Jun 20, 2019

Biden's debate emergency

Mike Allen, author of AM

Biden speaks at a Democratic National Committee event in Atlanta on June 6, 2019. Photo: Dustin Chambers/Getty Images

Joe Biden's praise for segregationist senators showed starkly his vital job in next week's opening debate: Show he's a man of these times, not a man out of time.

Why it matters: Nothing worries Biden advisers more than public reminders that he's a throwback to a bygone era younger Democrats want to erase.

  • "He has to focus on where we are going rather than where he has been," a Biden friend said. "He knows this, and he knows he has to do it during the debate in two- and three-minute bites."
  • During remarks at two fundraisers in Maryland last night, Biden made no apology for saying Tuesday that the Senate "got things done" with "civility" even with segregationists with whom he disagreed, AP reports.

The state of play: Other 2020 Dems harshly condemned Biden's invocation of long-dead segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly back then.

What's new: Last night in Chevy Chase, Md., Biden tried to revise and extend those remarks, saying he "detested" what the two Democrats "stood for in terms of segregation."

  • Praising the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Biden said: "[W]e had to put up with the likes of like Jim Eastland and Hermy Talmadge and all those segregationists."
  • "[W]e were able to beat them on everything they stood for," Biden continued, according to a pool report by Maggie Severns of Politico. "We, in fact, detested what they stood for in terms of segregation and all the rest."

What Biden's thinking: He will keep pounding away on the theme that he alone has the experience and broad appeal to beat Trump.

  • Biden adviser Anita Dunn said on MSNBC: "He didn't praise them, he didn't praise their positions, he certainly didn't endorse their positions. It's a story he's told many times. And the point of the story is that you have to be able to work with people, even if they hold positions repugnant to you, in order to make some progress."

Go deeper ... What they're saying: Biden's race backlash

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

5 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.