Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) hit the campaign trail for President Joe Biden in South Carolina on Wednesday and Thursday, where he vouched for Biden’s mental fitness.
Newsom’s barnstorming for Biden comes as the February 3, South Carolina Democrat primary is rapidly approaching after the president won a write-in campaign in New Hampshire over his challengers, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and third-party candidate Marianne Williamson. It also comes as the RealClearPolling average as of Friday has Biden nearly four points behind former President Donald Trump.
As Politico California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago wrote, at an event in Allendale, South Carolina, Mayor James L. Cohen raised concerns to Newsom “about the ‘narrative’ that Biden is not mentally fit to stand for reelection.”
Allendale’s mayor said he’s worried the Fox News attacks on Biden’s competency / fitness are bleeding into other networks’ coverage.
He asked Newsom whether Biden is fit to serve, based on his own experiences w/ him pic.twitter.com/AzzNP64UVY
— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) January 26, 2024
Cadelago later shared a video of Newsom’s answer to X. After stammering for a few seconds, Newsom vouched for Biden’s fitness for office, noting he and Biden have spent plenty of time together in recent years.
“I do not understand that narrative. This guy is next-level energy in private,” he claimed. “If he was in a room like this, he’d light you guys up. His ability to connect — we all know Bill Clinton, his ability to connect, I think it’s right up there.”
He also claimed he and the 81-year-old president had a robust private conversation about artificial intelligence, where Biden spoke on the topic in-depth, without referencing notes.
Newsom’s defense comes as a Harvard-Harris poll, published on January 22, showed 63 percent of Americans, including 31 percent of Democrats, “have doubts about [Biden’s] fitness.”
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Similarly, 69 percent of poll respondents said, “Biden is showing he is too old to be president.” The poll was conducted from January 17-18 and sampled 2,346 registered voters.
It was unclear what day the event in Allendale occurred, but Newsom was in several counties over the two-day period.
He spoke in Bluffton in Beaufort County and at Claflin University in Orangeburg County on Wednesday, as Politico and WLTX noted, respectively. On Thursday, he spoke at Morris College in Sumter County, as the Sumter Item noted.
While in Bluffton, he met with members of the Sun City Hilton Head retirement community and attacked Trump as a “deranged” and “damaged” candidate, as documented by WCSC.
He also noted he hopes that former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) will plow forward with her quixotic campaign as it benefits Democrats and hurts Trump.
“The longer she stays in, the better it is as a humble Democrat. From that perspective, let’s hope it continues for many, many months,” Newsom said, per the outlet.