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Biden Falters In Fiery Debate With Trump

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A halting Joe Biden struggled Thursday to allay concerns he is too old for a second term in the White House in a fiery debate with Donald Trump marked by personal insults.

A bombastic Trump lashed out at his successor, calling him a failure on the economy and the world stage.

Biden looked to hit back, but his delivery was faltering as he spoke rapidly in a raspy, trailing-off voice, stumbled on his words and stared open-mouthed.

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His performance, after he spent the week secluded in preparation, sparked new concern within his Democratic Party as polls show Trump is tied or ahead for the November election.

It was the first debate ever between a president and former president — and each accused the other of being history’s worst.

Trump and Biden, who were each the oldest president when first elected, even accused each other of being childlike as they argued over their golf swings.

Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, did not shake hands as they walked to their podiums at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. There was no live audience and their microphones were muted as the other spoke.

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READ ALSO: Revenge I’ll Take On Joe Biden If… Donald Trump

Biden hit Trump with clearly rehearsed lines as he sought to remind millions of television viewers that Trump would be the first convicted felon in the White House.

“You have the morals of an alley cat,” Biden said.

Trump, a veteran of rallies and reality television, spoke loudly as he ran through a long list of complaints about Biden’s record.

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“I’m friends with a lot of people. They cannot believe what happened to the United States of America. We’re no longer respected,” Trump said.

Trump sought to seize on Biden’s delivery, saying at one point, “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don’t think he knows what he said either.”

– ‘Slow start’ –

Stopping by a Waffle House restaurant to pick up food after the debate, Biden told reporters he had soar throat but “I think we did well.”

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The White House was clearly in damage-control mode.

Vice President Kamala Harris, in a live interview on CNN, said Biden’s record was “extraordinarily strong” but acknowledged concerns about his debate performance.

“Yes, there was a slow start, but it was a strong finish,” Harris said.

Kate Bedingfield, a former Biden communications director, said on CNN that “it was a really disappointing” evening for the president.

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READ ALSO: Supreme Court Judge Refuses To Step Aside In Trump Case

“I don’t think there is any other way to slice it,” she said.

A CNN poll found 67 percent of debate watchers thought Trump had won.

Democrats are set formally to name Biden as their candidate in August in Chicago, with little way to change course unless the president himself withdraws.

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But Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University, said Biden’s supporters would be “extremely concerned.”

“Biden fueled the basic perception that has continued to overshadow him,” he said.

At a watch party in San Francisco, Hazel Reitz said she would still vote for Biden but added: “I can’t understand a word that he says. Isn’t it sad?”

READ: Trump Accused Of Saying N-word On Season 1 Of ‘Apprentice’ When Talking About Black Contestant

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– Personal attacks –

Neither candidate laid out new policies, with most of the exchanges consisting of attacks on the other’s record.

In one of the most personal moments, Biden cited accounts that Trump had described soldiers who died in the Normandy landing as “suckers” and noted his own son Beau, who served in Iraq and later died of cancer.

“My son was not a loser, was not a sucker. You’re the sucker. You’re the loser,” Biden said.

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Trump denied the remarks and repeatedly accused Biden of not being coherent.

On foreign policy, Trump accused Biden — who faces a backlash from parts of his Democratic base over his support for Israel — of not helping Israel “finish the job” against Hamas.

“He doesn’t want to do it. He’s become like a Palestinian — but they don’t like him because he’s a very bad Palestinian, he’s a weak one,” Trump said.

Trump described Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as the “most embarrassing moment in the history of our country” and said it encouraged Russia to invade Ukraine.

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Biden, however, noted that he was the first recent president who has not had soldiers at risk overseas.

Trump and Biden also locked horns over abortion and immigration, key issues for their respective bases.

Biden, attacking Trump for appointing justices to the Supreme Court who ended Roe vs. Wade, the decision that allowed abortion rights around the country, said: “It’s been a terrible thing, what you’ve done.”

One candidate not on the stage was anti-establishment activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who failed to meet CNN’s threshold of reaching 15 percent in four national polls.

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Kennedy instead spent the 90 minutes taking questions on a livestream.

AFP

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Three Nigerians sentenced To 235 Years In US Prison

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A court in Mississippi, United States of America has sentenced three Nigerians to 235 years in prison.

The jury found all the three personguilty of mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property.

Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was sentenced to 95 years in prison, while Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, got 115 years jail term.

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READ ALSO: Applicants Decry N640,000 UAE Visa Fee Hike

Also, Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, received 25 years in jail.

They were convicted for running online scams.

They were said to have duped people of tens of millions of dollars.

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Deadly Blaze Kills Even In France

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An apartment building blaze early Thursday killed seven people in the southern French city of Nice and police were investigating the fire as a possible arson, authorities said.

The dead include three children – 5, 7 and 10 years old – and a 17-year-old teenager who tried to escape by jumping from a window, they said.

