Posts tagged with "Milwaukee"

Five takeaways from Joe Biden’s CNN Town Hall

February 18, 2021

President Joe Biden took part in his first town hall since entering the White House on February16 —answering questions from CNN’s Anderson Cooper (and audience members) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

CNN’s Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza watched—and provided the following takeaways on the president’s performance:

  1. A hard deadline on vaccinations: Less than five minutes into the broadcasst, Biden made a promise that will be the big new—not just today, but for months to come: He said that “by the end of July, we’ll have over 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every single American.” That pledge sets the clock ticking on Biden and his administration’s efforts to ensure that every single person in America who wants a vaccine will have one by the end of July. Biden also said he expected to have 400 million doses by the end of May. And, Cillizza noted, he set another goal: That things would be largely back to normal in the United States by next Christmas.) It’s worth noting that this is a change from Biden’s previous pledge from last month that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the “spring.”  Biden laid the blame for the need to push that timeline at the feet of the Trump Administration, insisting that his predecessor “wasted so much time” in dealing with the virus.
  1. Clearing up the school reopening question: Biden’s press shop got into a bit of hot water over the past week by claiming that schools opening one day a week would count toward his pledge to open the majority of schools within his first 100 days in office. Critics, rightly, pointed out that it appeared as a bit of a cop-out, since most parents, desperate after almost a year of virtual learning, don’t see one day of school a week as anything close to normal. Biden blamed the confusion on a “mistake in communication,” insisting that he believes that a majority of students from kindergarten to 8th grade would be back in school— with “many” of them going five days a week, he told CNN.
  2. Biden as comforter-in-chief: Perhaps the biggest contrast between Biden and the man he replaced in office is empathy, CNN’s Cillizza says. Former President Donald Trump had none; Biden is all empathy, wearing his heart on his sleeve. The town hall format played to Biden’s strength in that regard—and provided a stark reminder of just how radically different Trump was from anyone who came before (or after) him in the office. Biden told several questioners to talk to him after the town hall in order to help deal with their specific problems. And in one striking exchange, a mother with her eight-year-old daughter stood up and asked Biden what to tell kids who are worried about getting COVID and dying. “Don’t be scared, honey,” the President told the little girl, speaking directly to her as he told her that kids don’t usually get the coronavirus, and, when they do, they very rarely pass it on. It was a grace note—and one that would have been unimaginable during Trump’s presidency.
  3. The end of (talking about) Trump: Biden did his best not to mention the former President by name. (Biden’s preferred way to name Trump without naming him was to refer to the 45th President as “the former guy.”) When asked direct questions about Trump—on his impeachment, on his meddling in the Justice Department—Biden was even more blunt about his views on the man he beat last November. “I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump,” Biden said at one point. At another, he said this: “For four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump. The next four years, I want to make sure all the news is the American people.” (That line drew applause from the socially distanced audience.) What Biden clearly believes is that the best way to deal with Trump is to rob him of the media oxygen he so badly craves. The less Biden talks about Trump, the less attention Trump gets. It’s a solid theory—especially when you consider that Trump has been de-platformed from Twitter and Facebook.
  4. A radical view on polarization: Despite study after study that shows that both Congress and the nation as a whole are more deeply divided along party lines than ever before, Biden insisted that we’re not. “The nation is not divided,” he argued. “You have fringes on both ends.” Er, OK. I know that Biden believes that things will return to normal the longer we get from Trump being president—and that he is uniquely situated to make bipartisanship a thing again. He campaigned on it. And he believes he won, at least in part, on that message. Maybe! But there’s very, very little evidence so far in his term—and yes, of course it’s early!— that suggests the Republican Party’s elected officials are ready to renounce their Trump-y ways, opines Cizzilla. And there’s even less evidence that the GOP base wants anything other than Trump. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier on Tuesday showed that 75% of Republicans want Trump to play a “prominent” role in the party.

Research contact: @CNN

Democrats postpone presidential convention until August 17

April 6, 2020

The Democrats are “Biden” their time—postponing their convention and presidential nomination process by one month to allow them to “germinate” ideas and policies instead of COVID-19.

