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Democratic Senator Criticizes Biden Campaign Over Its Debate Pushback

Democratic Senator Criticizes Biden Campaign Over Its Debate Pushback

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Senator Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, on Monday accused President Biden’s campaign of diminishing concerns within the party about Mr. Biden’s age and acuity, questions that he said were fair game after the president’s struggles in Thursday’s debate against former President Donald J. Trump.

“I really do criticize the campaign for a dismissive attitude towards people who are raising questions for discussion,” Mr. Welch told Semafor, a digital news site. “That’s just facing the reality that we’re in.”

Mr. Welch was alluding to a fund-raising email that the Biden campaign sent to its supporters on Saturday in which Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Rob Flaherty, described people calling for Mr. Biden to drop out of the race as the “bedwetting brigade.”

“The campaign has raised the concerns themselves,” Mr. Welch said. “So then to be dismissive of others who raise those concerns, I think it’s inappropriate.”

The Biden campaign declined to comment on Tuesday.

During a campaign rally on Friday in North Carolina, Mr. Biden acknowledged that his debate performance missed the mark and said “I know I’m not a young man.” His campaign continued that theme in an ad that was released on Monday.

Mr. Welch said that Democrats had an “existential responsibility” to defeat Mr. Trump in November.

“Passivity is not the response that is going to work for us,” he said. “We all have to be self-conscious.”

He continued: “We all have to be acutely aware that our obligation is to the country, even more than the party.”

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