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Former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa during his "No Malarkey" bus tour. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Joe Biden's 2020 campaign is now running a TV version of his viral digital ad — which shows other world leaders laughing at President Trump at NATO — in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Why it matters: The former vice president is leaning heavily on foreign policy to make his electability pitch to voters and demonstrate another clear contrast between himself and Trump.

  • He did this last week during his "No Malarkey" bus tour throughout Iowa, and the foreign policy-focused ad got so much attention that the campaign wants to continue hammering this theme to as many voters as possible before the February caucuses.

What they're saying: The Biden campaign argues that one of his strongest contrasts with Trump making the case to voters that Trump "embarrasses" America on the world stage, whereas Biden would work to restore the country's global standing with other world leaders.

  • The numbers don't lie: "Laughed At" — which the campaign released last week targeting likely caucus-goers in Iowa on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Hulu — has racked up nearly 12 million views.
  • Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called it "one of the strongest ads of the 2020 campaign" that's "both mortifying & powerful to watch."
  • The TV ad is part of the campaign's $4 million ad buy in Iowa that started Nov. 1 and runs through caucus day. It will also run nationally this weekend during the Iowa vs. Iowa State basketball game.

Be smart: Testing ads on social media before going up on TV allows 2020 campaigns to get a better sense of which messages and videos perform better with voters — and for a fraction of the cost.

The bottom line: With the Iowa caucuses just weeks away, and Biden in third and fourth place in several Iowa polls, the campaign thinks a strong foreign policy message is one way to try to win over voters throughout the state.

Go deeper: Trump slams "two-faced" Justin Trudeau for mocking him in leaked video

Go deeper

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. fears Iran won’t scale back to 2015 nuclear deal

Officials gather in Vienna on Sept. 29 for the first day of renewed nuclear talks with Iran. Photo: EU Vienna Delegation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. officials have extremely low expectations as world powers resume negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear program, believing the Iranians aren't yet ready to negotiate seriously, Axios is told.

Driving the news: Senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community have assessed the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, thinks of his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, as a weak accommodationist who negotiated a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers in 2015.