers have since called on Mr. Biden to step aside from the race, while others have expressed their continued support. And the president has been clear that he will not drop out. 

In the letter, the president cited the votes he received in the primaries so far, saying "the voters of the Democratic Party have voted," and selected him as their presumptive nominee. Mr. Biden surpassed the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic Party's nomination in March, and now has secured 3,896 delegates. There are 1,976 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination at the convention in August.

President Biden Returns To White House
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden return to the White House with first lady Jill Biden on July 7, 2024 in Washington, DC.  Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Mr. Biden said the question of "how to move forward" had been aired for more than a week, saying it's "time for it to end."

"We have 42 days to the Democratic Convention and 119 days to the general election," he said. "Any weakening of resolve or lack of clarity about the task ahead only helps Trump and hurts us." 

The president has been working to assuage concerns about his ability to serve another term with a number of appearances in recent days. And at every turn, he's made clear his intention to stay in the race — from a highly anticipated interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos on Friday to rallies in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania over the holiday weekend.  

Mr. Biden has also made outreach efforts, with a campaign official saying he personally made 20 calls to congressional members since the debate. Additional calls are expected. 

On Monday morning, the president also called in to MSNBC's "Morning Joe," in an unexpected and uncharacteristic move, where he defiantly defended his ability to remain in the race and serve another term in office. The president called the debate a "terrible night," but he argued that he should be measured by his record, while contrasting it with Trump, calling the former president a "pathological liar."

But it's unclear whether the efforts to quell concerns among the party, and especially elected officials, will be successful. Attention will be especially this week paid to Mr. Biden's support in the Senate, where he represented Delaware for more than three decades. No Senate Democrats have publicly called for the president to step aside, while some members have publicly expressed their support. And Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia scrapped a Monday meeting with a group of Senate Democrats to discuss the president's bid, a source familiar with the senator's thinking confirmed to CBS News. 

Ed O'Keefe, Nikole Killion, Scott MacFarlane, Sara Cook and Fin Gómez contributed reporting.

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