2020年1月21日 星期二

On Politics P.M.: Four Senators Attempt to Be in 2 Places at Once. Here’s How.

The four senators currently running for president — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar
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By Nick Corasaniti

Domestic Correspondent, Politics

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Nick Corasaniti, your host on Tuesdays for our coverage of all things media and messaging.

The four senators currently running for president — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — have all had to detour from the campaign trail in the middle of a charged primary to sit for jury duty in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

With the race in Iowa incredibly fluid, the trial has become a scheduling speed bump for the senators. They risk losing hard-won advantages in a state that evaluates candidates on in-person appearances, while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and others are able to press into face-to-face campaigning.

Though news media coverage has focused on surrogates working overtime for duty-bound candidates (Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Mr. Sanders in Iowa; Julián Castro for Ms. Warren in Nevada; Abigail Bessler, Ms. Klobuchar’s daughter, will host “hotdish house parties” in Iowa), the campaigns say they will use digital tools to keep the candidates directly connected with voters.

The Sanders campaign is the most prolific campaign when it comes to livestreaming, airing nearly all of the candidate’s rallies live on YouTube and often providing nightly “campaign update” broadcasts featuring either Mr. Sanders or his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, on both YouTube and Twitter. The campaign updates on Twitter often attract about 100,000 viewers, evidence of Mr. Sanders’s devoted online following, and this weekend his campaign said roughly 3 million viewers tuned in to one of Mr. Sanders’s rallies across all platforms.


The Sanders campaign will continue its updates and videos while Mr. Sanders is in Washington, and the candidate will appear in the videos when he can.

It’s difficult to discern, however, how many of those viewers are future caucusgoers in Iowa, or voters in New Hampshire, and the tools for targeting or promoting livestreams are somewhat limited.

Ms. Klobuchar’s team is weighing linking a digital broadcast with events on the ground, such as having Ms. Klobuchar broadcast into events hosted by her surrogates. The campaign is also discussing holding some “tele-town halls” over a video messenger that would also be livestreamed.

Ms. Warren will be recording videos, doing satellite interviews and possibly tele-town halls, and Mr. Bennet will be holding tele-town halls and appearing on Facebook Live.


Of course, the four senators are amping up their television and digital ads as well. Mr. Sanders currently has about $1.9 million in television advertising reserved in Iowa through caucus day on Feb. 3, while Ms. Warren has about $1.5 million in Iowa television already booked for the same time period, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm. Ms. Klobuchar has roughly $200,000 reserved. All of these budgets will most likely grow as new ads are released by the campaigns.

Mr. Bennet, who has spent roughly $9,000 on television this year, will launch a new ad later this week to air in New Hampshire that features Mr. Bennet reading his most viral tweet.

On Facebook, Ms. Warren has been running ads praising her endorsements from local Iowa leaders like John Norris, as well as coverage from local Iowa newspapers like The Clinton Herald, and Ms. Klobuchar has multiple ads pointing to her endorsement from The Quad City Times, another Iowa newspaper (both senators also have national ads running about their endorsement from The New York Times Editorial Board). Mr. Sanders has 42 separate ads featuring Ms. Ocasio-Cortez pleading with Iowans to caucus for Mr. Sanders.

From streams to ads to surrogates, it’s a patchwork of pixels to put the candidates in two places at once.


Bloomberg Seizes on Impeachment

The campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg has spent $247 million on television, digital and radio advertising in less than two months, a record-breaking messaging operation that has been mostly focused on elevating the candidate and introducing him to a national audience.

Now, the Bloomberg campaign is turning its advertising cannon toward impeachment.

In a new ad running nationally in 27 states and on MSNBC, CNN and ESPN, Mr. Bloomberg is shown addressing a room, boasting of his spending that helped elect Democrats in 2018, and saying “it’s time for the Senate to act and remove Trump from office.”

Though the ad only features Mr. Bloomberg speaking, it ends with him seemingly making a threat to the Republican senators: “If they won’t do their jobs, then this November, you and I will.”

Among the states the ad is running are potentially competitive re-election battlegrounds for Republican senators, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.

Ad of the Week: ‘I Approve This Message Because I’m Going to Beat Him’

Last week saw among the most divisive moments in the 2020 primary race, as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren quarreled over a 2018 conversation in which Ms. Warren accused Mr. Sanders of saying he did not think a woman could win the presidency (Mr. Sanders denies saying this).

This week, the Warren campaign released a new television ad that closes with a simple declaration about the November election: “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message because I’m going to beat him.”

The message

The Warren campaign cedes the microphone to various news outlets, all reporting that it is Ms. Warren whom Mr. Trump fears most as a general election candidate. Onscreen, similar headlines overlay scenes of Ms. Warren on the campaign trail, often with her back to the camera and packed crowds stretching out.

As a reporter is heard saying Ms. Warren’s “economic populist appeal” could pull away some Trump voters, Ms. Warren takes over. With the CNN report of Mr. Trump signing the federal tax cuts from 2018, Ms. Warren accuses Mr. Trump of having “done everything he can for the wealthy and well connected.” She then declares her approval, and confidence that she can beat Trump.

The takeaway

The unsuspectedly tense standoff with Mr. Sanders set off yet another cacophonous round of “electability” debates by pundits and prognosticators on cable news and social media.

Though it in no way directly addresses that debate, the new ad from the Warren campaign is a simple and clear-cut message against any doubt about her viability, delivered directly from the candidate: “I can beat him.”

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What’s Joe Biden Up to in Iowa?

For more on the Biden-in-Iowa advantage, my colleague Katie Glueck sends this dispatch from Ames.

As President Trump’s impeachment trial began in earnest in Washington on Tuesday, confining several presidential candidates to the Senate floor, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, was more than 1,000 miles away, seeking to shore up support for his candidacy by delivering notably wide-ranging remarks here in Iowa less than two weeks before the caucuses.

He spoke passionately about foreign policy, warning about threats the nation faces under Mr. Trump’s stewardship and promising that if he won the presidency, the day after the election he would be on the phone with American allies “saying, ‘We’re back.’”

He said that his children had graduated school with debt, but added, “I don’t think that you should have to pay for my son, having gone to Yale Law School.” Mr. Biden, who detailed his student loan plan, supports free community college but stops short of his liberal rivals’ more expansive proposals.

He held court as he met with potential caucusgoers doling out his usual handshakes and hugs. He sat beside an attendee to listen encouragingly to her question — telling someone else who chimed in to “be quiet for a second” as they spoke.

And Mr. Biden, who arrived late, also went on long digressions, touching on subjects including the Industrial Revolution and the Luddites, and he name-checked former Senate colleagues like Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri and Iowa’s John C. Culver.

In fact, the most direct case for his candidacy may have come after he had finished his speech. Christie Vilsack, the former first lady of Iowa, served as Mr. Biden’s closer, describing Mr. Biden’s empathy and his experience. But she also urged attendees to consider who could best appeal to Republicans and independents, and she referenced Mr. Biden’s resilience in many polls.

“I’m urging you,” she said, “to be practical Iowans as you cast your vote in the caucus.”

— Katie Glueck, National Politics Reporter

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