WASHINGTON — President Biden on Wednesday dismissed polling that suggests Americans are not interested in seeing a rematch between him and former President Donald J. Trump, saying he has a “job to finish” in bolstering the economy and reasserting U.S. leadership abroad.
Mr. Biden, who is hosting President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea in Washington this week, was asked by a reporter during a Rose Garden news conference whether he believed he was the only Democrat who could defeat Mr. Trump.
“I may not be the only one, but I know him well and I know the danger he presents to our democracy,” Mr. Biden said of his predecessor. He added that he probably would have decided to run again even if Mr. Trump had not entered the race.
Recent polls show that Democrats are deeply ambivalent about Mr. Biden running again. They are broadly pleased with his job performance, but in addition to concerns about the president’s age, they want to see him clear the way for a younger generation of Democratic leaders to step up.
Mr. Biden also was asked how he would respond to people who have reservations about his age. (Mr. Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term.)
Mr. Biden said that he respected their concerns — “I can’t even say, the number doesn’t register with me,” he remarked at one point — but he said he was optimistic about his re-election message.
“I respect them taking a hard look at it,” Mr. Biden said. “I take a hard look at as well. I took a hard look at it before I decided to run. And I feel good. I feel excited about the prospects.”
In the Rose Garden, Mr. Biden made a case for extending his role as a “bridge” to a younger generation, as he has portrayed himself. He said that Mr. Trump had frayed America’s most meaningful global relationships, and that the national debt had ballooned under Mr. Trump’s leadership.
Mr. Trump, who is 76, announced his candidacy late last year. He has spent the past 24 hours trying to rouse his donors and supporters by attacking Mr. Biden. (“Joe Biden couldn’t even deliver a REAL SPEECH to announce his presidential campaign,” read an email signed by Mr. Trump and sent to supporters on Wednesday morning.)
Mr. Trump is under criminal indictment by the Manhattan district attorney, a Democrat, on charges of covering up hush money paid to a porn actress. He also is being investigated by the Justice Department for instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and illegally refusing to turn over classified documents.
As Mr. Biden spoke on Wednesday, House Republicans were preparing to vote on a bill that would pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling while cutting domestic spending — a measure that would be dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate. As part of his re-election message, the president has tried to make the case to Americans that his experience (which has come with, yes, age) could be beneficial to navigating the collision course that lies ahead with congressional Republicans over debt spending.
Mr. Biden also said his experience would be helpful on the world stage.
“There’s still a contest between autocracies and democracies. And we’re the leading democracy in the world,” Mr. Biden said. “And it’s something I know a fair amount about, something I care about.”
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