Biden Takes Preemptive Measures against Trump’s Age Attacks

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The Biden campaign is already taking steps to counter Trump’s attacks on the president’s age. They are proactively addressing this issue and strategizing ways to address any concerns that may arise. Additionally, there is a focus on Democratic plans to regain the majority of statehouses before the next redistricting. This is seen as a crucial step in shaping the political landscape for years to come. In a different context, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s light schedule is being observed, raising questions about his level of involvement and commitment to certain endeavors.

NOT AGING LIKE MILK

Just six weeks ago, President Joe Biden’s campaign found itself in the midst of its most challenging week of the 2024 election thus far.

The recently released report by Special Counsel Robert Hur on Biden’s handling of classified documents did not bring any charges of illegal conduct against the president. However, the report portrayed him as an elderly man with a sympathetic nature and a poor memory.

Amidst growing concerns among Democrats regarding Biden’s age and capabilities, both the campaign and the White House maintained a composed demeanor.

The calm that settled over Biden and his team in the face of their rematch with Donald Trump was indeed justified. They successfully managed to alleviate the widespread Democratic panic that had been looming over what was considered to be their most challenging hurdle in securing re-election.

In recent weeks, Biden has been showcasing his approach to addressing his age head-on. Through humor, directness, and connecting it to his wealth of experience, he has demonstrated his plan.

During the general election season, following Super Tuesday last week, the Biden campaign made its first significant ad buy, successfully accomplishing its goal.

“I want to be clear, I’m not a young man. That’s something everyone knows,” Biden stated in a sincere video message, where he emphasized his administration’s significant legislative achievements, including the successful passage of an infrastructure bill that had long eluded the previous administration under Trump’s leadership.

At the conclusion of the advertisement, Biden playfully quips in a comical outtake, pretending to be perplexed about why he is engaging in this endeavor despite his youthful energy and good looks.

In his State of the Union address last Thursday, Biden left a lasting impression as he reflected on his age. The audience responded positively to his speech, appreciating his insights and perspectives.

“I may not appear it, but I’ve gained wisdom over the years,” Biden expressed. “As you age, certain things become more apparent than ever before.”

During his speech, Biden made several references to Trump as “my predecessor,” subtly highlighting the contrast in their ages.

“I see a different story compared to some people my age. I see an American story filled with resentment, revenge, and retribution,” Biden expressed. “However, that is not the narrative I align with.”

Biden’s speech was made even more impactful by his ability to engage with Republican lawmakers, effectively dispelling any notions of his weakness or incapacity for office.

Days after the State of the Union, a transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden was released, which undermined the special counsel’s portrayal of the president as a hapless old man. This development further strengthened Biden’s position.

Andrew Bates, the White House deputy press secretary, shared an optimistic outlook on President Biden’s future with The Daily Beast. As Bidenworld continues to flourish, Bates expressed confidence in what lies ahead for the president.

According to Bates, President Biden is actively spreading his successful State of the Union message by engaging in a week-long tour across five states. Throughout this tour, he is participating in multiple events each day, conducting interviews, and interacting with the press corps. Bates highlights that the President emphasizes the importance of the age of one’s ideas and their ability to propel the country forward. Additionally, Bates points out that Republicans have consistently overlooked the fact that their attacks on Biden’s age have proven ineffective since 2019.

As we approached 2024, concerns among Democrats regarding the impact of voter perceptions of Biden’s age on the race were not diminishing. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) joined the race last year primarily as a response to these concerns. Interestingly, he withdrew from the race last week after failing to secure significant support in almost every contest.

But by consistently and harshly depicting Biden as an elderly and befuddled octogenarian, Republicans may have inadvertently set a trap for themselves, which Biden skillfully shut in the past two weeks. By intentionally lowering the expectations for his performance to an alarming extent, the president and Democrats were able to assert triumph and alleviate voter anxieties when he effortlessly surpassed the set standard.

“The Biden campaign has effectively addressed the issue,” remarked Democratic strategist Josh Schwerin. He further pointed out that the Trump campaign and other Republicans are committing a similar error by essentially setting the expectations so low that anything short of the president being in a coma would be considered exceeding expectations.”

Instead of adapting their own strategy, Trump’s political team appears to be intensifying their attacks on Biden’s age.

Just over a week ago, the Trump-aligned super PAC MAGA Inc released an ad that not only featured the usual clips of Biden appearing sluggish and forgetful but also raised concerns about his physical ability to survive a second term.

The Biden campaign has yet to issue a direct response to the ad, and it seems that they have no immediate intentions of doing so. However, it is clear that the ad has caught their attention.

According to Ammar Moussa, the director of rapid response for the Biden campaign, he characterizes the ad as “a disturbing and unhinged ploy from a financially struggling campaign that is unable to defend Trump’s radical Project 2025 plan to outlaw abortion, separate families, increase expenses for the middle class, dismantle healthcare, and foster turmoil and division. Moussa also points out that Trump attempted this strategy four years ago and was decisively defeated by Joe Biden.”

