How to watch, what to know: Biden’s interview with Stephanopoulos

President Biden will participate in a high-stakes interview Friday with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos that the television network is calling a “primetime special” and airing at 8 p.m.

The potential make-or-break interview comes eight days after Biden’s disastrous debate performance, which has undermined his presidential campaign and has resulted in calls for him to drop out of the race.

“He’ll make a compelling case tonight,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday. “He prepared for this like he does every other interview. He’s looking forward to not just the interview but certainly talking directly to the American people. We’re expecting millions of Americans are going to watch … and he’s looking forward to it.”

The interview will be aired in its entirety at 8 p.m. EDT and PDT on ABC. The first clip of the interview will air on “World News Tonight with David Muir” at 6:30 p.m.

The full interview will be aired again Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” ABC said it would also make an edited transcript of the interview available Friday.

Biden is sitting down with Stephanopoulos for the interview while he is in Wisconsin for campaign events earlier Friday.

The sit-down with Stephanopoulos was originally supposed to air Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week,” but the television network moved the interview to Friday, underscoring the mounting pressure Biden faces as lawmakers and donors call for a new Democratic candidate.

All week, Biden and his senior aides have sought to assuage worries and prevent more Democrats from abandoning ship. But the campaign has continued to spiral despite reassurances from Biden that last week’s performance against former President Trump was simply a “bad debate.”

“No one is feeling good right now,” one top Democratic donor said. “He needs to shake things up if he’s going to stay in the race. But I’m not sure this interview does much.”

The donor and other Democrats acknowledge the interview is necessary. “I think the public really wants to hear from him and find out what happened,” a strategist said. But Biden is also taking a gamble.

“If he flubs this thing, it’s game over,” the strategist said.

But Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said the problem Biden faces is “not a communications problem.”

“It’s a confidence problem,” Simmons said. “Communications is just a tool to project strength, which is why moving faster and with higher impact is going to be critical to turning this around for the president.”

Simmons said Democrats want to see “a steady beat of action to show the president is on top of his job. They have to do things that actually move the ball.

“The president’s allies are ready to see that kind of action,” he said.

During the interview, strategists say they will be watching to see if Biden can successfully illustrate the contrast between himself and Trump.

“He has to get back on that point,” one strategist said. “What’s frustrating people is the White House seems to be underreacting to this crisis. And you’re much better off overreacting than underreacting. He needs to take control of this story.”

Those close to the White House say Biden’s aides chose to sit down with Stephanopoulos, who served as an aide to former President Clinton, because they’re looking for fairness. “He’s not going to go easy on the president,” one strategist said. “But he’ll give him a fair shot.”

Still, the strategist added, Biden “needs someone to hold his feet to the fire so he can show people he can withstand the flames.”

This story was first posted at 10:20 a.m. and updated at 2:10 p.m.

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