It’s been two weeks since President Joe Biden announced his re-election bid, but Wednesday will be the first time he has traveled outside of Washington as a candidate.
The departure, one of many planned for the coming months, illustrates an early campaign strategy of highlighting Biden’s work as president rather than fast-forwarding to an election still 545 days away.
At an event in a swing district in suburban New York City, Biden will once again use congressional Republicans as his main political sparring partner, arguing that they are jeopardizing hard-fought economic gains by threatening to suspension of payments.
He will also hold the first in-person fundraisers of his reelection bid, beginning to stockpile a campaign war chest that advisers predict will surpass his 2020 fundraising record of just over $1K. millions.
Similar day trips on Air Force One are expected in the summer months, as Biden highlights new infrastructure projects, business expansion and lowering health care costs, all at official—that is, funded—events. by taxpayers, biding their time until the Republican Party is established. about his candidate and the general election campaign begins in earnest.
Meanwhile, the Biden campaign itself is slowly and quietly adding staffers, with an eye toward building the necessary infrastructure for the long term. And on Wednesday she will announce a team of super surrogates who will fan out across the country at more political events to help, as the campaign says, keep Biden focused on where she belongs: being president of the United States.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, Biden’s campaign co-chairman, said it’s like making sure LeBron James has a strong team around him.
“You will see a real team effort to support the president and be able to get his message out to the world, so it’s not all up to him,” Katzenberg said in an interview.
Wednesday’s campaign is launching a so-called National Advisory Board of 50 prominent Democrats who will do media interviews, help with fundraising and travel to key battleground states to mobilize key constituencies.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a former House Speaker, will chair the group, which also includes well-known national Democrats like Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. as well as California Governor Gavin Newsom and rising stars like Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is one of nine mayors in the group, which also includes freshman Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida, the youngest member of Congress.
As for the Biden events, it builds heavily on the strategy President Barack Obama used in 2011, when he also launched a re-election campaign amid a tax battle with congressional Republicans; then it was a potential government shutdown followed months later by a debt-limit deadlock.
Early in his 2012 candidacy, Obama made comments about his economic agenda and held public meetings across the country, helping draw a general contrast to the Republicans who ultimately zeroed in on Mitt Romney once he became president. the Republican candidate.
“The advantage of the debt limit fight, or the budget fight like the one we had, is that there are stark differences between the two sides. And in the negotiations, those differences will become very clear,» Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager said in 2012. «In the absence of an opponent, that’s really helpful.»
In Wednesday’s trip to a district that elected a new Republican to Congress in November but also endorsed Biden in 2020, the president will be introduced by a seventh-grade science teacher, illustrating a job that could be scrapped due to to the cost reductions requested in the Chamber. The debt ceiling bill recently passed by the Republican Party, a White House official said.
It’s a line of attack the campaign plans to develop more directly ahead of next year’s election.
“As President Biden lays out his proven record of accomplishment and results delivered to the American people, the MAGA Republicans running for president continue their dangerous and unpopular agenda: preventing women from making their own health care decisions, banning the books, destroying Social Security, and undermining America’s free and fair elections. Voters rejected that agenda in 2020, 2022 and will do so again in 2024,” said Kevin Muñoz, campaign spokesman.
Campaigns may not be won in the year before an election, but getting a solid footing under the president’s effort by 2024 is critical, Messina said.
«The off year is the most important year, because you don’t have an opponent who beats you every day and the campaign can spend the year building,» he said. «For [Biden], he can keep going out there and talking about all the things he’s done and have people see the president doing things. Next year is more difficult, because everything is seen in a political context.»
Biden met campaign donors in Washington for a strategy session days after he formally launched his campaign. On Wednesday, he’ll begin collecting big-money checks, another early campaign imperative.
Katzenberg, a longtime prominent Democratic donor, predicts that Biden «will have all, if not more, of the resources he needs to run a competitive campaign» and that fundraising won’t take up too much of his time anytime soon.
“The fact is, unlike 2020, which was a sprint, this is a marathon,” Katzenberg said.
But he added that Biden being able to spend more time in person meeting with donors, after two years in which such meetings were constrained by covid and government demands, is already having an impact.
“They have not seen this president up close. They haven’t been able to shake hands and get a pat on the back for a couple of years,” he said. «For those people who have had some face-to-face time with him, it’s become genuine excitement.»