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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Senior Trump administration officials are crafting a plan ahead of the president's re-election bid that sounds like a blend of Bill Clinton's "triangulation" and Barack Obama's "pen and a phone."

The big picture: The plan — which acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and policy staff are developing, and which is in its early stages — would have Trump sign a series of executive orders on issues including education, drug pricing, the opioid epidemic and veterans affairs. Aides say the moves would appeal to Democrats and Republicans.

What's next? White House officials have already drafted some of these executive orders, and the White House Counsel's office has started vetting them. Officials familiar with the planning say they think most Americans will back them, as was the case with criminal justice reform.

  • White House officials have been tight-lipped about the content of the orders, so it's way too early to say if they will be substantive or just political theater.

The plan is still in its infancy, sources cautioned. "It gives the president the chance to take actions that go over the heads of and can be done without Congress," said a source familiar with the planning.

An early example of the strategy: On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order "on a National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Suicide." The order called for a "Task Force," "roadmap" and "national research strategy" to "end the national tragedy of veteran suicide."

It's also an early example of the potential pitfalls. Task forces, road maps and national strategies don't exactly get people's blood running.

The emerging strategy assumes that Congress won't pass any legislation to advance Trump's agenda.

  • And the plans are coalescing as Trump's polling numbers sag with women and independents.

But it has some major, immediate hurdles.

  • First, you can't exactly break out the confetti cannon over a bunch of new task forces.
  • Second, centrist issues rarely excite the president. So even if he makes meaningful moves, his aides may still have to battle to get him to capitalize on them.

Go deeper

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.