The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight

The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight
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Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We're Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here's what we're watching today on the campaign trail. 

 

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LEADING THE DAY:  

Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points Biden: 'We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us' MORE is confronting a unique dilemma: Keeping a media spotlight on his presidential campaign in the midst of an international crisis. 

Biden and his aides have raced to put together a media operation from the former vice president's Wilmington, Del., home. Since March 24, he's taken part in nearly a dozen television interviews. And his campaign has rolled out a newsletter, a podcast and a series of virtual roundtables and press briefings. 

All told, Biden's digital content generated views from more than 20 million people between March 24-28, his campaign said. 

But it's still hard for him to compete with the power and visibility of the presidency in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE's daily briefings are televised across news networks and draw an average audience of about 8.5 million. And a Fox News town hall last month featuring the president drew 4.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched town hall of the 2020 election cycle.

Biden's allies say that's not necessarily a bad thing. They acknowledge that he can't replicate the kind of megaphone that Trump has as president. Nevertheless, they say he's been strategic about his media presence. 

"He's not going to do a daily press conference to try and achieve parity with Trump," former Rep. Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump ramps up attacks against Twitter The Hill's Coronavirus Report: National Portrait Gallery's Kim Sajet says this era rewiring people's relationship with culture, art; Trump's war with Twitter heats up The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve MORE (D-N.Y.), who has endorsed Biden, told The Hill this week. "That would look overtly political."

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"Doing these shows one by one, doing interviews selectively strikes just the right tone," Israel added. "A major speech on coronavirus probably wouldn't be as effective with voters as Joe Biden just being Joe Biden when he's interviewed by talk-show hosts and late-night hosts. That breaks through."

Other Democrats say that Biden is at his best in less formal settings where he can show off his personality and empathetic manner. Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-N.Y.), said that Biden's greatest strength is his ability to reassure a country on edge. 

"Americans want to hear relief, strength, authority, a plan, that they will be cared for, and that the person who is delivering the information and in charge cares," Reinish said. "There's no one better at delivering that message than Joe Biden."

"In a time when we need a bowl of chicken soup, God, the man is a bowl of chicken soup."

--Max Greenwood

 

READ MORE

Biden fights for attention in coronavirus news cycle, by Julia Manchester and Max Greenwood.

 

Biden campaign blasts Twitter for refusing to sanction retaliatory Trump campaign "hoax" ad, by Jonathan Easley.

 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersExpanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support The battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna MORE (I-Vt.) calls for $2,000 monthly payments, suspending some bills amid coronavirus, writes Jordain Carney.

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

A federal judge refused to push back the date of Wisconsin's April 7 presidential primary despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic but ordered that absentee voting be extended to April 13. John Bowden reports.

 

Sanders has called on Wisconsin to delay the primary, as stories emerge from the state that paint a portrait of chaos amid the coronavirus. Biden has said he's comfortable with the state holding the election on Tuesday.

 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) Friday urged the state legislature to allow all-mail voting for the state's primary and accept ballots that are casted through most of next month amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says this is no time to hold a primary election.

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PERSPECTIVES:

Amy Walter: What should Joe Biden do?

Jessica Tarlov: Democrats need to think more like Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE

Dan Mahaffee: A new type of wartime president

 

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:

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A Democratic super PAC in Arizona is targeting Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA Pence names new press secretary MORE (R-Ariz.) over her comments about the coronavirus pandemic in a new ad set to air statewide on Fox News and CNN. McSally is in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country this cycle. Rebecca Klar reports.

 

Conservative political action committee Maggie's List on Friday endorsed 11 female candidates in House races across the country, seeking to gin up support for Republicans as the party seeks to elect more women. Julia Manchester reports. 

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

April 7:

Wisconsin Democratic primary

 

April 10:

Alaska

 

April 17:

Wyoming

 

April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary

 

April 28:

Ohio

 

ONE HOPEFUL THING

Most of the human population in the U.S. is staying at home in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but animals seem to be having the time of their lives in aquariums across the country. 

Take a look at this sloth making new underwater friends at the Texas State Aquarium. 

 

 

Meanwhile, up in Chicago, this Penguin got to meet a beluga whale 

 

 

And down in Atlanta, these two puppies got to take their first trip to the aquarium. 

 

 

For more good news be sure to check out The Hill's Selfless Acts page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

 

We'll be back next week with more campaign news!