WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden’s three-state swing west this week encapsulates the White House’s midterm strategy for a president who remains largely unpopular: promote the accomplishments of his administration and appear where he can effectively attract party loyalists can collect – while continuing to collect campaign funds.
Biden is expected to make comments at 3:30 p.m. ET. Watch the event in the player above.
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Biden’s first stop Wednesday is near Vail, Colorado, where he is scheduled to designate his administration’s first national monument at the behest of Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, the state’s senior senator who is in a competitive reelection bid. Then the President will travel to California, where he will hold two events to promote two of his most significant legislative accomplishments and lead a fundraiser for the House Democrats’ campaign arm.
Finally, Biden will stop in Oregon, where Democrats’ access to the governor’s Salem mansion is being threatened by an independent candidate who has garnered double-digit support in polls and gives a Republican a chance to win November’s race outright. Early voting begins next week in Oregon and Colorado and is already underway in California.
“We said very clearly that the president is going to step out, the vice president is going to step out,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “They will talk about the achievements that we have seen in this administration over the past 19 months.”
He particularly stays away from states where his presence could harm Democrats; On this trip, he skips Nevada and Arizona, where incumbent Democratic senators are vying for tough re-election bids.
It’s all part of a campaign plan that has been refined in recent months for Biden, who has been keen to tour the country but faces traditional medium-term headwinds against the political party in power, an unsettled economic outlook and the president’s approval ratings have remained stubborn under water.
To counter Republican criticism of the economy and inflation, Democratic candidates have highlighted achievements such as bipartisan infrastructure, manufacturing laws and a comprehensive climate, tax and health care package. Those wins also helped Biden’s own job performance ratings soar in late summer earlier this year.
Democratic candidates are also much more likely to appear with Biden at an official White House event that highlights their achievements, such as breaking ground on a computer chip factory in suburban Ohio, which was mandated by legislation to strengthen domestic power Semiconductor production was enormously supported.
That’s the approach in Colorado, where the White House says Biden will discuss his administration’s efforts to “protect, conserve, and restore some of America’s most treasured lands and waters for the benefit of future generations.”
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Biden is set to designate Camp Hale — an alpine training site where US soldiers prepared for combat in the Italian Alps during World War II — as his administration’s first national monument. Many troops who trained at Camp Hale returned to Colorado after the war and helped establish the state’s lucrative ski industry. While most national monuments protect outstanding natural sites, there are at least 12 other military sites that have been designated as national monuments by other presidents.
“I am grateful to President Biden for heeding Colorado’s call to honor our veterans, protect our wildlife and public lands, and strengthen our outdoor recreation economy,” Bennet said in a statement Wednesday morning.
Bennet will stand alongside Biden at the announcement, which comes after years of advocacy from the senator and other Democrats in the state. Bennet, who has been in office since 2009, faces a challenge from GOP nominee Joe O’Dea, a moderate-profile businessman who national Republicans believe is one of the party’s best recruits this cycle. O’Dea dismissed the trip as a stunt.
“It’s not changing our economy. It doesn’t change the price of gas,” O’Dea said in an interview about the Camp Hale designation. He added that while Camp Hale was “a special place,” Biden’s unilateral action was “a power grab.”
The political climate in Colorado prompted the Senate Leadership Fund, the primary Super-PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the Senate, to make its first investment of the cycle in Colorado last week by raising $1.25 million O’Dea’s Super PAC sent.
“We’ve been watching Colorado and we like what we’re seeing,” said Steven Law, the group’s president.
Associated Press writers Nicholas Riccardi and Jesse Bedayn in Denver contributed to this report.