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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 announcement sounded like he was ready to skip the primary. He dove right in, directly attacking his hoped-for competitor: President Donald Trump.

The big picture: Axios reached out to every Democratic presidential campaign over the past few days to preview their general election strategy.

Here's what they said:

  • Sen. Kamala Harris' campaign said they'll focus on "Harris the prosecutor." "If you were to canvas the Democratic electorate, a significant portion of it thinks Donald Trump is a criminal, and who best to take that on than a prosecutor?" a campaign aide said.
  • Sen. Cory Booker will play up that Trump came in on a promise to drain the swamp, "but we've seen the exact opposite — he's enriching his pals across the country," a Booker campaign aide said. The aide said Booker is running on the idea that America needs to restore justice and fairness in a time when the Trump administration has chipped away at it.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar's campaign said she'll focus on Trump's empty promises, specifically on health care and prescription drugs, and she'll point to how her record in office shows "she's getting things done as a senator and he isn't as president."
  • Julián Castro's message will be: "I'm the antithesis to Donald Trump. I’m a young Latino man who grew up in a family with modest means. I know what it looks like to achieve the American dream," per a Castro spokesperson.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren's spokesperson pointed Axios to her Feb. 9 announcement speech where she stated that Trump "is not the cause of what’s broken, he’s just the latest, and most extreme, symptom of what’s gone wrong in America." She'll prioritize how she would fight for big, structural change.
  • John Delaney's spokesperson said they're "going to make a really good case for the fact that we actually need a boring president. We need the guy who can get the job done and won’t make a bunch of waves."
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell will note that he's the product of a working family, first in his family to go to college, and still paying down his student loan debt. "He sees and hears what working Americans need because he always has been in the same boat as them,” his campaign said.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee's team says he will contrast Trump's pessimism with his optimism, specifically how the president "acts as though Americans can’t solve the impacts of climate change, while the governor is optimistic we can take on this existential threat," an Inslee spokesperson said.
  • Rep. Tim Ryan will argue that he can unite Americans, while Trump just divides them, a Ryan campaign aide said.

What we're hearing: Some Democratic operatives told Axios they worry about Trump dominating this election cycle the way he did in 2016 — something that could easily happen with Biden making Trump's character the focus of his campaign.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.