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This is what it sounded like Friday when House Democrats were forced to confront the fact that President Joe Biden, their 81-year-old nominee, completely botched his first presidential debate this cycle against former President Donald Trump.

3 big moments for Joe Biden and Democrats this week

Facing an ongoing crisis over whether President Joe Biden should remain their 2024 nominee, skittish Hill Democrats will return to the Capitol today as the fallout over the president’s debate debacle continues.

Biden and his top aides have desperately tried to counter the emerging narratives that Biden is incapable of winning another term or of serving as president — or both. In addition to his high-profile interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Friday, Biden was in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania over the last few days. He’ll be in Michigan, Texas and Nevada over the next two weeks, with more events possible.

But Biden desperately needs to find ways to unite congressional Democrats, who will be paying close attention to his every move. Biden must alleviate their deep reservations about his mental acuity and ability to win on Election Day. Here are some high-profile moments we’ll be watching closely this week.

The NATO Summit: Biden will be front and center this week as dozens of NATO’s leaders gather in Washington for the alliance’s annual summit.

Several Democrats told us over the weekend that they view the three-day gathering as a major opportunity for Biden to demonstrate that he’s up for the job.

Not only will Biden likely face unscripted moments with world leaders, but he’ll also have a press conference on Thursday as the summit wraps up. Democrats are looking to these types of settings to evaluate whether Biden should remain their party’s nominee.

Expanding NATO and supporting Ukraine have been key pillars of Biden’s foreign policy pitch to voters. So the summit will allow Biden to talk up his national security record and, perhaps more importantly, rally behind Ukraine — something that unites Democrats.

This year’s summit will be a celebratory affair, too, with the alliance marking its 75th anniversary. This is another way for Biden to use the summit to his advantage. Biden has helped to strengthen and enlarge NATO while former President Donald Trump has talked about pulling out of the alliance.

On the Senate floor: Biden is obviously eager to talk about anything but the eroding support for his candidacy among Democrats. On the Senate floor this week, Democrats will hold another abortion-related “show” vote.

This was scheduled well before Biden’s disastrous performance in the debate. But it’s convenient timing because it allows Democrats to discuss an issue that unites them the last two election cycles.

It’s also a central theme of Biden’s campaign, as well as Democrats running in competitive Senate and House seats.

Caucus meetings: As we explained above, this week is going to be critical in part because it’s the first time all Hill Democrats are gathering in one place since the debate. They’ve been having nonstop conversations by phone the last 10 days, but that’s no replacement for in-person meetings.

In addition to the informal Senate and House floor conversations during votes tonight, Democrats in each chamber will have full caucus meetings Tuesday. House Democrats will meet first thing in the morning, while senators will have their weekly caucus lunch at 12:45 p.m.

— Andrew Desiderio

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