Biden's Oil Stance Jars Democrats In Tough Races

Joe Biden's vow to phase out the oil industry at Thursday's debate creates a problem for Democratic candidates in red-leaning states and swing House districts as it gives Republicans an opening to tie them to their party’s left wing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in April of last year that he wanted to make the 2020 election “a referendum on socialism.”

That strategy ran into a big problem when Democrats nominated Biden, a candidate who developed a reputation as a moderate during his decades in Washington, for president.

Now Biden’s blunt affirmation that “yes” he “would transition” when asked by President Trump on Thursday whether he would “close down the oil industry,” gives Republican candidates ammo.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, said Biden’s statement is also a liability for Democratic candidates in Western Pennsylvania, such as Rep. Conor Lamb, and running for three Republican toss-up seats in Texas: the 21st, the 22nd, and the 24th congressional districts.

“In Western Pennsylvania where you have some battles for the Conor Lamb seat and others, it’s going to put them on the defensive. It holds a special resonance in Western Pennsylvania because [the energy industry] is what helped bring back that area after it was hard hit in the early nineties,” he said.

O’Connell said Biden “drew attention to something that he had been doing a good job deflecting on in terms of assuaging people’s fears,” referencing GOP attempts to tie Biden to bold liberal proposals to respond to climate change.  

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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Trump, Biden Final Arguments At Opposite Ends On COVID-19

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are offering opposing visions of responding to the coronavirus crisis as a new wave of cases mounts just ahead of Election Day. 

Biden warned of a “dark winter” at Thursday night’s debate as new cases in the United States near a record high and hospitalizations rise again. 

Despite this worsening outlook, Trump struck an optimistic message, saying the virus is “going away” and the country is “rounding the turn.”

Republicans think they have an opening in warning that Biden is open to further business closures, noting that many people are tired of precautions to deal with the virus. 

“Optimism is more powerful in voters’ minds than pessimism, and frankly people are restless,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. 

Read more from Peter Sullivan at The Hill

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Hollywood Gives Biden's Digital Campaign Final Star-Studded Push

With less than three weeks until Election Day, Joe Biden's campaign is making its final push of star power, rolling out a series of virtual events featuring some of Hollywood's biggest names in an attempt to propel the former vice president past the finish line.

The Democratic presidential nominee's campaign scheduled celebrity-filled events for nearly every day this week. Tuesday featured three separate functions with some star wattage: a Latino-focused roundtable with comedian George Lopez, a "Star Trek" discussion with “Next Generation” alumnus LeVar Burton and a military service celebration with legendary TV producer Norman Lear.

“Generally speaking, when it comes to celebrity endorsements, Donald Trump is the celebrity,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell says of the former “Apprentice” star.

“Hearing from Trump directly is what spurs Republicans to the voting booth — not celebrities,” says the political analyst and former congressional candidate.

The athletes, musical artists and actors turning out for Biden, O’Connell says, won’t necessarily “have the impact the Biden campaign thinks that they’re going to have, and I don’t necessarily think they’re going to have an impact with the voters that are going to decide this election.” But, he says, it’s “totally understandable” why the ex-VP’s campaign would team up with famous faces and influencers with gigantic platforms who reach millions of young people and women: “These celebrities talk to the voters that they need.”

Read more from Judy Kurtz at The Hill

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This Is What America Would Be Like Under President Kamala Harris

Late last year, rumors surfaced that if elected, Joe Biden told aides he would serve only a single term. Although he later denied those claims, the fact remains that if elected, he'd be older entering office than President Ronald Reagan was leaving it.

In addition, given Biden's recent memory lapses, some observers wonder whether the former vice president would complete a single term, prompting voters to give his running mate greater scrutiny than they gave previous vice presidential candidates.

Biden is generally perceived as a slightly left-of-center moderate, despite being pushed further leftward throughout the last year. The same can't be said of Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and Biden's running mate.

Newsmax reached out to Republican political pundits on what a Harris administration might look like. Lawyer, businessman, and Republican strategist Ford O'Connell says it would amount to the "Californification of America." He added that "she is an opportunist that will be an easy target for the far left to manipulate."

Addressing specific issues, O'Connell, a frequent Newsmax TV contributor, says that "abortion? It's simple — on demand, at will."

O'Connell says, "As for healthcare, we already know the answer to that one: It's a universal right." He adds that for all Democrats, "not only is it the number-one job of the government, it's a universal right whether or not you're a U.S. citizen."

Read more from Michael Dorsetwitz at Newsmax

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GOP Banks On Trump-Voter Turnout Amid Fears Of Flipped Senate

Republicans are worried that a Democratic takeover of the Senate is increasingly likely, and many are hoping for high turnout of President Trump’s conservative base in key states as the party’s last, best chance to hold on to power.

Polling in several Senate races, as well as in the presidential campaign, has turned so grim for Republicans that lobbyists in Washington are “game planning” for Democratic control of both the Senate and the White House. Democrats already hold a majority in the House and are likely to gain seats there.

Although some Republican candidates have tried to distance themselves from Mr. Trump in recent days, Republican Partyconsultant Ford O’Connell said that strategy is “a fool’s errand.”

“Control of the Senate is almost directly tied to the presidential race,” Mr. O’Connell said. “If Trump wins the state, it’s very, very likely that the Republican [Senatecandidate] is going to win that state as well. If Trump wins North Carolina, Tillis wins. I don’t see a way that McSally wins Arizona without Trump winning Arizona. It’s clear that Republicans are voting for Donald Trump first and foremost.”

