GOP strategist says Biden needs to come out 'swinging' in Detroit debate

Republican strategist Lauren Claffey said former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE will need to come out “swinging” in the second night of Democratic debates in Detroit in order to make up for his weak performance during the first round of debates.

“I think he comes out swinging — he has to,” Claffey, a managing director for Hamilton Place Strategies, told Hill.TV during “Rising.”

“I mean, especially after the last debate after he acted like he was very surprised that [Sen. Kamala] Harris would come after him,” she continued, referring to when Harris challenged Biden over his civil rights record in the Miami debate.

The Republican strategist added that Biden now has to “overperform” in Wednesday night's debate and “go after people.”

Claffey’s comments come just hours before Biden is set to take the debate stage Wednesday night.

Biden is gearing up to headline the second night of debates, where he will once again face off against Harris. The second night of debates also includes: Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerJudge whose son was killed by gunman: 'Federal judiciary is under attack' Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires MORE (D-N.J.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Andrew Yang: Democrats need to adopt message that government is 'working for them' MORE.

Following Harris’s attacks on Biden over his opposition to federally-mandated busing and work with segregationist senators, some commentators expressed concern that he came across as ineffectual and old.

Biden allies, meanwhile, remain confident Biden’s is prepared for a comeback, despite looming attacks as other lower-tier candidates look to stand out.

The former vice president appears to have regained much of the support he lost after the first debate, with recent polls showing him leading the crowded 2020 field by 8 points.

⁠—Tess Bonn