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Photo verified by AP

Above, you see hundreds of desperate Afghans running alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it took off from Kabul yesterday.

Driving the news: The amateur video played around the world, and this photo is atop front pages across America, making it a defining image of the exit debacle — and, many Democrats fear, Joe Biden's presidency.

A legendary Democratic operative, and strong Biden supporter, told me: "Americans also wanted the Vietnam War to end. But its ending was traumatic and scarring, and definitely contributed to the impression that [President] Ford was bumbling and not in control of events."

  • Leon Panetta, SecDef and CIA director under President Obama, told CNN's John King: "I think of John Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs [botched Cuba invasion in 1961]. It unfolded quickly and the president thought that everything would be fine. And that was not the case." 
  • David Axelrod tweeted after Biden's speech yesterday that the president "made a compelling case for WHY we are leaving Afghanistan ... He didn’t do as well taking responsibility for HOW we got out, and the obvious failure to anticipate events."
People try to climb onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 as it taxis down the runway in Kabul yesterday. Photo verified by AP

A senior national security official expressed deep frustration to Axios' Hans Nichols about withdrawal plans left behind by President Trump.

  • "There was no [Trump] plan to evacuate our diplomats to the airport," the official said. "When we got in, on Jan. 20, we saw that the cupboard was bare." Keep reading.

Some House and Senate Democrats want part of their $3.5 trillion budget plan to go to refugee resettlement for those fleeing Afghanistan, Axios' Sarah Mucha, Alexi McCammond and Hans Nichols report.

  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for the U.S. to "marshal an international coalition to evacuate every Afghan citizen who is fleeing for their lives." Keep reading.

📺 Coming attractions: President Biden sits down tomorrow with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. Tonight at 9 p.m. ET, Fox News' Sean Hannity interviews former President Trump on Afghanistan and other topics.

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Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Podcasts

Why China’s hypersonic missile test matters for the U.S.

China tested a hypersonic missile last August, according to new reporting from the Financial Times. China says it wasn't a nuclear-capable missile, but a routine spacecraft check. So how worried should we be?

  • Plus, more tension between the Joes: Biden and Manchin.
  • And, remembering former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Guests: Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Hans Nichols.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Alex Sugiura, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Michael Hanf, and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Trump deposed under oath in lawsuit over 2015 protest

Former President Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

Former President Trump was questioned under oath for several hours on Monday in a deposition related to a 2015 lawsuit, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The suit alleges that Trump's security guards assaulted six people outside Trump Tower in New York while they were protesting Trump's derogatory comments about Mexico and Mexican immigrants.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.