Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden has an Elizabeth Warren problem.

The big picture: Warren is rising in national, battleground and state polls, electrifying liberals with her very specific and very liberal ideas — and she's well-positioned to undermine Biden, win or lose.

  • Warren has the ability to unify the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, especially if she locks arms with AOC in attacking Biden’s more cautious and conventional politics. 
  • Even if she tops out, her politics are much closer to Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris, so she could help lift another candidate over Biden with her endorsement and support.

Be smart: Biden’s people are worried about her rise, and feel they caught a break in not having to face her in the first debate. 

  • "Avoided her and thus avoided a potential first round TKO," a Biden confidant told me.

The intrigue: President Trump has told people he thought he killed her campaign with his "Pocahontas" smear and that he’s surprised by her resurgence, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • Trump, in private chats, wonders if she he sprang the taunts too early.

A Biden source tells me: "What we see here is a battle between Bernie and Warren for the left lane of the Dem electorate — Warren’s rise is largely coming from Bernie, not from Biden. A good reminder that Biden appeals to a much wider swath of the electorate than either of them do."

A Biden adviser adds:

  • "Warren's 'rise' isn’t a surprise. ... What was surprising was Warren's slow start — she’s now where we thought she'd be upon entry."
  • "It doesn't matter to us whether it's Bernie or Warren — either way we are happy to have someone who is operating in the far left lane in second place."

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden seeks $2 trillion clean energy and infrastructure spending boost

Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden expanded his energy and climate plans Tuesday with a call for spending $2 trillion over four years on climate-friendly infrastructure — a proposal the campaign is casting as part of a wider economic recovery package.

Why it matters: The plan, which is the focus of a speech Biden will deliver this afternoon, represents a long-anticipated plan to move his climate platform further left and make it more expansive.

4 former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk

CDC director Robert Redfield and President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blasted the Trump administration's "repeated efforts to subvert" agency guidelines related to reopening schools, accusing the White House in a scathing Washington Post op-ed of undermining science with "partisan potshots."

Why it matters: The directors, Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan and David Satcher and acting head Richard Besser, served in parts of the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. They said they "cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence."

Chinese students at U.S. colleges face deep uncertainty

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new visa guideline issued last week would strip international students in the U.S. of their student visa if their college classes are online-only amid the pandemic.

Why it matters: More than 360,000 Chinese students are enrolled at U.S. colleges. Many of them could be forced to return to China if the rule change is implemented.