Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

President Trump has a sudden competitor for airtime: CNN and MSNBC covered President Obama's first 2018 campaign rally Saturday as if he were in a general-election race with his successor.

Be smart, from N.Y. Times' Adam Nagourney: "Obama’s decision to enter the fray ... could very well, as some Democrats acknowledge, energize Republican ... voters ... But he made clear his main goal [yesterday] was getting Democrats and independents, who are a big bloc of voters [in Orange County], to turn out."

What's happening: CNN ("ANY MOMENT") and MSNBC ("HAPPENING NOW") both went with empty-podium teases ahead of Obama's appearance in Anaheim, Calif., and then both used "BREAKING NEWS" tabs during his live remarks. Fox News was airing a taped show, but used soundbites later.

  • After calling out Trump and the Kochs in a speech the day before, Obama went with generic descriptions yesterday, but said, "[W]hen you look at the arc of American history, there’s always been a push and pull ... between those who promote the politics of hope and those who exploit the politics of fear."

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.