WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s campaign is seizing on an unlikely surrogate to help drive his message of an economic comeback that crosses party lines: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Biden’s campaign posted a video Tuesday that features the Georgia Republican’s own words at a recent conservative conference, outlining how Biden has pursued “the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs,” building on past efforts by Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Greene’s sarcastic tone is undermined by a cheery soundtrack, as she says Biden is addressing “education, medical care, urban problems and urban poverty." Biden’s accompanying tweet says: “I approve this message.”
The Biden campaign says that the video generated 10 million views in just three hours after it was posted and they are using it to drive online fundraising. As of 1 p.m. ET Wednesday, it had been viewed 39 million times on all platforms — the second most for any Biden campaign video since Inauguration Day, behind his re-election announcement video.
It’s the most conspicuous example so far of how the Biden team has seized on Greene, whom they view as an avatar for what the president has called the “extreme-MAGA” wing of the GOP.
Over the last five months, Biden has referenced Greene either directly by name or often simply as the “gentlelady from Georgia” about a dozen times in public remarks, including a cutting joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner in April. ("If you find yourself disoriented or confused, it’s either you’re drunk or Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Biden jabbed.)
Now, the president plans to take this strategy directly to Greene’s district with a trip to highlight what he said is a major economic initiative. A South Korean solar panel manufacturer will soon hold an event in Cartersville, Georgia, to mark a $2.5 billion expansion of its existing manufacturing operations in the county, with Biden in attendance. It's a project the president's repeatedly touted in speeches, noting its location in Greene's district, and reflects his campaign's broader eagerness to spotlight a growing trend — how Republicans who opposed his economic agenda are beginning to see its benefits even in their heavily conservative districts.
Vice President Kamala Harris already traveled to the company’s plant in neighboring Dalton in April. She noted then that after the housing market collapse, Dalton lost more jobs per capita than any other American city, but now would see another 2,500 jobs come because of the solar plant.
“All across our nation, there are communities like Dalton — communities full of people with incredible ambition and aspiration — who just need an opportunity to show what they can do. President Biden and I are fighting to create that opportunity,” she said then.
Greene responded to Biden’s new video on Twitter with a fuller video of her remarks. “Be honest Joe,” she tweeted.
Some Democrats found the White House’s “extreme MAGA” talking point clunky even as Biden advisers said it was part of a successful midterm strategy. Since then, though, Greene has emerged as a more convenient shorthand as Biden’s team is eager to make the case that while the far right is pursuing culture war issues, the president is delivering on campaign promises both on policy and bipartisanship.
Biden advisers were presented with polling data last year that showed Greene had unusually high name recognition nationally for a relatively junior Republican congresswoman. And earlier this year, she emerged as more of a leader within the new House Republican majority, demonstrating an alliance with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and sparring directly with Biden during his State of the Union address, accusing him of being a “liar.”
A Biden adviser said singling Greene out is more than just for clicks. When the president met privately with historians last year and discussed the growing danger of authoritarianism and anti-democratic forces, he was advised about the importance of “calling extreme things out when you see them.”
Greene is seen by Biden's top advisers as a good, clear example of how the Republican Party continues to move in a dangerous direction, as when she said earlier this year that had she been a leader of the Jan. 6 insurrection, “We would have won.”
Andrew Bates, a White House spokesperson, linked Greene to another Republican who has been put in the White House’s crosshairs: Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who has blocked dozens of military promotions over abortion policy.
"Unfortunately, mainstream Republicans in Congress haven’t yet found the guts to stand up to either member in a real way, even as Marjorie Taylor Greene tries to kill high-paying Bidenomics jobs coming to her district and as Tommy Tuberville blocks critical military promotions, leaving service members and their families in limbo," Bates said. "GOP members should find their voice: Are they with the president and military families and rural economic growth, or will they keep caving to the most radical elements of their party?”
The new campaign video was made by Parker Butler, part of the Democratic National Committee’s digital rapid response team. Butler was hired to work on Biden’s 2020 campaign after he, while still an American University student, had been creating his own short viral videos about Biden. He would then produce what the campaign says was its most successful social video of 2020 — a similar spot to the Greene video, featuring then-President Donald Trump saying that if he lost to Biden, “you’ll never see me again.” Biden quickly followed, saying he approved the message.