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President Biden in the Situation Room Sunday. Photo: The White House

President Biden aimed three numbered messages at three specific audiences during Sunday afternoon remarks on Afghanistan.

To Fox News viewers: "One, planes taking off from Kabul are not flying directly to the United States. They're landing at U.S. military bases and transit centers around the world."

  • To moderates in both parties: "Number two, at these sites where they're landing, we are conducting ... security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Anyone arriving in the United States will have undergone a background check."
  • To progressives: "Number three, once screened and cleared, we will welcome these Afghans, who helped us in the war effort over the last 20 years, to their new home in the United States of America. Because that’s who we are. That’s what America is."
Graphic: NBC News "Meet the Press"

Between the lines: This "Meet the Press" graphic captures new reasons for White House worry.

  • Biden's approval in a new NBC News poll was down 15 points in four months — with big drops among independents, rural residents and white respondents.
  • The poll was conducted Aug. 14-17. Kabul fell Aug. 15.

After talking to 40 leading Democrats, The New York Times reported (subscription) under the headline, "As Biden Faces a Political Crisis, His Party Looks On in Alarm":

  • "The harrowing [Afghanistan] images appalled even the president’s staunchest supporters, many of whom — like a majority of the American public — support the decision to remove American troops."
  • "But some of them worry the execution of the withdrawal has undermined Mr. Biden’s central campaign promise to restore a steady hand."

Congressional Republicans, already raring for next year's midterms, savored NBC's big swing toward the GOP among independents.

  • Among all voters, 47% want Democrats to stay in charge; 46% want a Republican-controlled Congress.

In Gallup polling Aug. 2-17, Biden's approval was 49% — his lowest to date, but statistically unchanged from 50% in July.

A danger sign for the White House in a CBS News/YouGov poll out yesterday: 63% approve of removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but only 47% approve of Biden's handling of the withdrawal.

  • That's down from 60% approval of Biden in July.

Biden's bottom line: "I think that history is going to record this was the logical, rational, and right decision to make," he said yesterday.

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Go deeper

Biden: Jan. 6 Capitol riot "was about white supremacy"

President Biden speaks during the 10th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Harris in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday that white supremacy motivated rioters who carried out the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: "The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion," Biden said at an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington.

The biggest headline from Biden's town hall

President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

What matters from President Biden's town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper at Baltimore Center Stage on Thursday:

The biggest headline: Biden is jettisoning the corporate tax increases that White House officials have insisted, for the past 10 months, are wildly popular across the country. He admitted he doesn't have the votes.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.