David Axelrod: Biden 'Mr. Magooing his way' through Democratic primary

CNN political commentator David AxelrodDavid AxelrodThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates GOP hunts for leverage in revived COVID-19 talks Pelosi says there shouldn't be any debates between Biden and Trump MORE, a former chief campaign strategist for former President Obama, on Wednesday described former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally Special counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report MORE as "Mr. Magooing his way through" the 2020 Democratic primary while speaking in a panel discussion on the network following the Democratic debate from Atlanta.

"Biden. I wouldn't say he was a house of fire in any of the debates that we've been to," Axelrod said of the top-tier Democratic hopeful's debate performances.

"And yet he comes, kind of bumps along, kind of Mr. Magooing his way through this," he added, referring to the popular cartoon character known for being nearly blind.

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"You keep worrying he's going to hit a wall, but he's moving forward," he added.

Following some laughter from the panel, Axelrod continued, saying that if the former vice president can survive tough early tests in Iowa and New Hampshire, he could do really well in the next round of primaries.

"Obviously, he's losing some altitude in Iowa, New Hampshire, that should be concerning to him," the host of "The Axe Files" said. "But if he can survive those states because of his strong support in the African American community and because he has a cultural kinship with working-class whites, non-college whites, you know, he has a play here."

Biden raised eyebrows during a few of his answers in Wednesday's debate that was co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post. He faced particular scrutiny for one of his answers on the topic of domestic violence. 

"No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman in anger other than in self-defense, and that rarely ever occurs," said Biden. "So we have to just change the culture, period, and keep punching at it and punching at it. No, I really mean it." 

Biden also touted his ability to get the black vote, claiming to have the endorsement of the only black woman elected to the Senate, which was quickly rebuffed by Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Fox's Napolitano: Supreme Court confirmation hearings will be 'World War III of political battles' Rush Limbaugh encourages Senate to skip hearings for Trump's SCOTUS nominee MORE (D-Calif.), who was standing on the stage with Biden.

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“I’m part of that Obama coalition,” Biden said. “I come out of the black community, in terms of my support. If you notice, I have more people supporting me in the black community that have announced for me, because they know me, they know who I am. Three former chairs of the Black Caucus, the only African American woman that has ever been elected to the United States Senate. A whole range of people.”

Biden then clarified that he meant the first black woman to be elected to the Senate.

Biden has remained at the top or near the top of most polls since announcing his 2020 bid.

He currently leads the RealClearPolitics average of polls by 12.7 points over Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenJudd Gregg: The Kamala threat — the Californiaization of America GOP set to release controversial Biden report Biden's fiscal program: What is the likely market impact? MORE (D-Mass), with 30.7 percent support. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJacobin editor: Primarying Schumer would force him to fight Trump's SCOTUS nominee Trump campaign plays up Biden's skills ahead of Cleveland debate: 'He's actually quite good' Young voters backing Biden by 2:1 margin: poll MORE (I-Vt.) is in third with 16.7 percent support.

No other candidate is in the double digits.