In his speech, Biden denounced political violence and “conspiracy and malice lies,” while warning Americans against Republican officials and activists trying to undermine Tuesday’s vote.
“In our bones, we know democracy is in jeopardy,” Biden said in his speech.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Thursday that Biden wanted to “issue one final warning” about the threat to democracy ahead of the midterms “to make it very clear” that people are still peddling “the big lie.” — the false claim by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was stolen. Klain said Biden’s decision to give a speech was also influenced by Republicans raising the issue of withholding elections in future terms and the violent attack last week on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
“I think all of those things came together and led to the president making the strong points he made last night,” Klain said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Biden and his White House spokesperson team have gone to great lengths in their pre-midterm messaging to differentiate between what they describe as more mainstream Republicans and the “ultra-MAGA” wing. from the GOP of Trump’s staunch allies. It is this latter group, Biden argued, that poses a threat to democracy with its reluctance to concede the 2020 presidential election and its efforts to gain greater control of the country’s electoral infrastructure.
“I think the president’s remarks last night, they were very strong and bipartisan, made it clear that the majority of Republicans, like the overwhelming majority of Democrats, oppose political violence but targeting and talking about Republican officials in MAGA who were waving this,” Klain said.
Clinton, in her interview with CNN, did not draw a similar distinction. She said Republicans didn’t care about voter safety but “wanted to scare voters” and called it “ironic” that Republicans run their campaigns on the issue of crime, but “want to scare voters” then fell silent” after the attack on Speaker Pelosi’s husband last week. . And though it was condemned by many top Republicans, the attack on Paul Pelosi at his San Francisco home came as a blow to other GOP members who joked about the violent break-in that left the 82-year-old with a fractured skull.
“I find it ironic and frankly disturbing that when Paul Pelosi is attacked by an intruder in his own home with a hammer, Republicans are silent about this crime,” Clinton said. “They don’t care about voter safety. They just want to keep voters scared, because they think if voters are scared, if they respond to negative messages, you know, they’ll have a better chance and that’s, you know, really unfortunate.
The former secretary of state acknowledged it was an ‘uphill battle’ to convince people to come out and vote in a midterm election, attributing low poll numbers to Democrats to a “participation issue” rather than a messaging issue. Democrats have largely campaigned on the issue of abortion rights, while voters’ main concern is the economy and inflation.
Clinton said it’s hard to ‘tell people what’s going to happen in the future’ when they’re mostly focused on the present, pointing out that Republicans ‘have absolutely no plan to do anything about it’ on the cost of living and the economy. She pointed to Republican plans to overhaul Social Security and Medicare.
But she admitted one criticism of the Democratic Party’s message during the midterm election cycle: Not conveying well enough what has been accomplished in the first two years of Biden’s presidency. She pointed to new infrastructure, investments in manufacturing and new ways to reduce health care costs.
“In fact, the work Democrats are doing to help the economy and help people deal with global inflation, not just US inflation, is really impressive. And we need to get that message across more effectively. said Clinton.
Clinton, along with Vice President Kamala Harris, will appear at a campaign event for New York Governor Kathy Hochul later Thursday in New York City. Hochul is running against Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in a surprisingly close gubernatorial race for the blue state. Hochul’s lead, once in double digits by the average of RealClearPolitics polls, now stands at 6.2 percentage points.
“I think you will see at the rally tonight where I will be with Governor Hochul and Vice President Harris a very strong message about how this election needs to be put forward for everyone and voters need to go and vote for themselves, vote to make a real difference in their lives,” Clinton said.