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

Republican strategist Lauren Claffey said former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected BuzzFeed News finds Biden's private Venmo account Kid reporter who interviewed Obama dies at 23 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 BookerPolice reform talks hit familiar stumbling block Almost 20 advocacy groups team up to pressure Congress to pass health care bill for immigrants Biden adds pressure to congressional talks with self-imposed deadlines MORE (D-N.J.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangYang: 'Defund the police is the wrong approach for New York City' HuffPost's Daniel Marans discusses fallout from Yang's comments on Israel Yang: Those who thought tweet in support of Israel was 'overly simplistic' are correct 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