Decision 2024

Biden campaign lays out debate week strategy in new memo

The Biden campaign is gearing up for more than 1,000 events in the lead-up to Thursday’s debate, according to a memo shared first with NBC News.

Biden Trump 2020 debate
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The Biden campaign and its allies plan to hold 1,600 events and run a new slate of TV and digital advertisements ahead of Thursday’s presidential debate, which they called “one of the first moments … where a larger slice of the American electorate” will tune in to the campaign, according to a new memo obtained first by NBC News.

The events will include a nationwide mobilization of surrogates, events targeting groups the campaign sees as crucial to its coalition, like members of the LGBTQ community and college students, and 300 debate night watch parties.

Some of those watch parties will be hosted by social media content creators — to whom the campaign says it will grant access to the post-debate spin room, a place usually reserved for credentialed media.

This pre-debate push will kick off Monday, when the campaign and its allies will host 16 events across a dozen states to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, including events featuring Vice President Kamala Harris in Maryland and Arizona.

The Biden campaign is looking to present the debate as “two distinct visions for the future,” driving a contrast between the presumptive nominees in a razor-thin race less than five months before voters cast ballots.

Voters will see “President Biden, who is fighting for the American people, and Donald Trump, who will walk on stage as a convicted felon fighting for himself no matter how much harm he inflicts on the American people,” said Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler in the memo.

Tyler laid out key issues where Trump “continues to pose the most extreme threat,” pointing to the end of Roe v. Wade, attacks on democracy and economic plans.

An NBC News poll from April found that a plurality of registered voters — 23% —  said that inflation and the cost of living was the most important issue facing the country. But the same poll found that Trump pulled ahead by 22 points when voters were asked which of the two men would be better at dealing with the issue. 

Biden is spending several days at Camp David preparing for Thursday’s debate, including going toe-to-toe with his personal lawyer Bob Bauer, who is role-playing as Trump. Bauer also played Trump during debate preparation in 2020.

Bauer is joined by a slew of Biden confidants who are working to prepare the president ahead of the debate, including former chief of staff Ron Klain, campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and White House senior adviser Anita Dunn.

Trump has been holding informal policy sessions ahead of the debate. A campaign official also said that Trump’s rallies and interviews demonstrate “elite stamina,” adding that the former president “does not need to be programmed by staff” like Biden.

Polling indicates that the race to the Oval Office is neck and neck, with a Fox News poll from last week showing Biden garnering support from 50% of registered voters, compared to Trump getting 48% support, which is within the poll’s margin of error.

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