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First Read: Clinton Begins Battleground Ad Blitz

Clinton begins battleground ad blitz… Democrats are playing offense -- on guns… Obama and Biden head to Orlando… Kasich comes very close to saying...
Image: Presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Western Pennsylvania
Presumptive Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Hall on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Clinton begins battleground ad blitz: Today not only marks the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign; it also marks the beginning of Hillary Clinton’s first battleground advertising blitz of the general election. The TV ad buy -- in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia -- has a price tag of at least $7.3 million. And it uses the TV ad it unveiled on Sunday hitting Trump (“What kind of America do we want to be? Dangerously divided or strong and united?”), as well as two new positive bio spots on Clinton (here and here). Don’t be surprised if the positive spots run more often than the anti-Trump contrast ad. Why? Because the Clinton camp probably realizes it needs to work on Hillary’s favorable numbers, especially since Trump’s unfavorable ratings are about as low as they can go. More than anything else, the ad blitz demonstrates Clinton’s financial superiority right now. How long will she have the battleground-state airwaves to herself? Remember, the pro-Clinton Super PAC is already on the air in these states. But where’s the Trump/GOP cavalry? Here’s the market-by-market buy info for Clinton’s advertising blitz, per SMG Delta:

Virginia: $1.6 million (6/16-7/25)

Norfolk: $553K

Richmond: $536K

Roanoke: $261K

Tri-Cities: $77K

Harrisonburg: $55K

Parkersburg: $47K

Charlottesville: $44K

Wheeling: $24K

Ohio: $1.3 million (6/16-6/27)

Cleveland: $580K

Cincinnati: $393K

Dayton: $159K

Youngstown: $121K

Wheeling: $42K

Iowa: $1 million (6/16-7/25)

Des Moines: $430K

Cedar Rapids: $413K

Omaha: $155K

Ottumwa: $37K

Colorado: $926K (6/16-7/4)

Denver: $729K

Colorado Springs: $198K

New Hampshire: $764K (6/16-7/25)

Boston (Manchester): $764K

Florida: $563K (6/16-6/27)

West Palm Beach: $318K

Mobile: $156K

Panama City: $89K

North Carolina: $723K (6/14-6/27)

Raleigh: $409K

Greensboro: $160K

Greenville: $154K

Nevada: $473K (6/16-7/4)

Reno: $246K

Las Vegas: $227K (6/28-7/4 only)

Democrats are playing offense -- on guns: Politically, one of the biggest developments since the tragic Orlando killings is how Democrats are playing offense -- on the issue of guns. That’s a significant change since Paris and San Bernardino, when President Obama and handling/reaction was the top political story (and when Democrats were playing defense). But this time around, the top stories are Trump and guns. NBC News: “Senate Democrats ended a nearly 15-hour filibuster early Thursday after Republican Party leaders reportedly agreed to allow votes on two proposed gun control measures. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said that a compromise had been reached. Votes would be held on whether to ban people on the government's terrorist watch list from obtaining gun licenses and whether to expand background checks to gun shows and internet sales, he added.” Now it’s unlikely that these votes succeed -- let alone become law (remember, Republicans also control the House of Representatives). But Democrats are rhetorically winning the argument by connecting guns with terrorism. As for Trump and his effort to try to influence the NRA on this issue, realize that he’s not in a position to buck the NRA with his poll numbers.

Obama heads to Orlando: Meanwhile, President Obama travels to Orlando to meet with the families and victims of the tragic shooting there at 1:20 pm ET; Vice President Biden joins the president.

Kasich comes very close to saying he won’t back Trump: In an interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that aired this morning, Ohio Gov. John Kasich came VERY close to saying that he won’t support Trump in the general election.

SCARBOROUGH: How about campaigning for a presidential candidate?

KASICH: Right now I'm not intending to do that today. We'll see about tomorrow.

SCARBOROUGH: So, what's wrong with Donald Trump right now? What's he going through? What's happening out there?

KASICH: You know, I made a speech in New York called, "Two Paths".


KASICH: You can either look at people's problems, and unite them and give them hope, or you can look at people's problems, polarize them, and get them to double down on negativity. Donald Trump called me, and he said, you know, can you support me? I said, we're like two companies, we have different values, different visions. Kind of hard to put that together. So, I'll send you my "Two Paths" speech. And, you know, either there's going to be dramatic change, or I can't find my way there. My message matters to me, Joe...

While we’ve seen several current and former GOP politicians saying they won’t back Trump, having the governor of a key battleground state -- which is hosting the Republican convention in July -- refuse to support his party’s presidential nominee would be a significant rebuke.

Democrats have the early enthusiasm advantage: Our sister publication The Lid flags these key numbers from some of the most recent polling: “[A]s our colleague Benjy Sarlin flagged, 43 percent of Clinton's backers in the Bloomberg poll said they are ‘very enthusiastic’ about their nominee, compared to 33 percent of Trump backers who say the same. It's a similar story in Wisconsin, where the share of Republicans who say they are certain they'll vote in November is *down* since March, while it's up with Democrats.”

Rubio running for his Senate seat would be a high-risk move: Finally, it is looks POSSIBLE that Marco Rubio might decide to run for re-election to his Senate seat after all. “Obviously, I take very seriously everything that is going on not just in Orlando but in our country. I’ve enjoyed my service here a lot,” he told reporters yesterday, per NBC’s Luke Russert and Alex Moe. “So I will go home later this week and I will have some time with my family and then if there has been a change in our status, I will be sure to let everyone know.” Rubio running for his Florida Senate would be a HUGE boon to Senate Republicans in their effort to hold onto the chamber. And if he indeed does run, you have to give Rubio credit for wanting to continue his public service. But running would also be VERY risky -- especially with Trump at the top of the ticket. (You can already imagine the Democratic TV ads: “There’s Trump and Little Marco…”) It’s possible that Trump could defeat Rubio twice in Florida. That’s the risk. And then there are Rubio quotes like this that the Washington Post has flagged: “We’re not going to fix America with senators and congressmen,” Rubio said on the presidential campaign trail back in January. “I have missed votes this year. You know why? Because while as a senator I can help shape the agenda, only a president can set the agenda.”

On the trail: Donald Trump holds a rally in Dallas, TX at 8:00 pm ET. Don’t forget to check out the political unit’s rolling minute-to-minute coverage of all the latest 2016 developments at the On the Trail liveblog at