Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on Trump campaign kickoff, Democratic debates

Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on Trump campaign kickoff, Democratic debates


JUDY WOODRUFF: And now it’s time for Politics
Monday. I’m here with Amy Walter of The Cook Political
Report and host of public radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter” podcast and “The Takeaway”
from WYNC. And in Orlando, Florida, gearing up for President
Trump’s rally tomorrow, Tamara Keith of NPR, she also co-hosts the “NPR Politics Podcast.” And hello to both of you. So, Tam, since you are in Orlando, let’s talk
about what the president is expected to do tomorrow. What are you expecting? And why Orlando? Why Florida? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Well,
already, they have the roads shut down around the arena where this rally is going to take
place. It’s going to be sort of a big classic Trump
rally, like the ones that he held toward the end of his campaign where he filled arenas
all over the country. And there will be tailgating, because Trump
rallies are in some ways like going to see the Grateful Dead. You get to hear the songs you want to hear. And he always plays the greatest hits, if
you will. So why Florida? I came down here a day early to do some reporting. I went to The Villages, which is this area
that is this very fast-growing community outside of Orlando. Lots of political reporters visit The Villages. About 100 — more than 100,000 people live
there. And they’re all — they’re all senior citizens,
pretty much, and most of them are Trump supporters. The Republican population is strong there,
and they’re high-turnout voters. And what is here in the Orlando — The Villages
is going to send five busloads of people to that rally. What is here is, it’s a state that President
Trump needs to win if he wants to get another term. And they use these rallies to organize people,
to register people to vote, to get names and numbers, so they can follow up later. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Amy, we have known — I
mean, it’s not a surprise the president’s running for reelection. He’s been — I think he announced it on the
day he was inaugurated. AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: But what — does a day like
tomorrow make a difference? AMY WALTER: Yes, well, I think it does, for
the president’s supporters, give them something to rally around. And the focus has been so much on the Democrats
and their opposition to the president, that he now gets a chance to sort of reset the
argument, make it about the case that he’s going to make. But it is really notable that Joe Biden kicked
off his campaign in Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, a state that Democrats have to win if they’re
going to win the Electoral College. Tam is right. If Trump is going to win reelection, he has
to win Florida. And it is fascinating when you look at that
central corridor where the president’s kicking this off, the so-called I-4 Corridor between
the Orlando and Tampa area. It is the fastest growing, not just in this
— in the state, but in the country, The Villages. These are folks who are coming in from places
where Trump is really popular, like Ohio, and Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. So think about where The Villages are and
where at some of these voters are coming into Florida. They’re basically the Midwest. That has been snowbirded, I guess if that’s
a term, into Florida. So don’t think of Florida for the president
as Miami, when people think about Florida. Think of it as really much more of a Midwestern
battleground state in the middle of a state that it also happens to have palm trees and
is on the ocean. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, just quickly, Tam, one
or two reporters showing up for this tomorrow? (LAUGHTER) TAMARA KEITH: Yes, this is the thing. The president is doing a grand re-re-re-re-launch
of his campaign. And Joe Biden had two bites of the apple with
his launch, the video and the rally. Kamala Harris, all of them have gotten attention
at least twice on the Democratic side. And so President Trump is looking for a little
bit of that attention as well. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Amy, let’s go back to where
— what we were talking about, or at least what Yamiche was reporting on, and that is
the Democrats. They are campaigning all over the place, but
a number of them were in South Carolina over the weekend. AMY WALTER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: And there’s a new poll out
in South Carolina, which has some pretty interesting numbers. We’re going to show all of you. We try not to overemphasize polls, but this
one is kind of striking. Joe Biden, yes, he’s still in the lead at
37 percent, but he’s dropped nine points since the last poll. The other dramatic change, Elizabeth Warren
up nine points. She’s at 17, still far back. But looking at these numbers and these candidates,
what do you see, Amy? AMY WALTER: Well, what we see is a continuation
of a trend we have seen for the last week or so in national polls and other state polls,
which is Elizabeth Warren and, to a certain extent, Pete Buttigieg rising, and Bernie
Sanders starting to see a little bit of a slide, and even Biden starting to see a little
bit of a slide. There was a national poll out by NBC/Wall
Street Journal over the weekend showing that the enthusiasm for Biden has slipped a little
bit since the earlier poll this spring, while enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren has gone up. So I think we had been hearing from folks
on the trail that, boy, Elizabeth Warren is getting a lot of second looks. I’m hearing from a lot of people in these
early states saying they want to hear more from Elizabeth Warren. So that sort of — the discussion that people
were having on the ground starting to show up in the polls. It’s not huge movement. But it’s — Joe — Joe Biden remains the front-runner. But when we’re now seeing about where that
next tier of candidates, who’s shaping up to now challenge Biden, who’s shaping up to
be the leader in the left-of-center debate for the Democratic Party, I think Elizabeth
Warren now has really made a significant move. JUDY WOODRUFF: Interesting. And, Tam, I know you’re following these candidates
as much as you can. At the same time, you’re following the president,
who belongs to the other political party. But South Carolina is a different — it’s
obviously its own state. But there’s — it’s going to say something
different when South Carolina voters vote. TAMARA KEITH: Yes, I think that is what all
of these candidates are looking to do. Not only do they want to win the — South
Carolina, but they want to be able to say, look, I won South Carolina. South Carolina represents a more diverse version
of the electorate, more closely reflects the Democratic voters nationwide that will be
voting in November. And they are looking to be able to show that
they can garner excitement among African-American voters, who will be critical in states like
Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Amy, we did, at
the end of last week, learn which candidates are going to be debating on which nights;
20 of the 23 were chosen, made the cut. And we’re going to show everybody again what
that lineup looks like. On Wednesday night, June the 26, these 10
candidates, Elizabeth Warren being certainly one of the more prominent names. AMY WALTER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: But they’re all — they all
have a shot. The next night, it’s these 10. Do we see something about this lineup that
tells us what’s going to happen? AMY WALTER: Anything about what to expect? I know. Well, I mean, I — from night two — as you
can see, Joe Biden is sitting in night two, along with the other top-tier candidates,
all of them, except for Elizabeth Warren, who is in that first night. And I think we’re all watching to see how
Joe Biden will do. He is the front-runner in large part because
people see him as the most electable and the safest choice in this. The way that that lead of his slips as if
he suddenly doesn’t look as stable or if he has a moment where he looks not quite as rugged
and able to continue in this front-runner path. For Elizabeth Warren, the question is, is
it a better thing to be in the first debate, where you’re not going to have a whole bunch
of people firing on you, where you don’t have to mix it up with the other top tier, you
get this whole night to yourself? I don’t know. But I think, for political reporters, what
they want to see is some — to see if they will be any movement in a race that’s been
incredibly stable. And that is going to be tough to do, when
you have so many people on stage all trying to get their quick little bite in that’s going
to get picked up by national news. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right. We’re going to — we don’t have time to have
you say this. But, Tam, you told us today it’s going to
be like speed dating. We will see. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will see if that bears itself
out. Tamara Keith in Orlando, waiting for the president’s
rally tomorrow, Amy Walter here in Washington, thank you both. AMY WALTER: Thank you. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

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