Specifically, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is pushing back the party’s convention in Milwaukee, from July 13 to August 17, the week before the Republican Party’s convention, Politico reports.

The delay came after likely nominee Joe Biden publicly called for the convention to be rescheduled in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And it followed weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions with party leaders and the campaigns of the two remaining presidential candidates, Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.

“I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November,” convention CEO Joe Solmonese said in a statement on April 2.

In addition to postponing, DNC officials are discussing ways to scale back the convention, Politico reports. The committee is not flush with cash and wants to avoid the appearance of throwing a big party in the midst of a severe economic downturn.

“People are going to be hurting,” a DNC official said. “It’s not a time be lavish.”

While there has been talk about having a virtual convention, party officials and Biden—the presumptive nominee —would like to have a live event as long as it can be done safely, according to sources within the DNC and one with Biden’s campaign.

“Joe earned this, and we do want something to mark that, but it’s really complicated,” the Biden campaign source said.

The new date would put the Democratic National Convention back-to-back with its Republican counterpart, which is set to begin August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The proximity in time presents messaging challenges for both sides: Biden will not have as much time to enjoy a potential polling bounce before the Republican National Convention begins dominating coverage. And Republicans will not have as much time to plan out responses to speeches and events in Milwaukee.

The new dates also complicate the Biden campaign’s financial situation, because it will not be able to access general election funds until August instead of July. Biden has relied more on wealthy donors who gave the maximum amount than Bernie Sanders did. But the former vice president isn’t legally allowed to access the portion of those contributions dedicated to the general election until he’s officially the nominee.

The coronavirus has undoubtedly taken a toll on Biden’s fundraising just as he was starting to pull in record sums for his campaign. However, Biden’s campaign staff was relatively small for a de facto nominee because of his earlier struggles with fundraising, so the campaign was used to subsisting on less than its rivals, Politico says.

Biden aides said the campaign has saved additional money during the coronavirus crisis because it scaled back on advertising, didn’t go on a hiring binge and doesn’t have to pay the overhead of a traditional campaign as the candidate and staff shelter in place.

“It’s amazing how much you save if you don’t put on rallies and have to fly across the country every day,” an adviser said.

Another Biden campaign official said the new dynamic was manageable. “We can still raise and spend primary money up to the time we are the nominee, and we can raise (and not spend) general money,” the official said. “This is about when the 2008 convention took place, and it didn’t hurt us.”

Research contact: @politico

In focus group, only agreement is on Mueller

April 18, 2018

Donald Trump’s Republican base does not want the POTUS to fire Robert Mueller; but they will not protect the special counsel if the president does decide to boot him, based on findings of a focus group conducted as part of Emory University’s “Dialogue with America” by Peter D. Hart, a longtime Democratic pollster.

During the two-hour discussion among a dozen men and women—covered by The Washington Post— the Trump supporters in the group were adamant that they still agreed with Trump that the Russia investigation is “a witch hunt.”

However, both supporters and critics of the administration believed he should not axe the special counsel.

The Trump supporters had a variety of reasons, but they all thought that public perception of the president would tank if he tried to stop the investigation.

People would be suspicious,” Betsy Novak, 55, a greenhouse worker who voted for Trump said to the group, according to the Post.

It [would be] hiding something,” said Curt Hetzel, 48, a shipping and receiving manager who also voted for Trump.

Politically, it would be a terrible idea,” said yet another Trump backer, Sam Goldner, 25, a warehouse manager.

The focus group was held in  just outside Milwaukee, which the Post characterized as “ a perennial suburban swing area in a state that helped propel Trump to a surprise victory and is home to competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests this fall.”

Aside from the opinions on the Russia investigation, thoughts on the administration were split along political lines. “Partisan America is alive and well in Wisconsin,” Hart said, adding, “I felt that people are pretty frozen in place. The one thing they agreed with was Robert Mueller should not be fired. That’s about as close as they get to a unified position.”

Research contact: @PhilipRucker