No “Serious Condition”: Watch Biden Tell George Stephanopoulos Of Debate Debacle In First Clip From ABC Interview

“It was a bad episode,” President Joe Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos of his rambling June 27 debate appearance in an interview airing tonight that could be pivotal in whether the 81-year-old incumbent stays in the race against Donald Trump or not. “No indication of a serious condition,” Biden added in words even Ronald Reagan didn’t have to say while in office.

“I was just having a bad night,” the president went onto say in terms he and his supporters have repeated over and over to shrug off the disastrous debate. “I was exhausted.”

More from Deadline

It’s not clear that POTUS actually watched the debate, however, according to the ABC News clip.

“Did you ever watch the debate afterwards?” GMA co-anchor and ABC News chief newsman Stephanopoulos asked. “I don’t think I did,” replied Biden in a line that will do little to help those who say the president is 100% on the ball — as you can see below:

Conducted this afternoon in Wisconsin right after POTUS offered a rousing defense in the battleground state as well as apologies for his terrible and stumbling debate performance with his predecessor on June 27, the full unscripted live-to-tape interview with the former top Clinton aide will air in full in a primetime special tonight on ABC at 8 pm ET.

Despite a growing cascade of deep pocketed donors, governors and potentially a gaggle of Senators pleading with the poll-sagging president to drop out for another Democrat, started by Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof in an exclusive guest column in Deadline, pleading, Biden has said over and over the past week that he has not intention of leaving. In a speech before a “four more years” chanting crowd in Madison Friday, the teleprompter president reiterated he was staying in the race. Words Biden said again with no teleprompter to reporters before boarding Air Force One to leave Wisconsin this evening.

After several days of pretty much silence on what went down at the debate, Biden and aides began circulating that the president was tired and jet lagged because of his overseas trips last month. However, what they neglected to add was that POTUS had been back from Europe for a week before the debate in Atlanta, while prepping up in bucolic Camp David.

In the clip that went out tonight, Biden speaks of the cold he had on debate night, but it will be interesting to see if Stephanopoulos pursues a line of questioning on the jet lag narrative — and how flimsy it seems

Yet, with 78-year-old attention-deprived Trump mocking Biden again Friday with a call for a new debate with no moderators, even a primetime sit-down might not be enough to quiet the chorus calling for the incumbent to hand over the reigns before it is too late.

Right now, ABC News is on the books to host the second official debate between the 46th POTUS and the 45th. That showdown is set for September 10.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.