Dem Notes

* Fate of the Union speech: Biden gave a good, feisty “Irish fire” address. But once again, while the president focused on his agenda talking points, the focus for the national audience was literally divided by the divisive optics. That’s because of the tight-frame shot of the president that necessarily includes those directly behind him, the vice president and the speaker of the House.

It’s been that way forever, and it’s beyond time to do something about the awkward, partisan-enabling optics that highlight a democracy in crisis.

Just re-arrange the furniture, so the ultimate union message is ‘bye, partisanship. Only the president should be in the frame, not the smiling, pop-up applauding and the seated frowning by VP Kamala Harris and House Speaker Mike Johnson, respectively. Whoever the president is, including a certain predecessor, that person deserves the country’s undivided attention, not a distracting, political-performance backdrop. It’s inappropriate to the occasion unless the SOTU goal is to underscore that the state of the union has never been more fractured and fraught.

* Abortion, as we well know, is on the ballot. It tops VP Kamala Harris’ agenda and is complemented by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s multi-state ad campaign to combat anti-abortion proposals in several red states that include a ban on out-of-state travel for abortions and related medications.

* “Democrats hold vast fundraising advantage as Republicans face cash problems, disarray in crucial swing states.”–No surprise—except that’s Fox News being quoted.

* The DNC is launching a bilingual billboard campaign in battleground states—including Florida—holding Trump accountable for the devastating attacks on reproductive freedoms—from abortion to IVF.

* “Women put Joe in the White House four years ago, and women will do it again.”–First Lady Jill Biden, who recently launched a “Women for Biden-Harris” program to mobilize women voters in battleground states.

* “I want to be clear: There is a place for (Nikki Haley supporters) in my campaign.”–VP Kamala Harris.

* It’s also clear that the Dems hope that Liz Cheney, the prominent face of the anti-Trump movement, and her “The New Task” PAC can help by endorsing Biden.

* “Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.” That cautionary reality was underscored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Benjamin Netanyahu critic and, most notably, the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S.

* 71% choose funding Social Security, Medicare over budget cuts.”–A FOX News Poll.

* California Rep. Adam Schiff is running for the Senate seat of Diane Feinstein. His opponent: Steve Garvey, the former Los Angeles Dodger—and alumnus of Tampa’s Chamberlain High.

* The Dems see third party candidates as an arm of the Trump campaign. Jill Stein (2016) and Ralph Nader (2000) remain reminders. Current Exhibit A: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. RFK Jr. had been considering–seriously–Aaron Rodgers and Jesse Ventura as possible running mates.

* On the other hand:

^ “If Mr. Biden steps aside, sacrificing all vanity and need, he is a hero to his party forever. If he stays and loses, he’s Ruth Bader Biden.”–Peggy Noonan, WSJ.

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