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R.E.M. reunite at Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony also honoring Timbaland and Steely Dan

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R.E.M. reunite at Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony also honoring Timbaland and Steely Dan
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R.E.M. reunite at Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony also honoring Timbaland and Steely Dan

2024-06-14 18:39 Last Updated At:18:40

NEW YORK (AP) — A comet must have landed at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The members of R.E.M. had joked only hours before it would take “a comet” to get the band to perform together one last time. Yet there they were, reunited during the gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City Thursday night.

The annual event celebrated a talented group of songwriters that included R.E.M., Steely Dan and Timbaland, who conducted a medley of his massive hits.

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R.E.M. band members, from left, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A comet must have landed at the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The members of R.E.M. had joked only hours before it would take “a comet” to get the band to perform together one last time. Yet there they were, reunited during the gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City Thursday night.

Inductee Timbaland performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Johnny Mercer award honoree Diane Warren accepts her award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Johnny Mercer award honoree Diane Warren accepts her award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Andra Day performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Andra Day performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban induct Hillary Lindsey in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban induct Hillary Lindsey in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Michael Bacon, left, and Kevin Bacon perform "Footloose" at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Michael Bacon, left, and Kevin Bacon perform "Footloose" at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Keith Urban, left, and Hillary Lindsey perform at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Keith Urban, left, and Hillary Lindsey perform at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Deniece Williams performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Deniece Williams performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland accepts his award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland accepts his award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

R.E.M.'s Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe were behind numerous alt-rock hits such as “Everybody Hurts” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” On Thursday, they stunned audiences with the undisputed highlight of the night: reuniting for an acoustic version of “Losing My Religion.”

“We are R.E.M.," Stipe said. “And this is what we did."

Stipe highlighted their strength as a group and early endeavors to own their master recordings and split songwriting credits equally. “There are a lot of people who believed in us,” he said.

Jason Isbell covered the group's hit, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” Afterward he joked, “I’ve never said that many words that quickly in my whole life.”

Nashville hitmaker Hillary Lindsey, who helped write “Girl Crush” for Little Big Town and “Jesus, Take the Wheel” for Carrie Underwood, was inducted along with Dean Pitchford, who helped Kenny Loggins with the megahit “Footloose” and co-wrote “Fame” and “Holding Out For a Hero.”

The Bacon Brothers, the folk-rock duo of actor Kevin Bacon and Michael Bacon, introduced Pitchford with a rambunctious take on “Footloose,” tambourine and all. Denise Williams removed her shoes to dance while belting her Pitchford-penned hit, “Let’s Hear It For the Boy.”

“It’s been 40 years, can you believe it,” Pitchford said. “I’m deeply grateful … Above all, thank you for hearing me.” He then sang his composition, “Once Before I Go.”

Irving Azoff led the celebration of Steely Dan, telling a story about the legendary band submitting a blank glossy image as their promo artwork.

“To say they had a great sense of humor would be an understatement,” he said.

Co-founded by Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker, Steely Dan are known for their classic rock songs including “Do It Again” and “Hey Nineteen.”

“I’d like to thank my partner Walter Becker, wherever he may be,” Fagen said in his acceptance speech.

Phish frontman Trey Anastasio covered Steely Dan's “Kid Charlemagne” and “Reelin’ in the Years." Their “real genius” is their songs, Anastasio said.

Nile Rodgers presented singer SZA with the Hal David Starlight Award for “gifted young songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry.”

“There would be no music industry if there were no songs,” Rodgers told the artists and industry professionals in the room. “Everything begins with a song.”

Rodgers received roaring applause when he veered off the prompter to comment, “Spotify, we need you to make a point of songwriters being your priority.”

“This means the most to me,” SZA said in front of the crowd that included her parents. “I struggle at the artist thing. But writing is where I felt like a person, that I had value ... it was beyond, was I pretty, was I liked.”

Receiving the award “validates my entire career,” she said before leading the crowd in a stripped down version of her hit, “Nobody Gets Me.”

Carrie Underwood honored Lindsey, one of her longtime songwriters she called “the queen of modern Nashville songwriters," before jumping into a full-band rendition of the tearjerker, “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

Lindsey joked that the first song she wrote “was probably about poops and boogers and things,” later describing a childhood spent singing into anything in the house, including “my mom’s tampons.”

“Country done come to town y’all,” she said, before playing a short medley of songs she co-wrote, including Lady Gaga's “Million Reasons” and a duet with Keith Urban on his “Blue Ain’t Your Color."

