White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah on Thursday criticized a campaign ad from a Democratic House candidate in Virginia that compares President Donald Trump to Osama bin Laden as “nothing short of reprehensible.”

"Leaders from across the political spectrum — starting with Leader Pelosi — must swiftly condemn this abhorrent message."
— Raj Shah, per a White House press pool report.

The backdrop: The candidate, Dan Helmer, is running in a crowded field for Virginia’s 10th congressional district. He’s seeking to unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock, who’s reportedly one of the most vulnerable House Republicans.

  • Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, told Politico that the Minority Leader “does not condone the end of this ad,” adding that “if the president wants to join in raising the level of civility in politics, he should begin with himself.”

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In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

Texas Democrats beg Biden to spend now

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The Biden campaign is rebuffing persistent pleas from Texas Democrats to spend at least $10 million in the Lone Star state, several people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: If Texas — which has 38 electoral votes and is steadily getting more blue, but hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976 — flipped to the Biden column, it would be game over. But the RealClearPolitics polling average stubbornly hovers at +2.6 for Trump — and Team Biden appears more focused on closer targets.