WILMINGTON, Del. — Buoyed by strong fundraising and growing advantages in state and national polls, Joe Biden’s campaign is accelerating its staffing and television spending as the campaign turns toward the 100-day mark before Election Day, according to a new internal campaign memo obtained by NBC News.
It was just more than 100 days ago that Bernie Sanders officially dropped out of the presidential race, making Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee. Now, after recalibrating their entire structure for what has become an almost fully virtual operation, the Biden campaign argues it is “firing on all cylinders” to take its message to voters into the fall — focused on President Donald Trump’s failures on the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout.
The election, deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield writes in the memo, is a choice between an incumbent president “who has proven himself to be incapable of leading effectively” in a crisis, and a challenger “who has proven time and again he can deliver the leadership we need when it counts the most, and who has the character to see it through.”
“The conclusion voters continue to draw is straightforward and clear: Joe Biden cares about you and your family, and Donald Trump only cares about himself, the super-wealthy, and corporations — and he doesn’t care who he hurts,” Bedingfield writes.
The Biden campaign is marking the 100-day-out milestone with what it calls a weekend of action in battleground states across the country, with 500 virtual organizing events planned. Sunday night, the campaign is also holding a star-studded set of fundraisers which include a public, grassroots online concert featuring John Legend and Barbra Streisand.
By August, the Biden campaign, the DNC and its partners in the states will have “well over 2,000 staff” deployed for voter outreach, the memo says. Just as importantly in this pandemic, though, the campaign says it has nearly doubled the “active email list” in the last two months.
And after outraising the Trump campaign in May and June, the campaign is putting another $14.5 million toward television advertising in its top targeted states: Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. That’s in addition to a similar ad buy over the past week, meaning the campaign is now spending as much each week as it did the entire previous two-plus months.
Biden’s latest ads have focused squarely on Trump’s response to the pandemic, and his own newly-released economic plans. This in the face of the Biden campaign’s estimate that the Trump campaign and its allies have spent $60 million in ads since April 1, most attempting to portray Biden as mentally unfit for the presidency, and beholden to a radical left that would make Americans unsafe.
Bedingfield says that despite that onslaught, Biden’s favorability ratings have only increased as the president’s decreased.
“Time after time, Trump's advisers boast that they are certain the upteenth reboot of their anti-Biden messaging will work this go-round, only to quickly thereafter find themselves on defense, having elevated issues on which Donald Trump's record is extremely vulnerable,” Bedingfield writes. “Trump doesn’t have an argument for why he deserves to be reelected, so pouring money into ineffective attacks against his opponent is his only option. In terms Donald Trump understands, it’s the only club he’s got in his bag.”
Bill Stepien, Trump’s new campaign manager, said in his own 100-day briefing with reporters on Friday that their path to victory would be “a knock-down, drag-out fight to the very end,” and insisted that Trump still had “a better team, a better ground game, better fundraising, better digital, better data” and “a better candidate with a better record.”
“A lot of Americans know of Joe Biden, but far fewer far fewer know much about Joe Biden. Our job here every day is to change that and define him for who he is today — tool on the extreme left,” Stepien said.
Stepien also challenged the Biden campaign to expand its advertising from Arizona into Texas and Georgia if it really felt it had momentum. “I'll even buy their first ad,” he said. “We had the same conversation in 2016 so you know we feel good about three states. These are all states that come back home, had the same conversations four years ago. And we saw they all turned out on Election Night in November.”
CORRECTION (July 25, 2020, 10:48 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misspelled the first name of a popular singer who is supporting Biden. She is Barbra Streisand, not Barbara.