Power of 1 highlights challenges for Biden: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Joe Biden surveyed the broad landscape of challenges facing the nation and summed up his strategy rather simply at Thursday’s news conference: “One at a time.”

The ability to order his priorities was recently disrupted in dramatic fashion. A second mass shooting in a week, provocations from North Korea, a humanitarian crisis at the border and familiar yet newly relevant partisan battles on Capitol Hill are all threatening to impose new realities for Biden and his party.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden leaves after speaking at a news conference in the East Room of the White House on March 25, 2021 in Washington.

One is the critical number, though not in the way the president wants it to be. Democrats across the ideological spectrum are realizing the power of any one of them as a potential deciding vote, forcing awkward compromises and backtracks from the White House.

Inside the GOP, the pull of partisanship remains that much more salient so long as Democrats fail to agree with themselves. And there’s a singular former president with an outsized role in ideology — one big endorsement and one big voice still.

“They have to posture for a while,” the president said of Republicans on Thursday.

He said the onus will still be on them to come to the table for negotiations on a range of issues. But there isn’t one — at least not yet — who appears willing to meet him on those terms.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

During his first formal press conference since taking office Thursday, Biden condemned Republican efforts to make it more difficult to vote in states across the country, calling them “un-American,” “sick” and compared them to Jim Crow.

“It’s sick. Deciding in some states that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote? Deciding that you’re going to end voting at 5, when working people are just getting off work? Deciding that there will be no absentee ballots under the most rigid circumstances?” said Biden referring, in part, to provisions included in a bill passed Thursday afternoon in Georgia’s legislature and later signed by the governor. “It’s all designed.”

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on March 25, 2021.

He reiterated his support for sweeping voting reforms laid out in the “For the People Act” and also agreed that the filibuster is a relic of Jim Crow, but stopped short of saying it should be scrapped.

Biden has repeatedly pledged that his administration would root out institutional racism. If he believes that the filibuster is a relic of the same discriminatory system that he decries, he will have to come up with a better answer as to why he refuses to call for its elimination as the parliamentary procedure in its current form stands to block much of the legislation he’s promised to address systemic racism.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

November 2024 is still more than three years away, but one early primary state is already beginning to see some high-profile political foot traffic. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to attend two Iowa events on Friday and Florida Sen. Rick Scott is slated to visit next week.

Pompeo’s itinerary includes a breakfast with the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, followed by a lunch event in Des Moines with the Iowa Bull Moose Club, a Republican group whose members are under 40 years old. The appearances come on the heels of his trip to the emerging battleground of Texas for a conversation with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. There, he discussed politically salient topics including U.S.-China relations, as well as the migrant situation at the southern border.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waves as he is introduced at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Florida.

Despite frequently signaling his interest in the 2024 campaign by tweeting a countdown to the November election date, Pompeo still faces the unknown Trump candidacy factor. So far, his former boss has not publicly named the former top diplomat as one of the Republicans whom he considers to be the future of the party.

Meanwhile, the significance of Iowa and New Hampshire — where Pompeo virtually appears Monday — in presidential politics is another potential hurdle given calls from across the aisle to elevate the more diverse electorates of Nevada and South Carolina to lead the primary cycle. Although the ongoing debate could create a meta-battle for the top primary spot, current hopefuls are forging ahead with the status quo in mind.


ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, who tells us about her interaction with President Joe Biden on immigration during his first formal news conference Thursday. ABC News’ Ashley Riegle brings us up to speed on a record-breaking sexual assault settlement in the USC gynecologist case. And ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams tells us why one university’s plan to require vaccinations for in-person learning could become the standard for other industries. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight’s Politics Podcast. On Thursday, we launched our updated pollster ratings here at FiveThirtyEight. While they showed that polls have not become markedly less accurate in recent years, they did have a pretty bad 2020. Our analysis also found that a longtime truism in polling — that surveys using live callers are more accurate — is no longer true. Comparing live-caller polls with online surveys, text messaging, automated calls and mixed methods, the former is not systematically likelier to reflect the final result of an election. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, editor in chief Nate Silver talks to Galen Druke about why the gold standard of polling has changed and what this means going forward. With the benefit of hindsight, and updated pollster ratings, they also assess how polls performed in 2019 and 2020 in general. https://53eig.ht/3ro2mJy


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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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