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

Republican strategist Lauren Claffey said former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic The Intercept's Ryan Grim says Cuomo is winning over critics 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 Anthony BookerEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Democrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.J.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangJack Dorsey committing billion to coronavirus relief efforts Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Andrew Yang: Calling coronavirus 'China virus' only used to incite 'hostility' 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