Biden ramping up for the midterms: ‘Expect more POTUS’
EXCLUSIVE: President Biden is ramping up for the midterm elections, rolling out endorsements for Democrats, hitting the campaign trail for fundraisers, underscoring his agenda and working to “sharpen the contrast” between his administration and congressional Republicans, a Biden adviser told Fox News.
“Expect more POTUS,” the adviser said, adding that in the months leading up to the midterm elections, the president will hit the trail with more travel to speak “directly to the American people both about what we’ve done and what we are doing.”
Part of Biden’s key strategy on the campaign trail, the adviser said, will be to “sharpen the contrast” between Democrats and Republicans.
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“Elections are about choices,” the adviser told Fox News. “You have President Biden and congressional Democrats who understand what people are going through and are working every day to bring down costs for the American people, and you have Republicans who continue to stand in the way of that.”
The adviser told Fox News that Americans will begin to see “more travel” from the president. The adviser cited as examples Biden’s recent trips to Iowa; his trip to North Carolina; and his travel to Portland and Seattle where he discussed the benefits of the bipartisan infrastructure law and his administration’s efforts, and the need, to lower prescription drug costs.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, earlier this month, echoed Biden’s sentiment of wanting to “be the president for all people” and wants to “govern for all people,” signaling that he will travel and discuss his and Democrats’ agenda in “red, blue and purple states.”
During those travels, the adviser told Fox News the president will “continue to focus on lowering prices for the American people.” The adviser added that Biden planned to tout the work his administration has done regarding COVID-19 and jobs.
“We have delivered for the American people,” the adviser said, noting the rise in vaccinations and the economy creating over 8 million jobs since January 2021.
The Labor Department said in its monthly report that payrolls in March rose by 431,000, slightly missing the 480,000 jobs forecast by Refinitiv economists. The unemployment rate, which is calculated based on a separate survey, fell to 3.6%, the lowest level since February 2020.
Job gains were broad-based, with the biggest increases in leisure and hospitality (112,000), professional and business services (102,000) and retail (49,000).
Millions of workers are seeing the largest pay gains in years, as companies compete with one another for a limited number of employees: Wages climbed 5.6% in March from the previous year, nearly double the pre-pandemic average of 3%.
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Many of those gains have been eroded, however, by the hottest inflation in nearly 40 years.
The Biden adviser told Fox News the president was “laser-focused” on working to lower prices, and during his time on the campaign trail, will focus his remarks on what he is now doing to lower prices amid record-high inflation in the United States.
Inflation numbers released earlier this month revealed a new four-decade high in March as Russia’s war on Ukraine fueled rapid price gains for oil and gas that wiped out the benefits of rising wages for most Americans.
A gas pump with a sticker of President Biden, at a gas station in Arlington, Virginia, on March 16, 2022.
(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images, File)
The consumer price index rose 8.5% in March from a year ago, according to the Labor Department report released Tuesday, marking the fastest increase since January 1982 when inflation hit 8.4% The CPI, which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents, jumped 1.2% in the one-month period from January.
The White House has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the record-high gas prices in the U.S., even coining the surge as the “#PutinPriceHike” and vowing that Biden will do everything he can to shield Americans from “pain at the pump.”
Biden, earlier this month, announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow E15 gasoline – gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend – to be sold in the United States this summer in an effort to expand Americans’ access to an affordable fuel supply amid the surge in gas prices across the nation.
The president, last week during a speech in Seattle, slammed the GOP, saying it “ain’t your father’s Republican Party,” and instead, has shifted to a “MAGA Party,” while warning that right-leaning politicians “who know better” are “afraid to act correctly” out of fear of losing a primary election.
The adviser slammed Republicans, saying they had “no plan to combat inflation,” and pointing to a tax plan rolled out by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which the adviser said would “increase taxes on millions of middle class Americans and would phase out social security and Medicare.”
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Scott and the NRSC rolled out the plan in February, calling it the “11 Point Plan to Rescue America,” which proposed raising income taxes on Americans.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” Scott wrote in the plan. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shut down the Scott proposal, saying last month that Republicans “will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”
President Biden will be ramping up his travel to support Democrats in the midterms, an adviser said.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
A senior Republican source told Fox News that “income tax hikes are never part of the discussion when Republicans are in charge in Washington.”
The president is also expected to focus on additional funding for law enforcement and his efforts to make ghost guns illegal.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Jamie Harrison giving the introduction speech for President Biden at the DNC Winter Meeting on March 10, 2022, in Washington.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, File)
As for Democrats, the adviser told Fox News that “frontlines and Senate candidates are running from a strong position.”
“They have good fundraising and are polling well,” the adviser said. “And Democrats are aligned on the issues we want to talk about and very clear about the choice that voters have.”
The Democratic National Committee brought in $16.5 million in March, and raised a total of $42 million for the first quarter.
In contrast, the Republican National Committee raked in $17.6 million in fundraising last month, bringing the total fundraising for the first quarter for the RNC to $47 million.
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Democrats retain a cash-on-hand advantage. The DNC reported $57.2 million in their coffers at the end of March, with the RNC reporting holding $44.9 million cash on hand.
Democrats could face a difficult political climate, as the party that wins the White House traditionally suffers setbacks in the ensuing midterms.
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The GOP needs a net gain of just one seat to recapture the majority in the 100-member Senate they lost when they were swept in the Jan. 2021 twin runoff elections in Georgia. And Republicans need a net gain of five seats in the 435-member House of Representatives to win back the majority the Democrats captured in the 2018 midterms.
“Other thing to remember is that it’s only April,” the Biden adviser told Fox News. “We have a few months before voters really start tuning into the midterms.”