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Democrats prepare to sell Biden as consequential president this fall

Democrats are set to roll out a major spending campaign that will highlight the benefits of the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act while seeking to recast President Joe Biden as a consequential and effective leader.

Biden is spending much of August on vacation, but his Cabinet members have spread out across the country to sell voters on his suddenly moving agenda, seeking to avoid a Democratic wipeout in the midterm elections.


“Every single Democrat in the House and the Senate — every single one — voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, and every single Republican — every single one — voted against prescription drug negotiation,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain told CNN Thursday. “[Republicans] voted against more incentives for clean energy, voted against a cap on what you spend out of pocket for your prescription drugs, voted against reducing health insurance premiums.”

Klain’s words are a preview of what voters are likely to hear from Democrats this fall on television ads and in their social media feeds.

A trio of Democratic groups is rolling out a $10 million national TV ad campaign to sell voters on the Inflation Reduction Act, Politico reported, as well as to ward off Republican attacks related to the bill.

Biden Cabinet members are hosting events in states including California, Iowa, New Jersey, Arizona, Mississippi, and Nevada at the end of this week, and the president himself plans to make stops in battleground states Ohio and Pennsylvania to sell the legislation after finishing up his vacation.

One challenge will be deciding which aspects of the wide-ranging bill to focus on first. The legislation includes climate change provisions, a cap on insulin costs for Medicare recipients, a higher minimum corporate income tax, tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles, and $80 billion for a beefed-up IRS.

While he contends that all of the bill is popular, Democratic strategist Brad Bannon says the prescription drug spending cap should be at the leading edge when it comes to messaging, particularly in states such as Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania that have older populations.

“The icing on the cake is that Republicans voted against covering insulin dosages for Americans who are not on Medicare,” he said, pushing for a message similar to Klain’s CNN comments. “That’ll be the subject of many attack ads.”

However, Republicans are launching their own attacks against the bill and have been doing so for weeks. Their chief complaint concerns the $80 billion for the IRS, which will result in tens of thousands of new employees at the agency and a higher audit rate for all income brackets.

GOPers also contend that high inflation will supersede any other issues in the minds of voters.

“They’re making life for normal people more difficult. I don’t see how that is a winning effort,” said Republican strategist David Carney. “They’re doubling the force of the IRS at a time when people are still worried about the economy, the southern border, and economics issues. It makes [Democrats] feel good, but it’s not going to move the needle.”

Simple awareness of the bill may be part of the battle. A recent poll from Third Way and Impact Research found that only 24% of voters are aware that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law last November and considered a major win for Biden, exists.


That’s where messaging and advertising come in, Bannon argues, pointing to a Morning Consult-Politico poll that found 76% of respondents supported the bill’s prescription drug costs cap. He says the legislation can be touted as a sign of a revitalized Biden presidency and that good messaging can help shore up his approval ratings simultaneously.

“The reality is that Biden is not on the ballot, but he is on the ballot,” Bannon said. “I think Democrats have to drive this bill to improve his job ratings. Whether Biden’s name is on the ballot or not, he’s on the minds of voters.”

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