According to Democratic campaign observers, there is a belief that Trump will ultimately bear the consequences of the ongoing escalation.

“The current president’s health has become a focal point in this campaign due to the former president’s decision to bring it up. It is only fair that the former president’s health is also addressed as an important issue in this campaign,” emphasized Democratic strategist Rich Luchette in an interview with The Daily Beast.

“It’s unclear who will be the one to deliver that message,” Luchette added, “but if I were as fond of McDonald’s as Donald Trump is, I wouldn’t be eager to release my medical records either.”

Democrats, both within and outside of the Biden campaign, believe that the most effective approach to address concerns about age is to emphasize policy and character differences between Biden and Trump, rather than engaging in a battle over who is more mentally and physically fit.

Although the Biden campaign and its allies do not entirely adhere to the Michelle Obama approach of “when they go low, we go high,” they still believe in the importance of not fully descending to Trump’s level. A recent example of this is when Trump mocked Biden’s stutter.

“You don’t need to resort to cruelty,” emphasized Michael Blake, a former member of the Obama campaign. “Authenticity is what truly matters.”

BLUE MAP

Just eight years ago, Democrats found themselves at a low point in state legislatures across the country. However, today, they are optimistic about their chances of regaining control of the majority of state legislatures.

During the tenure of Barack Obama, the Democratic Party experienced significant losses, with a surrender of almost 1,000 state legislative seats and a staggering 30 state chambers flipping from Democratic to Republican control. These setbacks have not only set the Democrats back by years but also have the potential to impact their influence for decades to come.

Democrats have been presented with a remarkable opportunity to not only reverse the trend of losing control in state legislatures but also to gain control of most of them. The timing of their potential comeback is undeniably significant.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has set an ambitious goal of securing majorities in all 50 state legislatures by 2030. They have already made significant progress towards this goal, with the party currently holding 41 state legislative bodies. This is a notable increase from the 29 majorities that Democrats held after the 2016 election.

According to exclusive details shared with The Daily Beast by top committee aides, the DLCC aims to dedicate approximately one-third of its expenditures towards this objective. With a budget of $60 million for 2024, they plan to allocate a significant portion of their expenses to advance their 2030 plan.

The plan specifically focuses on holding chambers in Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New Hampshire. However, expanding control requires the support of states such as Wisconsin, Georgia, Kansas, and North Carolina, where Republicans currently hold both legislative chambers.

Democrats, on the other hand, have confidence in their ability to gain ground in those states.

The group’s focus on 2030 holds great significance due to the upcoming midterm elections, which will trigger the redrawing of legislative maps at the state level. While certain states have implemented measures to ensure fair redistricting, the process has become increasingly partisan. Republicans, leveraging their control in many states, have sought to disadvantage Democrats and hinder their chances of securing majorities. These partisan maps played a pivotal role in Republicans gaining a majority in the House throughout the 2010s, and they continue to be the deciding factor in Republicans maintaining their slim majority.

Democrats must regain control of as many legislatures as they can before the 2030 redistricting process.

By 2030, if the party manages to secure majorities in 50 state legislatures, it would significantly impede Republicans’ ability to engage in partisan redistricting. Conversely, this would potentially make it much simpler for Democrats to create maps that are more favorable to their interests.

Heather Williams, president of the DLCC, emphasized the need for a long-term strategy to challenge the Republican stronghold in states with the newly decided redistricting maps for the 2030 elections. The plan aims to fundamentally transform the balance of power by breaking into territories that have traditionally been dominated by Republicans. According to Williams, this strategic approach is precisely what the DLCC’s plan aims to achieve.

The Democratic Party is undertaking a bold plan, despite losing significant ground during Obama’s departure from the White House. Democrats assert that this plan is essential in order to position the party for success at the state level and cultivate a pool of talented individuals who can ascend the political ladder and become future leaders at both the federal and statewide levels.

The Democrats have always been sensitive about the problem of losing statehouses. Even former President Obama admitted that he was unable to establish a lasting organization for the party after their losses in 2016.

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the DLCC took decisive action to address these concerns and strengthen its operations. Capitalizing on the widespread opposition to Trump, the organization made significant strides in securing victories in statehouses nationwide.

The operating budget and full-time staff of the group have quadrupled since then, which was a necessary outcome of a thorough self-evaluation on the party’s focus on down ballot races, according to top committee staff.

NOT KENNEDYESQUE

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has adopted a more minimalist approach to campaigning, despite sporting the same thin ties and rolled-up sleeves as his iconic late father.

Instead of touring the country like his father did during the 1968 campaign, Kennedy Jr. has taken a different approach. He is not heavily involved in campaigning and has only committed to attending four events listed on his campaign website between March and April.

