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Democratic information war: CNN, NYT and WaPo report that Biden is in the hot seat as the White House tries to convey calmness

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the president met with governors, congressmen and allies to try to save his candidacy. All this while the media reports that the president is on the brink of the abyss.

Biden is receiving pressure from allies to drop out of the race, according to the press.Voz Media Edition; photos: AFP

Newsrooms at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post are posting a bleak outlook for Joe Biden's candidacy as pressure mounts for the president to finally step out of the race.

However, as media close to the Democratic Party publish stories critical of Biden and his candidacy citing anonymous sources, the White House is making a last-ditch effort to convey reassurance to allies as campaign officials try to salvage Biden's race after the disastrous debate in Atlanta, Georgia.

The latest media outlet to publish that Biden is on the brink is The Washington Post, which published a lengthy article signed by several reporters describing Wednesday's events, ranging from the meeting between the president and Democratic governors to retirement by some congressional allies.

According to the WaPo, internally, Democrats are astonished that the president has not tried in these six days to dispel doubts about the state of his mental health and his fitness to face the last months of campaigning. The media outlet describes that governors, congressional Democrats and the party's biggest donors are debating behind the scenes about the state of the race. Many believe it is time for Biden to withdraw his candidacy. However, that has not yet been raised directly with the president, but with senior Democratic figures such as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer or former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"His critics have been shaken by his relative inaction over the previous six days to directly address the panic ignited by his halting debate performance," The Washington Post reads. "Starting Tuesday afternoon, he started calling top congressional leaders, scheduled a sit-down interview with ABC News and announced weekend campaign travel plans that will be closely scrutinized. Even a spotless performance over the coming week may not save him if significant cracks appear in public and internal polling, said senior Democratic strategists, who, like many for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations."

Biden already began taking heavy hits in the polls after the debate. One of the harshest came from the NYT, which showed Trump with a solid six-point lead over the Democratic president. The Wall Street Journal and CNN also published polls with similar results. But the Biden campaign hopes that the numbers will stabilize in the coming weeks and again be an even contest. However, many Democratic advisers doubt this is possible at this point when voters have already lost faith in the president's fitness.

“The polling isn’t changing’ is not a sufficient message,” one veteran Democratic presidential efforts told the WaPo. "The fundamental point is it is not about a single debate performance. It is about the shaky confidence that people had is now gone. And him giving two four-minute statements and reading a teleprompter at a rally and a fundraiser is not going to cut it."

The NYT itself reported earlier that Biden privately confessed to his entourage that he is thinking of dropping out of the presidential race after his debate performance. A report that was later seconded by CNN, citing sources familiar with the situation.

In tune with The Washington Post, the NYT explained that Biden has told "key allies that he knows the coming days are crucial and understands that he may not be able to salvage his candidacy if he cannot convince voters that he is up to the job after a disastrous debate performance last week."

For its part, CNN, citing a person close to Biden, laid out the scenario that would lead to the Democratic president dropping out of the race: a collapse in the polls, a plunge in fundraising and new public events and interviews that go wrong.

In any case, Biden's mission for the next few days is clear: convince the public and his allies that he is fit for office. If the president fails to do so, these media report that a withdrawal of candidacy is possible, or at least that public pressures will increase.

All these rumors about a potential withdrawal come just as it was leaked that as many as 25 congressional Democrats are planning to sign a letter calling for Biden's declination and as several representatives publicly let go of the president's hand.

In a surprising turn of events, however, hours before Biden was scheduled to meet Wednesday with Democratic governors virtually and in person, the president made a surprise appearance on a Zoom meeting with campaign and Democratic National Committee staffers to assure them all that he remains in the race and is running for the long haul.

"Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can — as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running … no one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win," Biden said on the call according to Politico, the first media outlet to report Biden's remarks and which cited two people familiar with the meeting.

Moments after Politico published the article, the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party sent emails indicating that the president will remain in the race and be the party's nominee.

These two messages, coupled with Democratic governors finally closing ranks with him overnight Wednesday, raise two very different scenarios. One that of the media, where Biden seems to hang by a thin thread, and another that of the White House and the president's own campaign, which are trying to calm the troubled waters with less than five months before the election.