Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

How Biden aides are trying to shield the president from protests

By 37ci3 Mar1,2024



WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s team is taking increasingly extraordinary steps to minimize the disruption of pro-Palestinian protests at events, keeping them small, hiding their exact locations from the media and public until he arrives, avoiding college campuses and, at least one, hiring a special company for vets, for example. is thinking of taking

The effort resulted in zero downtime at White House events or campaign events for Biden in the five weeks he was there. cut off ten times During a speech on abortion rights in Virginia. But they have also meant that Biden is reaching fewer voters and not personally connecting with some of the key constituencies he is struggling to win over, such as young voters.

“He’s better in small places,” said one Biden ally, calling his retail policy “where he thrives.”

“But the downside is that it doesn’t reach that many voters,” the person added. “It’s about reaching as many voters as you can, and these are not small events.”

A conservative approach is applied to the campaign its marquee fundraiser This month with Biden and former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, NBC News first reported.

Organizers are discussing whether to hire a private company for vets, according to three people familiar with the plan. The cheapest tickets will still be priced high enough, the campaign hopes, to appeal only to genuine supporters of Biden’s re-election effort, these people said.

The discussion with the three presidents will be moderated by late-night host Stephen Colbert, who the campaign sees as a low-risk, friendly option, people familiar with the planning said.

Biden’s aides are constantly looking ahead to bigger events where his message is being drowned out by protesters. They saw his speech in Virginia as a turning point for him and other top White House officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris, to rethink the size, audiences and locations of events. The shift in strategy stems from concerns that the protests are drawing more attention than the messages of the events, and that they are showing divisions within the Democratic Party over Biden’s support for Israel in its war against Hamas.

The Biden campaign is organizing a series of “larger-scale events in the coming weeks” to “reach voters where they are, including on college campuses,” following his State of the Union address, according to a source familiar with the planning.

The Biden team’s desire to limit interruptions at the White House and campaign events also shaped Harris’ approach to public events.

Last fall, Harris a tour of college campuses It was aimed at reaching young voters. After the events in the fall, Biden officials planned to shift the effort to the campaign and extend it into the spring semester, according to a campaign official familiar with the planning. But the college-specific series was postponed due to concerns about student protests against the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war, the official said.

Harris performed alone A February 2 rally at South Carolina State University, a historically black institution, was not interrupted by protesters.

Last week, though, Biden chose to announce the $1.2 billion student loan forgiveness program in front of a few dozen people at a small public library in the Los Angeles area, rather than on one of at least five major college campuses within 10 miles. radius.

The new, guarded approach often involves a new level of secrecy about the locations of Biden’s events.

Its final stops in Detroit; East Palestine, Ohio; and Culver City, California, kept secret until arrival. Pro-Palestinian protesters still gathered along Biden’s motorcade routes and outside venues in Michigan and Ohio, but they were kept at a distance. When Biden visited New York this week to tape “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” protesters gathered in the building’s lobby.

When Biden was traveling in San Francisco last week, protesters forced reporters down the hall and into the parking garage of his hotel to join his motorcade, according to two people who were there.

The Secret Service, which does not usually protect journalists traveling with the president himself, stopped protesters as they approached his motorcade.

While Biden aides have managed to minimize protests at the White House and at campaign events, Palestinian supporters have disrupted events in recent weeks organized by other groups, including the United Auto Workers union and the South Carolina Democratic Party.

The fact that Biden aides have taken drastic measures to reduce the chances of protesters to fundraise with Biden, Clinton and Obama — where the campaign wants maximum exposure — underscores how concerns about irregularities at the event outweigh opening it to the wider public. group of supporters in an election year. Organizers are planning for several thousand attendees, though the venue can hold twice as many people, according to two people familiar with the planning.

So far, the campaign has only announced the date – March 28 – and the city where the fundraiser will be held – New York. Not shipped yet official invitation to donors with space This was reported by NBC News likely to be Radio City Music Hall.

Three people familiar with the plan said the higher ticket price is intended to deter some people who consider buying tickets just to protest. No decision has been made, though Biden’s aides have discussed whether to hire a company to audit ticket sales to further weed out potential protesters, people familiar with the conversations said.

A spokesman for the Biden campaign said the vendor was partially considering the large number of people expected to attend the largest fundraiser to date.

In addition to the challenges posed by the protests, Biden aides insist his decision to hold more small events in recent weeks has allowed him to show a more open style that allows him to connect more directly with voters. Biden’s appeal to smaller crowds has been part of the strategy to try set it to more random settingsThis was reported by NBC News.

Many of Biden’s recent public appearances have been what the White House calls “OTR stops,” which are visits by presidents to businesses or residences that are not made public in advance and labeled “off the record.” Biden’s aides describe such stops as efficient and innovative ways for him to reach out to voters. The events also typically involve positive local news and provide the campaign with material to share on its digital platforms, they said.

“I think at some point you’re going to see him at big rallies and big crowds, because ultimately that’s how you can reach a large number of voters,” said a Democratic ally of the campaign.

Staged at Biden’s student loan forgiveness event, a Democratic strategist noted that while the measures are understandable for potential protesters, such measures pose a long-term political problem for the party if the presidential candidate can’t hold large rallies at the university. campuses.

But one Biden aide said for now the small-event tactic is expected to “go on forever.”



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