With President Joe Biden giving probably the worst debate performance in modern history Thursday night, the two leading “Break glass in case of emergency” candidates, Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom, are both holding firm that they won't step into his spot.

Thursday night’s absolutely shambolic debate performance by President Joe Biden showed him hoarsely stammering, verbally stumbling, and staring into space with mouth agape in such ways that left any normal person thinking he looked way too old to serve another term. Consider that one of his answers was “We’re able to make every single solitary person … eligible for what I’ve been able to do with the, uh, with — with the Covid, or excuse me, with, dealing with, everything we have to do with, uh … Look … If … We finally beat Medicare.”

As the Chronicle quipped, “It’s a bad night for America when the candidate who said, ‘I didn’t have sex with a porn star’ gave the better showing.”

In the wake of the debate, this SFist correspondent received the above text from “Maybe Gavin” Friday morning begging for an ActBlue donation. But as has been widely speculated, has Gavin Newsom been waiting in the wings for exactly that kind of stumble, so he can run for president himself?

Publicly, at least, Newsom shot down the idea of replacing Biden (in vastly more articulate tenor than we heard from from Biden all night). “I think it’s unhelpful, and I think it’s unnecessary,” Newsom told MSNBC following the debate. “With all due respect, the more times we start having these conversations, going down these rabbit holes, it’s unhelpful to our democracy, the fate and future of this country, the world. They need us right now to step up and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

Newsom did the same post-debate spin on Fox News. "I would never turn my back on President Biden. Never turn my back on President Biden. I don't know a Democrat in my party that would do so. And especially after tonight, we have his back,” he told that network. "We run, not the 90-yard dash. We are all in. We're going to double down in the next few months. We're going to win this election."

There is indeed a legitimate structure for replacing Biden at the top of the ticket, as Politico explains, even with less than two months to go until the Democratic Convention. But notably, a dream of a Kamala Harris-Gavin Newsom ticket would be shot down by the fact that both reside in California, and per Politico, “would be ineligible for California’s 54 electoral votes.” The US Constitution says that a president and vice president from the same state cannot get that state's Electoral College votes.

Vice President Kamala Harris was also tasked with post-debate interviews, which obviously turned into an unexpected cleanup job. “It was a slow start, that’s obvious to everyone,” she told CNN, per the New York Times. “I’m not going to debate that.”

“He got into a groove where it counted,” she continued. “Our president showed that he will win the election.”

There is consensus that Trump romped in the debate, though oddly, early polling indicates that Biden didn’t really lose much ground in the horse race, nor did Trump gain much. Jittery Democrats will watch future polling in the days and weeks to come, of course, though Biden’s poor debate might not end up mattering.    

“This was not a good night for Biden,” Republican political consultant Mike Madrid told the LA Times. “There’s no question about it. Was it disastrous?” he asks, or will it change the trajectory of the race? “No," Madrid says.

And ironically, Biden was absolutely terrific in Friday’s post-debate rally in North Carolina, as seen above. Where was this man last night? Had he an ounce of this much energy, drive, and wit on Thursday night, he’d have been the clear winner and showing momentum. Moreover, the Biden campaign saying they did blockbuster fundraising coming off the debate.

“Realistically, he’s not going to walk away from another shot at the presidency over one night,” DNC delegate R.L. Miller told the LA Times.

“You’ve got an unhinged lunatic and a feeble old man,” Madrid added. “That’s the choice, America. There you go. But there’s nothing new. We saw more of it.”

Related: Vallejo’s Own E-40 Is Doing a Post-Presidential Debate Rally With Joe Biden [SFist]

Images: (Left) @KamalaHarris via Twitter, (Right) @CAgovernor via Twitter