President Biden’s reelection campaign is planning an aggressive media blitz during the Republican National Committee (RNC) debate next week, a campaign official said Thursday.
The Biden campaign will team up with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to run “a new, aggressive paid media campaign,” the official said, which will be its third major paid media buy of the cycle. The DNC will also launch a billboard campaign across Milwaukee, the site of the debate, including three standing billboards and a billboard truck that will circle the debate venue.
The first debate of the Republican presidential primary is set for Wednesday and will be hosted by Fox News. It is not yet known if front-runner former President Trump will attend.
Biden campaign co-Chair Cedric Richmond and DNC Chair Jaime Harrison will host a press conference in a prepared rebuttal to the debate, and they will have other officials on the ground in Milwaukee to meet with local leaders and key constituencies, according to the official.
Additionally, the campaign will have “an aggressive war room run jointly by the Biden-Harris campaign and the DNC” in Washington, D.C., that will respond to Republican candidates’ comments to hold them “accountable for the extreme MAGA views” they “espouse from the debate stage.”
“We know Americans are mobilized against the MAGA agenda, and this serves as a perfect opportunity to energize and activate the Biden-Harris coalition well ahead of the general election,” the official said.
Ahead of the debate, Harrison will hold Black voter engagement events in Milwaukee, including an event specifically focused on engaging with Black men. While in Wisconsin, he will also attend an event with women voters in Waukesha and engage youth voters in Madison.
“Next week’s Republican debate will put on display just how extreme and out of touch the Republican candidates are with the American people. That’s why we’re using the debate as an opportunity to activate and energize our supporters, as well as expand support for the Biden-Harris ticket and our agenda for the middle class and protecting Americans’ freedoms,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement.
Trump has pointed to his healthy lead in the polls as evidence of why he shouldn’t have to participate in the debate. He’s also alleged bias against him from Fox News and balked at the RNC’s insistence that debate participants sign a loyalty pledge to the eventual nominee.
Trump is reportedly plotting counterprogramming for the night of the debate, according to CNN.
Several Republicans have qualified so far to participate, which means they have met a polling and donor threshold, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Harrison, in a statement Thursday, called the candidates in the debate “the most extreme slate of presidential candidates in history” and said that they will take the stage “to out-MAGA each other.”
The official said the debate “will be a race to the MAGA base” and help highlight the contract between the Biden-Harris agenda and “MAGA Republicans’ extreme and out of touch views.”
“The debate will showcase for the American people that the MAGA GOP candidates don’t share their priorities and would roll back the progress we’ve made,” the official said.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told CNN last month that the loyalty pledge for candidates is “the Beat Biden Pledge.”
“And what we’re saying … is if you’re going to stand on the Republican National Committee debate stage you should be able to support the nominee and beat Biden,” she said.