President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) following the Senate vote to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, Aug. 10, 2021, in the Oval Office Dining Room of the White House. (Adam Schultz/Official White House Photo)
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
President Joe Biden is currently expected to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. later this month, making good on a promise to return to the Keystone State after an earlier visit was canceled in the wake of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Days ahead of that return engagement, a pro-Biden group has launched a more than $1 million ad campaign touting the benefits of the sprawling domestic policy bill that Democrats passed, and the president signed, last week.
The campaign by Building Back Together, an organization led by former Biden operatives that says it’s “dedicated to advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s policy agenda,” will specifically target Black and Latino voters in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all battleground states — and Washington D.C., according to CBS News.
The ad campaign builds on the more than $35 million that the organization has spent so far to advance the administration’s agenda, the Capital-Star has learned.
A version of one of the ads, dubbed “Joe Biden Gets That,” reviewed by the Capital-Star features Kevin, a father of three kids from Scranton, who talks about bringing them to such activities as hockey games and dance recitals.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it’s expensive — really expensive,” Kevin says, talking into the camera. “Joe Biden gets that. And that’s why he just passed a law that lowers the high cost that so many families are facing right now.”
The rest of the 30-second spot runs down prescription drug provisions in the law, officially known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which allows the federal government to negotiate the prices of some prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries and caps Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket prescription costs at $2,000 annually beginning in 2025.
“It’s a huge deal,” Kevin says as the ad ends. “We have a president who’s getting stuff done.”
The ad makes a pitch to a pair of key Biden constituencies in the Keystone State — suburban and older voters who were key to Biden’s victory in 2020, and who will be critical to Democrats in November’s midterm elections.
Another ad, “Lower Costs,” seeks to draw contrasts between Democrats at work, and Republicans who have opposed them, as Biden and his allies have done in recent weeks as the White House racked up legislative victories.
“Joe Biden promised to deliver for working families over special interests. That’s what the Inflation Reduction Act does: Lowers prescription drug costs for millions of families,” the narrator in another spot intones, as CBS News reports. “Lowers health care costs for millions of families. Lowers energy costs for millions of families. But every single MAGA politician voted against it. Because when it really matters, they’re on the side of special interests.”
As recent poll numbers have shown, the White House needs the lift.
Forty-two percent of Pennsylvania respondents to a Fox News poll released late last month said they approved of Biden’s job performance. That’s an improvement over the 33 percent of the Keystone State voters who responded the same way in an April Franklin & Marshall College poll.
As CBS News notes, the administration is making a full-court press to tout its legislative accomplishments as the fall campaign season closes in. Cabinet officials are set to make more than 35 stops in 23 states, accompanied by local politicians, as a part of that effort.
That includes Pennsylvania, where White House Infrastructure Coordinator, and senior administration adviser Mitch Landrieu, is scheduled to make stops in suburban Pittsburgh and Coatesville on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Capital-Star previously reported.
By law, as CBS News noted, the administration is barred from coordinating with such outside groups as Building Back Together.
But it’s already clear that their respective messages will echo each other as the White House looks to shore up support for Biden, and by extension, his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, who are looking to hold their majorities in what’s widely expected to be a tough midterm cycle.
Meanwhile, details of Biden’s return visit to Wilkes-Barre, now slated for Aug. 30, were scarce, with the White House only announcing that the president plans to “give remarks on his Safer America Plan to further reduce gun crime and save lives.”
One thing is certain, however. As has been the case with past campaign cycles, Pennslvanians should ready themselves for a further onslaught of national attention — and political visits — as Election Day draws nearer.
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