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Newsom doubles down on support for Biden in Michigan: ‘I believe in his character’


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California Gov. Gavin Newsom remains steadfastly committed to the Biden-Harris 2024 presidential ticket, despite admitting during an Independence Day Democratic campaign event in Michigan that the presidential debate against former President Donald Trump “did not go as well” as Biden had hoped. 

“I was asked and tasked by President Biden, proudly, to fly from California to Georgia to represent the campaign right after that debate,” Newsom told a crowd of supporters at the Van Buren Dems BBQ for Biden-Harris in South Haven, Michigan, on Thursday. 

“I had a lot of talking points in mind, you may have noticed if you saw me, I didn’t bring them with me. And that’s to make the obvious point – things did not go as well as the campaign had hoped, and obviously did not go as well as President Biden had hoped,” he said. 

Newsom – who has vehemently denied claims that he’s running a “shadow campaign” to replace Biden – was among the 20 Democratic governors who had a private meeting with Biden on Wednesday night at the White House for about an hour and a half. 

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A growing number of major liberal outlets have urged Biden to bow out of his re-election bid following his presidential debate last week.  (Biden speaks at a rally in Virginia)

“It could have gone two or three hours,” Newsom said of the meeting. “And I mean this with absolute conviction. That was the Joe Biden I remember from two weeks ago. That was the Joe Biden that I remember from two years ago. That’s the Joe Biden that I’m looking forward to reelecting as president of the United States.”

“Things did not go as well as the campaign had hoped, and obviously did not go as well as President Biden had hoped.”

— Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif.

The aim of the meeting was to shore up support among the party’s top leaders and stave off diminishing confidence in Biden’s candidacy.

Among the Democratic governors who were planning to attend in person were Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who leads the Democratic Governors Association, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, among others.

Newsom added he’s been “going wherever” he’s been asked by the administration, and doing “whatever task, large and small, because I believe in this man.”

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Newsom smirks at news conference in Sacramento

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

“I believe in his character,” he said.

The Golden State governor will also be headed to New Hampshire to headline a Democrat campaign event next week, fueling more speculation that he may be preparing to step in if Biden backs out of the 2024 race. 

New Hampshire is a key swing state in the general election and Newsom, who is a top surrogate for President Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign, will also be campaigning for the president and other Democrats up and down the ticket during his stop in the Granite State, according to sources familiar with his plans.

FETTERMAN HITS NEWSOM FOR NOT HAVING ‘GUTS’ TO ADMIT HE’S RUNNING SHADOW CAMPAIGN AGAINST BIDEN

Newsom and Biden

Newsom insists he is not gunning to replace Biden. (Getty Images)

After Biden’s lackluster performance during the debate against Trump, Newsom assured reporters in the spin room that he remained firmly behind Biden — who has faced significant criticism even from members of his own party for a lackluster performance.

“I will never turn my back on President Biden,” Newsom said on Thursday in a comment that appeared designed to dispel rumors that he’s running a shadow campaign. “I don’t know a Democrat in my party that would do so. And especially after tonight, we have his back.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Newsom added: “I spent a lot of time with him. I know Joe Biden. I know what he’s accomplished in the last three and a half years. I know what he’s capable of. And I have no trepidations.”

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Leading up to last week’s first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle, Biden’s mental acuity became the center of political discourse last month after a bombshell Washington Journal report – which the White House dismissed – revealed that many lawmakers on Capitol Hill had questions about Biden’s mental acuity after many said his aging was apparent in private meetings.

Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser and Bradford Betz contributed to this report. 

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