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Bidenmentum & Britt V.P. Odds

joe biden
Many Democrats said that Biden's performance felt akin to a rousing, the-game-is-on-the-line locker room speech, and that they’re ready to go full Braveheart. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Abby Livingston
March 11, 2024

It’s been four whole days, and Joe Biden’s surprisingly punchy State of the Union address is still reverberating among Democrats in Washington. Yes, the agitation is partly due to the president’s spontaneous usage of the word “illegal” in a back-and-forth with Marjorie Taylor Greene—a gaffe that bothered almost nobody outside the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and younger progressives, and the White House officials who were tasked with cleaning up the mess. But for most Democrats, the speech was a smashing success (and, honestly, an enormous relief). In conversations with two members, each independently volunteered the word “electric” when describing the mood inside the chamber.

Republicans argued to me that Biden’s SOTU speech will likely be the high-water mark of his campaign. Perhaps that is true—yes, yes, November is light-years away—but the speech seems to have catalyzed a fundamental shift among Democrats on Capitol Hill. A week earlier, it wasn’t uncommon to hear doubt, even despondency, among the president’s allies. And there are still plenty of Democrats who fret about Biden’s underwhelming polling,  worryingly high unfavorables, and the sandbag of it all. After his address, however, there’s a real sense not only that the election is winnable, but that Biden is the candidate to win it.