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Democrats can make midterms about the ‘angry moms,’ one party strategist argues

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Tanya Reid, Miguelaille Pierre, and Cristina Rodrigues attend a vigil, organized by Moms Demand Action, for victims of recent mass shootings on May 28, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.
Tanya Reid, Miguelaille Pierre, and Cristina Rodrigues attend a vigil, organized by Moms Demand Action, for victims of recent mass shootings on May 28, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

WASHINGTON —  If it’s Wednesday ... The Biden administration provides Ukraine with longer-range rocket systems. ... Gas prices soar another five cents overnight. ... Schools police chief in Uvalde hasn’t responded to follow-up interview on response to school shooting. ... President Biden meets virtually with baby-formula manufacturers. ... Republican David McCormick seeks hand recount in select precincts — with today being the deadline for all counties to start their recount in Oz-vs.-McCormick contest. ... And the advertising spending in Arizona Senate heats up.

But first: Crises and events have controlled the Biden White House — instead of the White House controlling them. 

That’s the big conclusion from the reporting by NBC’s Carol E. Lee, Peter Nicholas, Kristen Welker and Courtney Kube on a president and team who are frustrated they can’t catch a break; annoyed that they weren’t told sooner about things like the baby-formula shortage; and angry the president’s low approval ratings rival Donald Trump’s.

And it raises the question: Instead of constantly playing defense, why isn’t the White House going on offense?

Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher proposes one place where Biden and Democrats can take the fight to Republicans, rather than the other way around. 

Make the upcoming elections about “the angry mom” — on issues like gun violence and abortion. 

“If this is not the year of the angry mom, I don’t know what’s going to be the year of the angry mom, right?” Belcher said on “Meet the Press” last Sunday

He continued, “I think there’s an opportunity for Democrats — if Democrats make this election about anything except what’s happening in our schools, and what’s happening, sort of, these mass shootings, and a woman’s right to take care of her body.”

When your traditional plays are failing to score points — whether it’s on the economy, immigration, or the legislative effort formerly known as “Build Back Better” — it’s time to draw up some new plays.   

And speaking of new plays and “the angry mom,” check out this new ad by Democrat Stacey Abrams in Georgia’s gubernatorial race. 

“For years, Brian Kemp has taken Georgia backwards. He put us backwards on guns and law enforcement -- and made it easier for criminals to carry guns in public. He rolled back women’s rights, vowing to make abortion a crime with 10 years in prison,” the Abrams ad goes. 

Data Download: The number of the day is … 33 percent 

Inflation was the administration’s top priority yesterday, with President Biden unveiling a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the issue and meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. 

But so far, NBC News’ poll shows that Americans aren’t buying Biden’s prescriptions on the economy — just 33 percent of adults approved of his handling of the economy in May’s poll, compared to 62 percent who did not. Almost two-thirds of adults said their family’s income was slipping behind the cost of living — including majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats. 

Read more on the MTP Blog. 

Other numbers you need to know

7,485: The number of pedestrians killed in 2021, the highest in 40 years according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, per NBC News’ Joe Murphy. 

95 pounds: How much Uranium enriched to 60 percent Iran has stockpiled (that’s enough to build an atomic bomb if it was enriched to 90 percent). 

3: The number of Texas legislators who may be forced to testify in a redistricting lawsuit after the Supreme Court denied an emergency appeal to shield them from testifying.

​​$30.2 million: That’s how much was spent on the airwaves in Illinois’ gubernatorial election in May, more than any other race over the last month.

$2.4 million: How much has been spen and booked on the airwavest in the CA-40 primary, more than any other House race in the state, as GOP Rep. Young Kim looks to make it through the top-two primary without another Republican splitting the vote.

7: The number of fines for not wearing a mask on the House floor Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., unsuccessfully tried to appeal, per The Washington Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell

Tweet of the day

 Midterm roundup: Razing Arizona

The Arizona GOP Senate contest is picking up with roughly two months to go until primary day on Aug. 2. Yesterday, Blake Masters, who works for billionaire Peter Thiel, made his first TV ad buy tracked by AdImpact, reserving $669,000 on the airwaves from June 7 through the end of the month. 

So far, most of the primary spending has come from energy executive Jim Lamon, who is largely self-funding his run. Lamon’s campaign has spent the most of any candidate or outside group in the primary, dropping $4.7 million on the airwaves. 

A Thiel-backed super PAC called Saving Arizona has spent nearly $3.8 million on ads to boost Masters, per AdImpact. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, meanwhile, has spent $7 million on ads so far. The Cook Political Report rates the Senate race a Toss Up.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Alabama Senate: Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., endorsed Katie Britt in the GOP primary runoff, saying in a statement that Britt “is a tough conservative fighter who will put Americans first.”                

California Senate: Democratic software billionaire Dan O’Dowd is placing another $1.1 million ad buy through the June 7 primary, per AdImpact, as he continues his crusade against Elon Musk and slamming Tesla’s self-driving software. O’Dowd recently told the New York Times that he will spend “whatever it takes” to pull Tesla’s software from the market. 

Pennsylvania Senate: Republican David McCormick is asking for a hand recount in a dozen counties as the state’s broader recount moves forward. And the Supreme Court put a ruling in a different disputed election on hold that could have an effect in this race. 

Maryland Governor: Democrat Wes Moore’s gubernatorial campaign announced that Oprah Winfrey will host a virtual fundraiser for Moore where she’ll interview the candidate. 

New York-10: Dan Goldman, who served as Democrats’ lead counsel during Trump’s first impeachment, is planning to run for Congress, Axios reports. Goldman, an MSNBC legal analyst, plans to jump into a race that already features Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones and former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New York-11: Former Democratic Rep. Max Rose announced Tuesday he is still running in the newly drawn 11th District, even though it became more Republican-leaning after redistricting. 

New York-12: Democrat Rana Abdelhamid, who had been backed by Justice Democrats, withdrew from the race after redistricting put her in a district featuring a member-on-member primary against Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler. 

New Hampshire redistricting: New Hampshire’s state Supreme Court approved a new congressional map that only slightly altered the current district boundaries, per NHPR. 

Ad watch: New York State of Mind

Rep. Tom Suozzi is up with a new TV ad attacking Gov. Kathy Hochul on guns ahead of the Democratic primary on June 28. 

“Subway shootings, guns flooding our streets, losing children, losing parents, and a governor who voted with the NRA in Congress and has done nothing on crime,” Suozzi says in the 30-second spot, which features footage of Hochul saying she is “one of the few Democrats to receive the NRA endorsement.”

Hochul dismissed a question about her past NRA endorsement at a press conference last month following a mass shooting in Buffalo, saying, “This is not the time to talk about that. I will tell you what I’m doing right now as governor of the state of New York. There will be no state that has tougher, more thoughtful policies, practices and laws in place in response to not just what happened in Buffalo, New York, but what is happening every single day in the streets of places like Rochester, Syracuse, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem, and everywhere else.”

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The Supreme Court blocked a Texas social media law that would have limited how companies ban accounts. 

The first trial stemming from special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe ended in acquittal, with former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman found not guilty of lying to the FBI.

A record 71 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, per a new Gallup poll. 

The MTP Blog looks back, through the lens of Meet the Press, at how Columbine wrote the script for the debates that follow mass shootings.