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On Friday, October 16 Axios' Mike Allen and Margaret Talev hosted a conversation to unpack the news of the day, including coverage of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, featuring Sen. Chris Coons and Trump 2020 senior advisor for strategy Steve Cortes.

Steve Cortes discussed current national and state polls on the November election. According to Axios reporting, Biden maintains a double-digit lead over Trump nationally, but state polls are narrower.

  • On the importance of looking at states that will be key to securing Electoral College votes: "It's most important, I think, for us to highlight to our supporters, to everybody, that battleground state polls are what matter most,"
  • On Biden's double-digit lead: "In reality, they don't believe that they are up double digits nationally. We [at the Trump campaign] certainly don't believe that. And again, it's not a national election. It's a state by state election."

Sen. Chris Coons discussed the SCOTUS confirmation hearings, and expressed that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will likely to be confirmed by the Senate and appointed to the Supreme Court, barring a significant change from Republicans.

  • On the confirmation hearings: "The only thing that could happen to stop that at this point would be a real change of heart on the part of a number of our Republican colleagues."
  • Why Sen. Coons isn't voting to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett: "[Because of] her view towards reaching back and reexamining and overturning long-settled precedent...from labor rights and environmental protection, to Native American rights, to the rights of criminal defendants and privacy and health care."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress certifies Joe Biden's Electoral College win

The House reconvenes Wednesday night for the joint session after pro-Trump mobs stormed the Capitol. Photo: Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images

A joint session of Congress ended a day of siege by officially certifying on Thursday President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the November election, the final step ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.

The bottom line: The final votes in Congress confirm that Biden will be the 46th president of the United States—despite some Republican lawmakers' challenges and the rampage through the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden picks Merrick Garland for attorney general

Joe Biden touches Merrick Garland after President Obama nominated him to the Supreme Court in March 2016. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Judge Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general on Thursday, seeking to place in the nation's top law enforcement job a respected federal appeals judge whose Supreme Court nomination Republicans blocked five years ago.

Why it matters: News of the selection, first reported by Politico, came just hours after the country learned that Democrats would likely win both Senate runoff elections in Georgia and take control of the Senate, making it harder for Republicans to block nominations.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.