Sep 14, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 536 words, a 2-minute read.

🚨An intelligence review hasn't been able to confirm a Russian bounty program against U.S. troops, said the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

  • "It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie told NBC News.

🎬 Tonight on "Axios on HBO" (11 p.m. ET/PT): Courtenay Brown talks with Eviction Lab founder Matthew Desmond about the coming COVID catastrophe ... In an exclusive interview with Ina Fried, Melinda Gates calls out the politicization of the coronavirus (clip) ... Match Group CEO Shar Dubey tells Dion Rabouin about the spike in online dating ... And hear from Trump superfans in a short doc filmed at Lake of the Ozarks.

1 big thing: Biden spending alarms Trump allies
A scene from a Biden ad series aimed at Black Americans, "Shop Talk," announced today. Image: Biden for President

Joe Biden's mammoth $364 million August fundraising haul is leading to tens of millions worth of ads in battleground states.

The big picture: “It should be an alarm to every Republican donor that they’ve got to dig deep and give more,” Club for Growth head David McIntosh told AP.

  • “Fox News will help carry (Trump’s) message, but the mainstream media won’t. That means he’s got to have enough resources to go over their heads and talk directly with voters.”

The Trump campaign tells me ad spending will be up 50% over last week, with Arizona and Pennsylvania added, for a total of eight states with advertising on broadcast and local cable. The Trump campaign also continues to buy on national cable, including a spot contrasting Trump and Biden on the economy.

  • The campaign said it’s a “mid-8 figures” buy, with the economy as the message, and said Trump is also expanding an existing urban radio buy.
  • The earlier six states were Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Between the lines: Roughly two-thirds of Trump's Facebook ads are geared toward fundraising — not voter persuasion — in non-battleground states, the AP notes, citing an analysis by the firm Applecart.

  • About half of the battleground ads focus on voter persuasion.

The bottom line: Trump has never lacked for attention, but Biden has nearly doubled Trump's spending over the last month.

Photo: Donald J. Trump for President
2. Pic du jour
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A drone view of boats and vehicles along the side of Route 46 as people try to put them on higher ground before the possible arrival of Hurricane Sally in Shell Beach, Louisiana.

  • The storm is threatening to bring heavy rain, high winds and a dangerous storm surge from Louisiana to Florida.
3. Catch up quick
  1. The American Federation of Teachers would support requiring in-school teachers to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Go deeper.
  2. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) pointedly told President Trump that climate change is "exacerbating" the wildfires currently ravaging the West Coast. Go deeper.
  3. The U.S. is barring some imports from China's Xinjiang region due to the government's "illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor." Go deeper.
  4. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held "virtually" this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Go deeper.
4. 1 🎃 thing
Photo: Hershey's via Reuters

Hershey, the candy giant, assisted in developing a website to help people determine whether and how to celebrate Halloween during COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • "The suggestions range from trick-or-treating with masks in areas that are low risk to Halloween candy hunts at home in areas that are high risk."

Why it matters: Halloween is a Big Deal for Big Candy.

  • "Hershey said trick-or-treating makes up about half of its Halloween candy sales. The company said it is shifting marketing this year to focus on the other half—candy dishes at home."
Mike Allen