Read more from Dave Boyer at The Washington Times

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Republicans: Supreme Court Won't Toss ObamaCare

Senate Republicans are downplaying the chances that the Supreme Court will strike down ObamaCare as Democrats seek to hammer the GOP on the issue ahead of the elections.

As Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett testifies this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats are drilling in on a Republican-backed lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that the high court will hear one week after Election Day.

“No one believes the Supreme Court is going to strike down the Affordable Care Act,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday night during his reelection debate with Democrat Amy McGrath.

Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist, said Democrats are hyping the lawsuit for political advantage.

“It’s clear that the Democrats are trying to use the [Barrett] hearings as a way to scare the bejeezus out of independent and minority voters,” he said.

Read more from Peter Sullivan at The Hill

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GOP Sees Falling Trump Stock As Growing Threat To Senate Majority

Republicans are growing increasingly worried that President Trump’s slide in the polls following his COVID-19 diagnosis, coupled with an outbreak at the White House, is posing a major threat to their Senate majority.

The presidential campaign has quickly become one of the most tumultuous in modern history, but there’s more than enough turmoil and uncertainty to go around as both parties battle for control of the Senate.

One of the main concerns for Senate Republicans is Trump’s cash crunch, which has forced him to cut back on advertising in key battleground states at a time when Senate Democratic challengers are projected to significantly outraise GOP incumbents heading into the final stretch.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, said Trump’s actions in the final weeks of the campaign season will be a key factor in determining who controls the Senate next year.

He said the battle for the Senate majority is “directly tied to the presidential race. If Trump wins their state, it’s very, very likely that they’re going to win their campaign as well.”

“If Trump loses their state, they’re probably going to lose as well,” O’Connell added, noting that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has crafted a reputation for independence over decades in Washington, is the one exception to the rule. 

“The one person who is on her own little island is Susan Collins,” he said.

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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Trump And Pence Try To Push Biden And Harris Into The Arms Of The Left

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence took very different debate approaches but had one strategy in common: seeing how far to the left the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was willing to go.

Pence regularly hammered Harris, a California Democrat who was rated the most liberal senator, on the Green New Deal. Trump tried to draw Biden out on defunding the police and other “law and order” themes. Both Republicans sought to get their opponents to admit they would “pack” the Supreme Court, a proposal with little support in a recent Washington Examiner/YouGov poll.

The strategy was to present the Democrats as far more radical, and much less centrist, than advertised. Failing that, Pence, and especially Trump, hoped to drive a wedge between Biden and his most left-wing supporters. In 2016, some Bernie Sanders voters stayed home, voted for third-party candidates like Green Party nominee Jill Stein, or even cast ballots for Trump.

“When the queen of the Green New Deal, AOC, thumps you on Twitter just after Vice President Pence calls you out for being all over the map on the issue of fracking, it was just not a good night for Harris,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It was the type of moment that sows distrust with the voters who will decide this election.”

Others hope the Democrats are being too clever by half. “It is just not logically compatible for someone to say they like the Green New Deal as much as Harris does and be so strongly in favor of green energy in every sector of America’s economy, and yet still also be in favor of fracking,” O’Connell said. “These two positions are flat-out incompatible, and that was clear to anyone watching or listening.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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2nd And 3rd Debates In Doubt As Trump-Biden Fight Over Details

Even before President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis there were questions about whether there would be a second presidential debate. Trump answered that question Thursday morning when he refused to participate in a virtual format and now, that has raised doubts about the third and final debate.

"I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate," Trump told Fox Business. "That's not what debating's all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate—it's ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want."

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell argued that a lot can still happen in the 26 days before the election. That's why the Trump campaign is pushing for three in-person debates and why, earlier in the season, it requested four.

"Trump wants the American people to see Biden as much as possible," O'Connell said. "The Biden team, because they have a leg-up currently in the polls, know that the more time you subject yourself to that scrutiny, the more chance for a screwup, where Trump has very little to lose by trying different things," O'Connell said.

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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Trump Campaign Pledges ‘Full Speed’ Ahead As Coronavirus Diagnosis Upends Already Chaotic Presidential Race

President Trump’s campaign pledged to keep operating at “full speed” on Saturday despite his coronavirus diagnosis — a stunning turn of events that has sidelined the incumbent in the home stretch of his re-election campaign and cast uncertainty over his electoral prospects.

Trump vowed to return to the campaign trail Saturday evening in a video address from Walter Reed military hospital, where he decamped to Friday to seek treatment for COVID-19, hours after his campaign said it would deploy top surrogates to key battleground states as a stopgap until the president can return to rallies that have long been his lifeblood.

“I have to be back, because we still have to make America great again,” Trump said in the video. “I’ll be back. I think I’ll be back soon. And I look forward to finishing up the campaign the way it was started and the way we’ve been doing it.”

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said it’s “full steam ahead” for the campaign with the goal of making the debates scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 that are now shrouded in uncertainty.

And he said the effects of Trump being temporarily off the trail could be negligible as the president resumes calling into radio and television shows and the campaign leans into its ground game.

“In the short run, this hurts because Biden can talk about the virus,” O’Connell said. But depending on the swiftness of Trump’s recovery, “he may be able to have the upper hand, because everyone hasn’t voted yet.”

Read more from Lisa Kashinsky at the Boston Herald

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