Missy Elliott shouted out the late rapper Magoo for introducing her to Timbaland in an energetic introduction to her longtime writing and production partner, noting he had “a gift.”

“Timbaland literally changed the cadence of the time, because he also treated hip hop records like R&B records,” she said. “He would take the hooks and put a different sound.”

Timbaland told the audience the songwriting recognition was the best award he could get.

“I don’t really talk too much. I just talk with my music,” he said, centering his speech on his collaborators and his family, including his grandmother who allowed him to work in her home to write “One in a Million” for the late singer Aaliyah.

“I want to thank baby girl, rest in peace, I hope you’re watching,” he said.

He conducted a group of musicians in a medley of some of his most recognizable songs including Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody,” Ginuwine’s “Pony,” Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” and “Suit & Tie," Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On,” Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love" and Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous."

Paul Williams presented Diane Warren with the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the event, joking that artificial intelligence "worries about Diane Warren.” Andra Day performed “Stand Up for Something,” written by Warren, who previously was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.

“I have to thank my mom for being the first one I had to prove wrong,” Warren said. “Songwriting isn’t something I do, it is who I am.”

The night ended with a performance marking the 40th anniversary of another song written by Warren: DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night.

Ahead of Thursday's festivities, country star Cindy Walker was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Walker wrote songs performed by some of the biggest names in country music history and beyond, including Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, B.B. King, Cher, Glen Campbell, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby and Roy Orbison.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame was established in 1969 to honor those creating popular music. A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song. Some already in the hall include Gloria Estefan, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Lionel Richie, Bill Withers, Neil Diamond and Phil Collins.

A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Donald Fagen.

R.E.M. band members, from left, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

R.E.M. band members, from left, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and Bill Berry attend the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Johnny Mercer award honoree Diane Warren accepts her award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Johnny Mercer award honoree Diane Warren accepts her award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Andra Day performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Andra Day performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban induct Hillary Lindsey in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban induct Hillary Lindsey in to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Michael Bacon, left, and Kevin Bacon perform "Footloose" at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Michael Bacon, left, and Kevin Bacon perform "Footloose" at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Keith Urban, left, and Hillary Lindsey perform at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Keith Urban, left, and Hillary Lindsey perform at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Deniece Williams performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Deniece Williams performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Carrie Underwood performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland accepts his award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Inductee Timbaland accepts his award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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Biden's campaign chair acknowledges support 'slippage' but says he's staying in the race

2024-07-19 23:57 Last Updated At:07-20 00:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's campaign is insisting anew that he is not stepping aside as he faces the stark reality that many Democrats at the highest levels want him to bow out of the 2024 election to make way for a new nominee and try to prevent widespread party losses in November.

Meanwhile, six more members of Congress called for him to drop out, making the total now more than two dozen.

Isolated as he battles a COVID-19 infection at his beach house in Delaware, Biden’s already small circle of confidants before his debate fumbling has shrunk further. The president, who has insisted he can beat Republican Donald Trump, is with family and relying on a few longtime aides as he weighs whether to bow to the mounting pressure.

Biden campaign chair Jen O'Malley Dillion acknowledged “slippage” in support for the president, but insisted he is “absolutely” remaining in the race and that the campaign sees “multiple paths" to beating Trump.

“We have a lot of work to do to reassure the American people that yes he’s old, but he can win," she told MSNBC's “Morning Joe” show. But she said voters concerned about Biden's fitness to lead aren't switching to vote for Trump. “They have questions, but they are staying with Joe Biden," she said.

At the same time, the Democratic National Committee ’s rulemaking arm opened its meeting Friday, pressing ahead with plans for a virtual roll call before Aug. 7 to nominate the presidential pick, ahead of the party’s convention later in the month in Chicago.

“President Biden deserves the respect to have important family conversations with members of the caucus and colleagues in the House and Senate and Democratic leadership and not be battling leaks and press statements,” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Biden’s closest friend in Congress and his campaign co-chair, told The Associated Press.

It's a pivotal few days for the president and his party: Trump has wrapped up an enthusiastic Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. And Democrats, racing time, are considering the extraordinary possibility of Biden stepping aside for a new presidential nominee before their own convention.

Amid the turmoil, a majority of Democrats think Vice President Kamala Harris would make a good president herself.

A poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Democrats believe Harris would do a good job in the top slot. About 2 in 10 Democrats don’t believe she would, and another 2 in 10 say they don’t know enough to say.

Democrats at the highest levels have been making a critical push for Biden to rethink his election bid, with former President Barack Obama expressing concerns to allies and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately telling Biden the party could lose the ability to seize control of the House if he doesn’t step away from the 2024 race.

