Biden dodges August curse

Among Biden’s aides, the belief has begun to form that the worst may well be behind them. Even the President’s fight with Covid was seen, internally, as having a positive side effect: giving planners a lot more leeway to get him on the road – the fear of infection having now been pushed back, at least, in the next months.

During his Tuesday stop at Wilkes-Barre, the president drew some of the starkest contrasts to date with the GOP, thundering that “MAGA Republicans” were out of step with Americans on some of the nation’s most fundamental beliefs. .

“You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurgency. You can’t be the party of law and order and call the people who attacked the Capitol the 6 ‘patriots,’” Biden said. “For God’s sake, which side are you on?”

But potential hurdles remain: Some Democrats, aides confirm, are still choosing to avoid Biden on the campaign trail, and worries linger about inflation and a possible fall spike in gasoline prices or Covid. Others have signaled that they would not want to appear with Biden. These include the senator. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Rep. Marcy Captur of Ohio, who posted an ad stating “She doesn’t work for Joe Biden, she works for you.”

A senior Democrat in close contact with the White House said that for Biden to be fully seen as an advantage rather than a liability, he must come armed with deliverables for their states and districts: “It’s not the president as a as mascot, it is the president who holds the power in favor of the middle class.

For now, however, top West Wing aides say they feel vindicated in the course they have charted. At Biden’s political nadir last year, senior aides presented a case in which he would rebound politically as gas prices fell, the Covid crisis became less urgent and his national agenda was gradually embraced.

Biden’s winning streak indeed culminated in the resurrection of a $740 billion reconciliation bill that addressed long-standing Democratic priorities like climate change, drug prices and corporate taxes. And to top it off, it comes just as its predecessor once again plunged into legal peril, with damaging headlines emanating from the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago threatening to hurt Republicans’ chances this fall.

Marking this moment, Biden will stir echoes of the country and his own political past on Thursday. That’s when he’ll use Independence Hall in Philadelphia as the backdrop for his speech to declare that the country’s core values ​​— including democracy itself and America’s standing in the world — will be at stake. november. On Tuesday, White House aides were still debating whether the words “Donald Trump” would appear in the speech, according to two people familiar with the internal deliberations. And at his Wilkes-Barre address, Biden notably hit out at Senate Republicans — including South Carolina Principal Lindsey Graham — without uttering names.

But whether or not Biden takes a direct swipe at Trump, aides say the speech will be a punitive broadside on the GOP, painting them as out-of-touch extremists with Americans on abortion, guns and human rights. vote.

“The President will continue to drive home the message he and congressional Democrats are fighting to deliver to middle-class families and Main Street, while MAGA Congressional Republicans side with extremism and wealthy interests. individuals,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.

Biden introduced the tougher new line of attack last week at a party rally and fundraiser in Maryland.

“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the end of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy behind the – I’m going to say something – it’s like semi-fascism.”

Inside the White House, officials say there has been clear joy in the president who has been largely absent for months, amid negative headlines about inflation, gas prices , formula shortages and criticism of her response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of federal abortion. rights. With his newly boosted immunity to overcome COVID and a rebound case, Biden happily took selfies with supporters for more than 10 minutes following his remarks last week in Maryland.

Others in the White House were similarly infected with renewed enthusiasm, with West Wing aides sending around Dark Brandon memes and tweets and news about falling gas prices. And after a debate, the White House social media team drew applause from colleagues for abandoning the high road and using their Twitter account to call out how the loudest critics of the student debt cancellation plan received large government loans during the pandemic, which were later forgiven.

The change in mood came after a remarkable string of summer successes, including the bipartisan passage of separate laws to increase semiconductor production; increase gun regulations and fund veterans’ health care; a drone strike that killed the leader of al-Qaeda; jobs blockbuster in July; signs of potentially cooling inflation; and especially, the reconciliation bill who came back to life after the previous obstacles – Meaning. Joe Manchin (DW. Virginia) and Christmas cinema (D-Arizona) – finally signed.

Biden’s approval ratings soared in the mid-1940s, the highest they have been this year. And Democrats who are optimistic about the party’s chances point to a historic shift in its numbers at a time when most pundits predicted they would be set in stone: Since Eisenhower’s presidency, only one president has seen his endorsement increase from the fifth quarter of their terms to the seventh.

Biden’s return came in a month that has often caused problems for presidents; Both Barack Obama and Trump have been plagued by tumultuous Augusts, and Biden himself saw his poll numbers plummet last year after the failed military withdrawal from Afghanistan. But aides now believe the president’s numbers could rise even further as Democrats draw more contrasts with Republicans on abortion, the Jan. 6 hearings and now Trump’s conduct that led to the search for Mar-a. -The girlfriend.

“You are always late. You always have a different narrative before the next one really starts to take hold,” joked longtime Biden pollster John Anzalone. “We’re on the offensive and what’s more important is what the president and the Democrats have done is give the frontline Democrats a real contrast to draw with the Republicans.”

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