The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden weighs in on police shootings | Who’s moderating the debates | Trump trails in post-convention polls
Welcome to The Hill’s Convention Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. 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:
LEADING THE DAY:
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden officially called for the officers who shot Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake to be charged with crimes during a press conference on Wednesday.
“I think we should let the judicial system work its way,” Biden told reporters. “I do think at a minimum they need to be charged.”
This is the first time Biden has publicly called for the officers to be charged in both cases, which have helped ignite nationwide discussions and protests on the issue of racial injustice and police brutality.
The remarks were also notable because Biden is set to visit Kenosha, Wis., where Blake’s shooting took place, on Thursday.
The Biden campaign said in a press release that the former vice president will “hold a community meeting in Kenosha to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face” and then “make a local stop.”
While no details were immediately available to the press, we can expect Biden’s visit to the city to differ from President Trump’s stop there earlier this week.
Trump visited the midwestern city on Tuesday despite local officials urging him not come. However, the president pushed ahead with the visit, meeting with local law enforcement.
Trump sidestepped a question on systemic racism during the trip despite the shooting of Blake, an unarmed Black man, sparking an outcry.
“You just keep getting back to the opposite subject,” Trump said when a reporter asked if he thought systemic racism was a problem. “We should talk about the kind of violence that we’ve seen in Portland [Oregon] and here [in Kenosha] and other places, it’s tremendous violence.”
Additionally, Trump declined to condemn a 17-year-old supporter who was charged with murder after allegedly shooting two protesters in Kenosha.
Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, on the other hand, have invoked Blake’s shooting multiple times, saying it is another example of systemic racism.
But Biden is facing questions over his commitment to law enforcement, despite signaling his support and repeatedly saying he will not move to defund police departments.
Trump and his allies have painted Biden as radical, warning that Americans will not be safe under his administration. The messaging forced Biden to confront the issue head on earlier this week, pushing back on Trump’s claims.
Trump sidesteps Blake shooting to extol law enforcement in Kenosha, by Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant
Trump punts when asked about systemic racism in US, by Marty Johnson
We have moderators! The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Wednesday that journalists from Fox News, C-SPAN and NBC will moderate the three presidential debates this fall. It’s also the first time since 2008 that CNN’s anchors and hosts will be shut out from a debate. Here’s what we’re looking at:
- Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate the first debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29.
- C-SPAN’s Steve Scully will moderate the second debate in Miami on Oct. 15.
- The third and final presidential debate will be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker in Nashville on Oct. 22.
The singular vice presidential debate on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City will be moderated by USA Today’s Susan Page.
The Hill’s Jonathan Easley has more on the moderator lineup here.
A handful of national polls released in the past 24 hours show Biden heading into the two-month stretch before Election Day with a sizable lead over Trump. A Quinnipiac poll out Wednesday afternoon put him ahead by 10 points; a CNN poll showed him up by 8 points; a USA Today/Suffolk University survey found him ahead by 7; and a University of Southern California poll out on Tuesday showed him up by 11 points.
But in some of the states that will play a determining role in the November election, there are signs that the race is tightening. A Monmouth University survey released on Wednesday showed Biden’s once wide lead over Trump in Pennsylvania narrowing to just 4 points. Meanwhile, the former vice president’s average leads in states like Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin have narrowed somewhat. And recent polls out of Minnesota, a state that hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate in 1972, show Biden’s lead within the margin of error.
All told, the polling is mixed for both candidates. Neither appeared to get a major bump from their parties’ respective conventions last month and the tightening battleground states may be a product of the fact that we’re just two months out from Election Day. Or as Guy Cecil, the chair of Priorities USA, put it in a briefing with reporters today: “A lot of this is just the normal course of the election and what happens in terms of consolidating base votes.”
SENATE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN ARM INVOKES LAW AND ORDER
The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee rolled out a new ad on Wednesday honing in on the law-and-order message pushed by President Trump.
The ad dubbed “Say No to the Mob” is the first time the committee has used the messaging since unrest broke out in Kenosha, Wis., after the death of Jacob Blake.
The ad’s use of images of unrest is what a number of Democratic strategists warned about in a piece on the issue by The Hill’s Alexander Bolton last week. Strategists say the imagery will play in Republican hands, especially among suburban voters.
Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigige is making his podcast debut.
“The Declining Decade with Pete Buttigieg” is now available on iHeartRadio. On the interview-style show, Buttigieg speaks with prominent figures in various fields, including politics.
“I hope these conversations inspire you, like they are inspiring me,” Buttigieg said in a preview of the show. “And together we’ll get a glimpse at the future of our country, beginning with the decade ahead.”
Buttigieg is not the only 2020 presidential alum to have launched a podcast. Andrew Yang has his own podcast dubbed “Yang Speaks.”