Is Biden down for the count or can he bounce back from devastating debate failure?

President Joe Biden stumbled and mumbled and stared blankly into space for the better part of 90 minutes Thursday night. The oldest president in history looked every bit his 81 years as he delivered what analysts called the worst debate performance in American campaign history.

Even as some Democrats and pundits questioned whether Biden should even stay in the race, others pointed to steps Biden could take to right his campaign ship and give former President Donald Trump a competitive run. Election Day is still four-plus months away and the experts say plenty of twists and turns lie ahead.

“Biden has one big ally in his recovery from the debate: The American people are noted for their short memories about political matters,” Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political analyst, told the News. “This is late June, after all.”

Polls say the race is more or less dead even. The polling site FiveThiryEight gave Biden a 52% chance of beating Trump on Friday, even as doom and gloom spread among Democrats over the debate debacle.

No less a pundit than former President Barack Obama warned Democrats not to lose their cool as the post-debate spin kicked into gear.

“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know,” Obama tweeted. “But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself.”

So would a Biden comeback playbook look like?

First and foremost, strategists urged Biden to focus on reassuring the Democratic base that he has no intention of dropping out of the race. Once he has quieted the talk that his days at the top of the ticket could be numbered, Biden can start reaching back out to the undecided voters who tell pollsters they are concerned that he is too old to serve four more years.

Veteran Democratic strategist Jen Palmieri said Biden already “weathered the first wave of the storm” from the debate disaster by delivering a rousing day-after speech to supporters in North Carolina. Biden addressed concerns about his age head on at the Raleigh rally, a move analysts called a good first step to regaining his footing in the race.

“I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to,” Biden told a roaring crowd “But I know how to tell the truth.”

“I know, like millions of Americans know, when you get knocked down, you get back up,” he bellowed.

Palmieri noted that some focus groups of undecided voters moved to Biden after the debate despite the withering reviews of his performance. The Biden campaign also touted its grassroots fundraising success, raising $14 million in the hours after the debate.

Not all analysts agree, however, there is path back for Biden after the debate disaster.

Former Rep. Charlie Dent, a NeverTrump Republican who endorsed Biden four years ago, said the president simply cannot stay in the race after the debate.

“Democrats must replace President Joe Biden as their party’s nominee for president“ Dent wrote on “Biden’s debate performance was beyond terrible. It might have been disqualifying.”

Presidential historian Tim Naftali suggested on CNN that Biden’s close advisers and family owe it to the country to talk him into taking a tough decision to consider stepping aside.

“It’s one thing to take the keys away from grandpa when he’s too old to drive,” Naftail said. “It’s something quite different when we’re talking about the nuclear codes.”

And, late Friday, Biden was delivered a major blow when the New York Times called on Biden to step aside. “There is no reason for the party to risk the stability and security of the country by forcing voters to choose between Mr. Trump’s deficiencies and those of Mr. Biden,” the Times’ editorial board said.

While the historically early date of the debate was originally seen by Biden’s team as a chance to reset negative perceptions about his age, that gambit blew up in their face as Biden meandered from one topic to the next Thursday night.

But one potential silver lining to the pre-July 4 debate is that there is time for Biden to recover.

“People who declare an election outcome because of an event months away from the election are often wrong,” Sabato said.

Sabato suggested that Biden do unscripted events or interviews to regain voters’ confidence, although others warned that more stumbles in such settings could be fatal.

Several Democratic strategists suggested that debates do not necessarily impact the electorate the way pundits believe they do. They pointed to Sen. John Fetterman’s wrenching debate performance in the closing weeks of his marquee Pennsylvania Senate battle against the more polished TV doctor Mehmet Oz.

Analysts called the debate a disaster but Fetterman brushed off the bad reviews and won the race going away just a few days later.

Biden, some say, may actually be able to draw on support from voters who see him as an underdog fighting for their values — and to keep Trump out of the White House. That dynamic was on full display on the day after the debate as enthusiastic supporters sought to rev up the president.

Democratic strategist Tom Watson noted that Trump is his own worst enemy and is certain to turn independent voters away with rants about Jan. 6 and abortion rights even as they fret about Biden’s age.

“This race was a jump ball on Thursday. It’s a jump ball now,” Watson said. “Biden sure didn’t win it, but net-net over time, Trump lost it.”