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Trump in the Rose Garden on July 14. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's new campaign manager Bill Stepien dismissed recent polls that show Joe Biden leading Trump by double digits, claiming in his first official statement in the job Thursday that similar polls "had the world convinced that Hillary Clinton would be elected in 2016."

The big picture: Stepien, who replaced Brad Parscale on Wednesday after a raft of polling showed Trump down badly both nationally and in swing states, said the campaign's new goal is to "expose Joe Biden as a hapless tool of the extreme left" and "contrast his failures with the undeniable successes of President Trump."

What he's saying: Stepien praised Parscale's time as manager, noting that he "built an unprecedentedly strong campaign based on data and technology."

  • He said the Trump campaign has "a better team, better voter information, a better ground game, better fundraising, and most importantly, a better candidate with a better record" than Biden's campaign.
  • "With 109 days left, our goal is clear — to win each day we have left until election day. If we win more days than Joe Biden wins, President Trump will be re-elected," Stepien said.
  • "The same media polls that had the world convinced that Hillary Clinton would be elected in 2016 are trying the same trick again in 2020.  It won’t work.”

Between the lines: With this statement, Stepien is doing three things, Axios' Margaret Talev notes:

  1. Asserting himself as an empowered campaign manager in the face of reports that Jared Kushner is really running the show
  2. Ensuring Parscale gets his due credit and that they can have a good working relationship after Trump sidelined him and elevated Stepien
  3. Signaling a tactical strategy of trying to paint an establishment Democrat as a leftist radical and win daily news cycles

Go deeper: Trump's summer shakeup shows he knows he's losing

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 23, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Biden looks to stem oil "transition" furor amid GOP attacks

Former Vice President Joe Biden. ANGELA WEISS / Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is looking to blunt attacks in response to his comments in Thursday night's debate about a "transition from the oil industry," as Republicans look to make the remarks a liability in the closing days of the race.

Driving the news: Biden campaign spokesperson Bill Russo, in comments circulated to reporters Friday afternoon, said the former VP "would not get rid of fossil fuels," but wants to end subsidies.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

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