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Biden campaign directs ads to Black and Latino voters in key swing states

ASMA KHALID, HOST:

The last thing you all probably want to talk about right now is politics. But for those of us who cover this all the time, it's clear a presidential election year is upon us. And 2024 is promising to be like no campaign we have experienced so far.

My friend and colleague NPR senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith is following the Biden campaign and joins us now with a preview of the year ahead. Good morning, my friend.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hey, Asma.

KHALID: So the campaign is still in its early stages, but what can you tell us about how Biden plans to run based on the kinds of things that he's been doing?

KEITH: Well, we've all seen polls showing Biden may have serious trouble with younger voters and voters of color. They are turned off from politics and, in some cases, disillusioned. So the Biden campaign is already spending money on advertising directed to Black and Latino voters in key swing states. And part of that is trying to figure out which messages will work and how to get them to people. Not a lot of them are likely to vote for Trump or a Republican, but they could stay home or vote for a third-party candidate. And the Biden campaign needs to get them engaged so they do vote and vote for Biden.

KHALID: So how does what we are seeing now compare to Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012?

KEITH: Well, they had a ton of people out in the field, organizers in these key states. The Biden campaign just doesn't have that yet, and that makes some Democrats nervous. But the Biden team says they have to do things differently because the way people get information has changed so dramatically since then. And they have begun announcing some new hires in swing states - Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada. We'll be talking about them a lot in the year to come, and we can expect to see more of that. Interestingly, they also have staff now in South Carolina. That's a state that is definitely going to go Republican in the general election, but it holds the first officially sanctioned Democratic primary of the year in early February. And the Biden team wants to win.

KHALID: Yeah. Tam, you and I hear the president talk every day, trying to convince voters to give him credit for the policies that he has enacted during his time in office. How do you expect that to shift at all once the campaign kicks into full gear?

KEITH: We're going to see him draw a lot of contrasts with Trump and Republicans on everything from health care to abortion to green jobs. And reporters like us have been hearing some of this in campaign fundraisers already, where he is refining his stump speech, talking about the stakes in 2024. These are off camera, but here's a taste from a recent Boston fundraiser. The audio is a little hard to hear because it was filmed on a phone by someone in the audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Donald Trump poses a lot of threats to our country, from the right to choose, the Affordable Care Act, health care overall to America's standing in the world. But the greatest threat he poses of all is toward our very democracy.

KEITH: Our very democracy, he says. In these remarks, he talks about Trump's authoritarian language and his promise of retribution. The Biden team expects this election will be incredibly close, especially in those swing states.

KHALID: So, Tam, let's go back to where our conversation started in terms of what makes this such an unusual election cycle.

KEITH: First, there are essentially two incumbents - President Biden and, unless something dramatic changes, former President Trump, who still claims, falsely, that the last election was stolen from him. To be blunt, both are older than any president elected to a second term. They are also really unpopular, and a large share of voters say they are not looking forward to a rematch. Then you have Trump's indictments, and House Republicans have now voted to formally open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. His son is facing tax evasion and gun charges. All of this just introduces a massive amount of uncertainty.

KHALID: All right. A lot to keep an eye on. NPR senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith, thanks so much.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Asma Khalid is a White House correspondent for NPR. She also co-hosts The NPR Politics Podcast.
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.

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