Despite being an independent candidate with low chances of winning, Kennedy may not have to make much effort to maintain his high single-digit polling numbers in key battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin. These numbers could have a significant impact on the election between Trump and Biden.

The Kennedy campaign has not responded to a request for comment regarding potential future events featuring the candidate. Like his major party competitors, he has also made few appearances on the campaign trail thus far. However, it’s worth noting that Biden’s travel has picked up since he emerged as the primary winner on Super Tuesday.

A Kennedy-aligned operative suggests that the candidate’s minimal in-person presence reflects the campaign’s focus on capturing voters’ attention through online channels rather than relying on a traditional on-the-ground approach.

According to a source familiar with the thinking, it is believed that Kennedy should personally visit states where he is seeking to get on the ballot. This includes Texas and California, where he has planned stops for this weekend and the following week.

According to an anonymous Kennedy-aligned operative, the presence of Bobby is a compelling visual representation of his dedication to this cause. They expressed this sentiment while discussing private conversations.

The Kennedy team is aiming to generate buzz through unconventional means, rather than spending a large sum of money on advance teams, renting space, and other typical campaign event costs.

The independent candidate has been conducting unconventional vice presidential deliberations, with reports gradually surfacing in the media. Recent rumors suggest that former pro wrestler and independent Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and New York Jets quarterback and conspiracy theorist Aaron Rodgers are among the top contenders on the candidate’s shortlist.

According to the Kennedy source, they have expressed a preference for Ventura and have even personally lobbied the candidate to choose him. However, they acknowledged that selecting Rodgers would be the epitome of the campaign’s strategy to garner maximum attention from both within and outside the political media ecosystem.

According to a strategist aligned with the Kennedy camp, having someone like Aaron Rodgers on the ticket can make a significant impact. With his extensive experience and widespread recognition, spanning over two decades and reaching millions of Americans through their living rooms, Rodgers has the potential to attract a large number of non-traditional voters. This could prove to be a game-changer in terms of voter turnout and engagement.

The Kennedy campaign, while acknowledging their use of unique tactics to prioritize media attention, made it clear that they were not reinventing the wheel with this strategy. A campaign operative gave credit to a certain former president for originating these unconventional methods.

“Our politics has devolved into this,” the Kennedy supporter remarked, highlighting how Donald Trump’s presidency served as a prime example.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

On Monday, President Biden made a long-awaited return to New Hampshire, just days after delivering a fiery State of the Union address. This time, however, his demeanor was noticeably quieter and more mellow.

President Biden made his first visit to the state in over two years, marking a significant shift in the presidential events compared to his predecessor, Trump. This trip not only showcased Biden’s official duties as president but also provided a glimpse into the notable differences that will define his general election events.

The White House opted for a more intimate and low-key setting when Biden made his return, choosing a local YMCA. The gathering consisted of fewer than a hundred attendees, including prominent state Democrats like Sen. Maggie Hassan, who had the honor of introducing Biden. Also in attendance was Billy, the husband of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, whose significant influence in local politics is widely recognized.

Inside the YMCA, the serene ambiance was unexpectedly disrupted by a protester who stood across the street, fervently shouting “Let’s Go Brandon” into a bullhorn. Despite the distance, the sound carried through and reached the ears of several attendees.

During his visit to the White House, President Biden focused on one of the crucial aspects of his campaign: reducing costs. This is an area where voters have expressed dissatisfaction with his performance in the past year.

During his speech, which lasted just over 15 minutes, the president adhered mostly to the prepared script. However, there were a few moments where he deviated from the teleprompter, strategically positioned outside the press area.

During his speech, Biden spoke spontaneously about the ongoing financial struggles that many Americans face. He engaged with the audience, inquiring if anyone had a loved one requiring insulin for diabetes treatment.

According to Biden, seniors with diabetes no longer have to pay exorbitant amounts, like $400 per month, for insulin. Now, they only have to pay $35 per month. As he spoke spontaneously, Biden explained the reason behind this change. He mentioned that he has been advocating for this issue for a long time, as he understands the struggles faced by individuals who rely on insulin for diabetes management. He further emphasized that almost everyone knows someone, whether it’s themselves or someone they know, who requires insulin for diabetes.

The Biden event stood out for two other reasons.

The president’s staff noticed that there was a lack of a rope line, which is one of his favorite features of the campaign trail. It allows him to interact with attendees for a longer period of time, and they believe it showcases his strengths.

In a highly unusual turn of events, the occasion not only commenced nearly an entire hour ahead of schedule, but also concluded approximately thirty minutes before its designated starting time. A Secret Service agent even notified the president’s security team that “Celtic” would be arriving earlier than expected.

As soon as the speech came to an end, a local TV news producer was overheard saying, “Thank God, for our sake.”

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