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Authored by Philip Wegmann via RealClearPolitics,

The White House did not appreciate the repeated assertions from Nikki Haley earlier this year that Vice President Kamala Harris, not President Biden, would be the next Democratic nominee.

“I’m not sure what crystal ball she’s looking at, but it’s not the one we have,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a Feb. 15 press briefing when asked about that allegation, after reiterating Biden’s intentions to run for president in 2024.

Haley, during her own ill-fated campaign for the GOP nomination, argued that “a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris.” The president, she warned, was too old to finish the job.

Fast forward four months.

The Haley assertion that Harris would succeed Biden atop the ticket now seems less like an unsubstantiated conspiracy and more like a possible exit ramp for Democrats worried about the president’s age after his disastrous debate showing. Harris is viewed as the most likely replacement. The vice president has a national profile and is the only candidate who could access funds raised by the Biden-Harris campaign.

South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn already made clear that if Biden steps aside, he would throw his support to Harris. “I’m a Biden-Harris person, OK?” he told the Wall Street Journal.So, I’m not getting away from that. I’m going to be for Biden, if Harris ain’t there, and I’ll be for Harris, if Biden ain’t there.”

Former Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan has already called on his party to make a switch.

I was the first Presidential candidate to endorse Joe Biden in 2020. I love America. I love our Party. I love Joe Biden,” Ryan wrote in a Newsweek op-ed published Monday. “The Democratic nominee in 2024 should be Kamala Harris.

The early polling picture shows Harris, not Biden, in a better position to defeat Trump. A CNN poll conducted after the debate has Biden losing to Trump by six points, 49% to 43%. With Harris as the nominee, in a hypothetical matchup, Democrats trail Trump by just two points, 47% to 45%.

A clearer picture for Biden will likely emerge after the Fourth of July holiday. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the president told “a key ally” that he is weighing whether to remain in the race. According to the bombshell report, Biden admitted in that private conversation that he has just days to salvage his candidacy and assure the public he can do the job for another four years. 

The White House dismissed the Times report as “absolutely false.” Harris, for her part, has stood by Biden, arguing that “Trump is still a liar” and Democrats should “deal with what we’ve got.” The president and vice president were scheduled to lunch together Tuesday.

There is no way that Joe Biden is going to finish his term. I think Kamala Harris is going to be the next president, and that should send a chill up ever Americans’ spine,” Nikki Haley said during a contentious interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos last August.

Excuse me, excuse me, one second about that. How do you know Joe Biden is not going to finish his term? What is that based on?” the anchor protested.

“I mean, if you look at the decline … every person should be able to tell what country they were in the week before. He couldn’t do that,” Haley replied. “Every person should be able to tell how many grandkids they have. It’s the reason I’ve asked for mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75. I don’t care if we do it for over the age of 50! But we need to understand that the people in D.C., they’re making decisions on our national security. They’re making decisions on the future of our children’s economic policy. We need to make sure we’ve got someone at the top of their game. Joe Biden is not at the top of his game. You know it. I know it. The American people know it.”

Biden is scheduled to sit down with Stephanopoulos on Friday for his first post-debate interview. That interview, which will likely touch on the president’s age, has been billed as a make or break moment.

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