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich on Friday called on Biden to exit the race, making him the third Senate Democrat to do so.

“By passing the torch, he would secure his legacy as one of our nation’s greatest leaders and allow us to unite behind a candidate who can best defeat Donald Trump and safeguard the future of our democracy,” said Heinrich, who is up for reelection this fall.

And Friday, Reps. Jared Huffman, Mark Veasey, Chuy Garcia and Mark Pocan __ representing a wide swath of the caucus __together called on Biden to step aside.

“We must defeat Donald Trump to save our democracy," they wrote.

Separately, Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois wrote in an op-ed that with “a heavy heart and much personal reflection” he, too, was calling on Biden to “pass the torch to a new generation.”

Campaign officials said Biden was even more committed to staying in the race despite the calls for him to go. And senior West Wing aides have had no internal discussions or conversations with the president about Biden dropping out.

On Friday, Biden picked up a key endorsement from the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. CHC BOLD PAC said the Biden administration has shown “unwavering commitment” to Latinos and “the stakes couldn’t be higher” in this election. “President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have delivered for the Latino community,” the group said.

But there is also time to reconsider. Biden has been told the campaign is having trouble raising money, and key Democrats see an opportunity as he is away from the campaign for a few days to encourage his exit. Among his Cabinet, some are resigned to the likelihood of him losing in November.

The reporting in this story is based in part on information from almost a dozen people who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive private deliberations. The Washington Post first reported on Obama’s involvement.

Biden, 81, tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling in Las Vegas earlier this week and is experiencing “mild symptoms” including “general malaise” from the infection, the White House said.

The president himself, in a radio interview taped just before he tested positive, dismissed the idea it was too late for him to recover politically, telling Univision’s Luis Sandoval that many people don’t focus on the November election until September.

“All the talk about who’s leading and where and how, is kind of, you know — everything so far between Trump and me has been basically even,” he said in an excerpt of the interview released Thursday.

But in Congress, Democratic lawmakers have begun having private conversations about lining up behind Harris as an alternative. One lawmaker said Biden’s own advisers are unable to reach a unanimous recommendation about what he should do. More in Congress are considering joining the others who have called for Biden to drop out. Some prefer an open process for choosing a new presidential nominee.

“It’s clear the issue won’t go away,” said Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, the other Senate Democrat who has publicly said Biden should exit the race. Welch said the current state of party angst — with lawmakers panicking and donors revolting — was “not sustainable.”

However, influential Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries are sending signals of strong concern.

To be sure, many want Biden to stay in the race. But among Democrats nationwide, nearly two-thirds say Biden should step aside and let his party nominate a different candidate, according to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. That sharply undercuts Biden's post-debate claim that “average Democrats” are still with him.

Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, Ellen Knickmeyer in Aspen, Colorado, Steve Peoples in Milwaukee, and Josh Boak, Will Weissert, Mary Clare Jalonick, Seung Min Kim and Stephen Groves in Washington contributed to this report.

President Joe Biden takes the stage to speak at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden takes the stage to speak at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks to his car after stepping off of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks to his car after stepping off of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. Biden is returning to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Supporters cheer during the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Supporters cheer during the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

FILE - Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during an event in Washington, June 23, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Speaker Emerita Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. And former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE - Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during an event in Washington, June 23, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Speaker Emerita Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. And former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE - Chairman Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2023. Jittery Democrats seeking to hold onto Senate seats are watching the drama over Biden nervously. Even candidates who seem to be in a strong position are walking a fine line between loyalty to the president and their own political survival. Tester has offered little public support for the president since the debate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - Chairman Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2023. Jittery Democrats seeking to hold onto Senate seats are watching the drama over Biden nervously. Even candidates who seem to be in a strong position are walking a fine line between loyalty to the president and their own political survival. Tester has offered little public support for the president since the debate. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

FILE - Former President Barack Obama speaks in Athens, Greece, June 21, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

FILE - Former President Barack Obama speaks in Athens, Greece, June 21, 2023. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to reconsider his election bid. Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden’s candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn’t step away from the race and that polls showed he likely can’t defeat Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, July 16, 2024. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for Biden to reconsider his election bid. Former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden's candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn't step away from the race. Biden says he's not dropping out believing he's best to beat the Republican Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the 115th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, July 16, 2024. Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for Biden to reconsider his election bid. Former President Barack Obama has privately expressed concerns to Democrats about Biden's candidacy. And Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately warned Biden that Democrats could lose the ability to seize control in the House if he didn't step away from the race. Biden says he's not dropping out believing he's best to beat the Republican Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

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