A much more energetic President Joe Biden greeted his supporters at a rally in Raleigh Friday afternoon after what both sides of the aisle is calling a disastrous performance in a debate against former President Donald Trump Thursday night.

The rally, held in the Jim Graham Building at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, featured opening remarks from Attorney General and Democratic governor candidate Josh Stein, Eric Fitts, senior director leadership coach with Wake County Public School System, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, and First Lady Jill Biden, and music from rap musicians E-40 and Fat Joe.

This was Biden’s third visit to Raleigh this year, underscoring the importance of North Carolina in fundraising and winning the White House. Both Cooper and Biden pointed that out during the rally.

Stein did not mention Biden during his remarks but had plenty to say about his opponent, Lt. Gov. and Republican candidate for governor Mark Robinson.

Stein accused Robinson of having a vision of division and hate and said he calls teachers “wicked people and demons” and calling gay people “filth.”

“He is a self-described conspiracy theorist,” Stein said. “He denies the 2020 election results, he denies the climate crisis, he even denies the Holocaust. Friends, we must deny him the governorship of North Carolina and we can, but it won’t be easy. We live in this state, and we know how tough elections are in this state.”

Stein predicted that this November Democrats will break the supermajority in the General Assembly, put friendly judges on the bench and under the Council of State, defeat Mark Robinson, and keep the White House.

Cooper said Stein needs to win the governor’s race to continue Democrats “progress.”

“We have to win to stop the Republican legislature from their worst instincts and we know what they are,” he said. Turning his talk back to the presidential race, Cooper said that Trump would be a dictator if he is re-elected.

“Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy and our nation, and we have to stop him,” he said. “Joe Biden made a bipartisan infrastructure bill happen when Donald Trump couldn’t, and now our roads and bridges are being updated, our ports and railways are being brought into the 21st century, and our small businesses in rural communities are getting high-speed internet access. Joe Biden increased healthcare coverage while Donald Trump tried to take it away.”

Cooper had high praise for Biden, who he said convinced the North Carolina Republican legislature to finally expand Medicaid by getting the state extra mental health money.

Jill Biden repeatedly told the crowd how much she had loved her husband since she first met him.

“What you saw last night on the debate stage was Joe Biden, a president with integrity and character who told the truth, and Donald Trump told lie after lie after lie,” she said.

Fitts, who shared a Cook Out meal with Biden in his home after Biden’s January appearance in Raleigh, introduced the president saying that his student loan debt had been forgiven just a few months earlier before meeting him for the first time, enabling him to become the educator that he is  today.

Once named Wake County’s “Principal of the Year,” Fitts started his current position in 2022 at a salary of $125,520.

Fitts introduced Biden, who told his supporters, “I’m here in North Carolina for one reason because I intend to win this state in November.”

Possibly acknowledging his lackluster performance at the debate, Biden admitted that he wasn’t a young man and said that he doesn’t debate as well as he used to, but he tells the truth.

“I know how to do this job,” he said. “When you get knocked down, you get back up.”

He repeated many of the same talking points that he brought up before and during the debate, including how he and Vice-President Kamala Harris will make Roe v. Wade “the law of the land” again, further cut the cost of prescription drugs, protect the Affordable Care Act, provide clean drinking water, affordable high-speed Internet, quality education for every child, secure the border and protect legal immigration.

In addition to his promises, Biden repeated the same jabs he took at Trump during the debate, saying he had the “morals of an alley cat,” how Trump refused to go to the gravesites of WWI veterans, calling them “suckers and losers,” a point Trump vehemently denied during the debate.

He also called Trump a “one-man crime wave,” referring to his conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Trump had pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Biden did stumble when he said that Trump lied about having nothing to do with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, saying that Trump sat in the private dining room off of Biden’s Oval Office.

On a related note, on Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a participant in the riot who challenged his conviction for a federal “obstruction” crime.

He added that day was an international embarrassment for the US.

Debate fallout

However, last night, the tables were turned when Biden appeared to be out of it, not focused, and low on energy, stumbling over his words and freezing during the debate with Trump. Those on both sides of the aisle, including those in the media like the New York Times, are calling for him to drop out of the presidential race.

Biden-Trump Debate, June 27, 2024. Source: CNN’s YouTube page.

People worldwide were also left stunned by Biden’s performance, with one person from Romania commenting on a thread on X, “I think the US is the laughing stock of the world.”

During Friday’s speech in Raleigh, Biden repeated a familiar talking point, repeating that inflation was 9% when he took office in January 2021. CNN and other fact checkers have pointed out the claim is false, with the rate actually having been 1.4%. However, it rose to 9.1% in June 2022, more than 16 months after Biden took office. He said the rate was now 3% and still going down. The lowest rate was 3.2% in February, now at 3.3%.

Biden said at the end of his speech that Trump believes that America is a failing nation.

“He’s dead wrong,” he said. “America is not a losing nation. America’s winning.”