The apartment was occupied by a family believed to have Comoran origins, the regional prefect Hugues Moutouh said, referring to the southern African island nature.

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Ten people were inside when the fire broke out.

Rescuers were alerted at around 2:30 am (0030 GMT) to the blaze on the seventh floor of the building in the low-income neighbourhood of Les Moulins, known for being a drug-dealing hub, in the west of the city.

READ ALSO: 100-year-old WWII Veteran Returns To Normandy Beach In France To Marry 96-year-old Bride[PHOTOS]

In spite of the substantial resources deployed, “unfortunately seven people died during this fire”, firefighters said.

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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on social media that the quick arrival of firefighters “probably prevented more deaths”.

Nice prosecutor Damien Martinelli said investigators were looking into a “criminal” cause for the fire.

“In light of the initial evidence, I have opened an investigation into acts of arson leading to death,” he told reporters at the scene.

The authorities said the blaze probably broke out on the building’s second floor and spread to higher floors.

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READ ALSO: Seven Sentenced To Life Imprisonment In S’Africa For B*rning Two Sisters To D@ath Over Alleged Witchcraft

Rescuers said that three people were taken to hospital, one of them with life-threatening injuries.

They said firefighters were confronted by a “raging apartment fire” on the seventh floor of the building. They carried out three aerial ladder rescues and evacuated dozens.

In total, 25 fire engines and 72 firefighters tackled the fire.

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Twenty people were evacuated to a temporary shelter, with Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi saying a crisis unit to help anyone affected by the fire.

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Biden Speaks Of Quitting Presidential Race If…

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US President Joe Biden said he could drop his reelection bid if doctors found he had a medical condition, as a top Democrat on Wednesday urged the 81-year-old to step aside.

Biden’s comments were the first time he has even slightly opened the door to abandoning the White House race, and came as Representative Adam Schiff, a key ally from California, urged Biden to “pass the torch.”

“If I had some medical condition that emerged, if somebody, if the doctors came and said ‘you’ve got this problem, that problem,’” Biden told the Black media outlet BET in an interview taped Tuesday, when asked what could make him rethink.

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Biden however defended his decision to stay on for a rematch with Republican Donald Trump in November, and explained why he had not handed over to a younger generation after one term.

READ ALSO: Biden Falters In Fiery Debate With Trump

“I said I was going to be a transitional candidate, and I thought I’d be able to move on from this, pass it on to someone else,” he said. “But I didn’t anticipate things getting so, so, so divided.”

Biden has been fighting for political survival since a disastrous debate against Trump nearly three weeks ago, in which his tired and confused appearance sparked concerns about his age.

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Schiff became the first Democrat to call for him to step aside since the assassination attempt against Trump on Saturday, which had briefly silenced the growing chorus against Biden.

READ ALSO: Russian Oil Depot Gutted By Fire After Ukrainian Drone Attack

A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the President can defeat Donald Trump in November,” Schiff said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Schiff, who is expected to win a Senate seat this November, is a key White House ally in the legislature and shot to nationwide prominence as lead prosecutor during then-president Trump’s first impeachment trial.

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Biden was set to make a fresh attempt to prop up his candidacy in a speech to crucial Latino voters in the battleground state of Nevada later Wednesday.

– ‘Pretty damn good’ –

Around 20 House Democrats and one senator have now called on Biden to leave the White House race but Biden has refused, insisting he is best placed to beat Trump.

READ ALSO: Ex-Rep Rejects Membership Of Edo APC Gov Campaign Council

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Biden, Trump agree to election debates in June, September
Most polls show Biden trailing in a tight race, with Trump pulling ahead in key swing states but no dramatic movement since the debate debacle or shooting.

Biden said his mental acuity was “pretty damn good” in an NBC interview on Monday, one of a series of unscripted outings aimed at showing he has what it takes.

With pressure on Biden mounting, Democrats said on Wednesday they plan a virtual nomination for the president in the first week of August, ahead of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 19.

Some Democrats have slammed the scheme, accusing the party of trying to ram through Biden’s candidacy and avoid a full discussion of alternative choices.

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Party chiefs say they need to carry out the virtual roll-call by August 7, which is the deadline set by the Republican-led state of Ohio for the submission of nominations.

Biden otherwise risks not being on the ballot in Ohio, the home state of Trump’s new running mate J.D. Vance.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Rema Performs ‘Calm Down’ At Indian Billionaire Ambani’s Son Wedding

While Ohio’s governor has signed a law giving Biden more time, the DNC said it feared further legal challenges.

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“None of this will be rushed,” the heads of the DNC’s rules committee said in a letter to lawmakers obtained by AFP. “No matter what may be reported, our goal is not to fast-track.”

But several lawmakers are planning to sign a letter against the virtual nomination plan and others have criticized it, according to US media.

Biden insists that Democratic voters support him, but a poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research said Wednesday that nearly two-thirds want him to step aside.

 

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