Photo: Via the Biden campaign

Former first lady Michelle Obama is making her closing argument for Joe Biden this morning, arguing that President Trump has mismanaged the pandemic while "stoking fears about Black and brown Americans."

The big picture: In a video message, the former first lady, who remains wildly popular in the Democratic party, testifies to Biden's personal qualities while sharply criticizing Trump's handling of the racial unrest that has been roiling the country.

  • Trump is "lying about how minorities will destroy the suburbs ... whipping up violence and intimidation," Obama said.
  • "So what the president is doing is, once again, patently false ... it’s morally wrong ... and yes, it is racist. But that doesn't mean it won't work." 

Why it matters: Michelle Obama motivates voters across the Democratic party and was a cut above other speakers at the Democratic convention in August, generating five times as much social interaction than any other speaker, including former President Barack Obama, according to Axios' Neal Rothschild.

Flashback: In late August when she addressed the racial unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Obama said there was "systemic racism" coming from both the White House and elsewhere in the country.

What she's saying: "It didn't have to be like this," Obama said about the pandemic. "So many other countries aren’t experiencing this level of extended suffering and uncertainty."

  • She called Trump "a man who knew how deadly this virus is, but who lied to us, and told us it would just disappear. Who, in the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, doubled down on division and resentment."

Go deeper

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.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

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