President Joe Biden was the most-attacked figure on the GOP debate stage last night, with candidates targeting him 24 times, according to an NBC News analysis.
On Thursday, he’ll have the chance to push back, as he heads to Arizona for a speech on democracy and the threat of “extreme MAGA ideology,” NBC News’ Mike Memoli reports.
Biden plans to sharpen his rhetoric against Republicans and tell Americans that preserving democracy has been the “central cause” of his presidency.
But Memoli adds that Biden is not seeking to blame all Republicans for extremism, and he plans to say, “Not every Republican — not even the majority of Republicans — adhere to the extremist MAGA ideology … But there is no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA extremists.”
It won’t be a direct response to attacks from the debate stage, though, as most of the GOP candidates focused on hitting Biden on energy policy, foreign policy, climate policy and the economy.
The president’s campaign tried to pre-empt those attacks on Wednesday, characterizing Republican economic platforms and policies as “MAGAnomics,” NBC News’ Megan Lebowitz reports.
Still, all eyes will be on Arizona Thursday, where Biden will zero in on what he says should be the focus of the campaign — preserving democracy, doubling down on a message that worked for him in 2020.
In other campaign news…
Michigan man: Trump pre-empted the debate by delivering an economic speech Wednesday in Michigan, where he called on the United Auto Workers leaders to endorse him and promised a “revival” of economic nationalism, NBC News’ Henry J. Gomez, Vaughn Hillyard and Dan Gallo report.
On the airwaves: President Biden’s campaign released a TV ad on Wednesday hitting former President Trump over auto-manufacturing. “Trump passed tax breaks for his rich friends while automakers shuttered their plants and Michigan lost manufacturing jobs,” a narrator in the ad says.
See you on the socials: Biden’s campaign is also launching a new digital rapid-response operation aimed at pumping out viral content, Politico reports.
Will Will keep running? Former Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd said his campaign is “at an inflection point” in a new statement after missing the cut for the GOP debate where he adds his campaign is “evaluating whether we have the resources to chart a path to victory.”
A wrinkle in the plan: NBC’s Scott Wong reports that Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’ refusal to resign after he was indicted on charges of bribery and corruption are a stain on Democrats’ plan to run “as the party of ethical behavior and good governance” in 2024. Meanwhile, NBC’s Ken Dilanian and Frank Thorp V note that Menendez “single-handedly blocked passage of bipartisan legislation in 2020 that would have strengthened the law regulating foreign influence and lobbying in Washington.”
She’s running: Arizona Republican Kari Lake told the Wall Street Journal she’s announcing her Senate campaign at a rally on Oct. 10.
He’s running: Former Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson formally kicked off his campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, at an event Wednesday night.
Another politician charged: California Republican Omar Navarro, who challenged Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters four times over the last decade and won the backing of Trump allies like Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, has been charged with 43 counts of misusing campaign funds, per the Los Angeles Times.