Biden closes door on COVID, opens one on 2024: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

On at least one very big point, President Joe Biden was definitive.

“The pandemic is over,” he said on “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday night.

On another huge point, he was anything but.

“It’s much too early to make that kind of decision” about running for reelection, Biden said. “My intention, as I said to begin with, is that I would run again. But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.”

The president mentioned election laws that would come into play if he were to announce that he’s definitely running. But while his hedging was in line with previous White House comments on the topic, he went a touch beyond legal niceties — at a time of high-profile 2024 positioning, including some on the Democratic side.

The GOP governors of Florida and Texas — both of whom are running in 2022 and might also in 2024 — managed to shift a policy debate over immigration and the border into the center of national politics by busing and flying migrants from the southern border to Democratic-led states. Nationally prominent Democrats responded — most notably California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who challenged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a debate.

Declaring an end to the pandemic marks its own kind of political turning point, even while the president noted the steps Americans still need to take to stay healthy and safe.

Biden said a final decision on 2024 would come from him after the midterms. That’s a typical schedule for presidential politics to settle in — though it also sets up higher stakes for the next 50 days, for both the president and the direction of the nation.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks at the 2022 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Sept. 14, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks at the 2022 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Sept. 14, 2022.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

The miles-long queue to pay respects to the queen of England has closed — and soon enough, so will the pomp and circumstance surrounding celebrations of her life. For the United Kingdom’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, the lull in government business will come to be over, too.

Queen Elizabeth II’s death occurred only days after she appointed Truss to the post. News of the queen’s passing then prompted a period of national mourning suspending most government activities.

Her state funeral, scheduled for Monday in London, has afforded Truss the opportunity to meet high-profile world leaders before she’s accomplished much in office.

It also comes ahead of a meeting of the U.N.’s General Assembly in New York where she is slated to have a full bilateral with President Biden. The meeting was initially slated to take place during Biden’s visit for the funeral but got moved. The new meeting date will allow them to focus on business rather than the late Queen Elizabeth.

The pair of leaders differ on how to handle post-Brexit rules for trade in Northern Ireland which could be a source of friction and a test of the so-called “special relationship” the two nations share.

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth greets newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss as she arrives for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government, Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen, Scotland, Sept. 6, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth greets newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss as she arrives for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government, Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen, Scotland, Sept. 6, 2022.
Jane Barlow/WPA/Pool via Getty Images

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

In seven weeks, voters will see whether Donald Trump’s battleground state rallies and candidate endorsements helped propel his picks to the Senate and the House. Until then, Republicans are faced with mitigating his comments on the 2022 campaign trail long after the former president leaves their states.

GOP Senate candidate, J.D. Vance – who received Trump’s endorsement in April — is likely going to have to answer for Trump’s apparent swipe at him at a Youngstown, Ohio, rally that happened over the weekend.

“J.D. is kissing my a–, he wants my support so bad,” Trump said Saturday. The comment was met with laughter from supporters in the crowd.

Although Trump referred to November as “the most important midterm election in American history,” he also went on to recount how Vance made negative comments about him in the past “before he knew me and then he fell in love.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s comments describing the various ways in which he feels the nation is in decline — which were expressed against the backdrop of a solemn melody and as audience members raised their arms in what appeared to be a signal of support — also became the subject of online scrutiny. Given the audience’s response, some critics questioned whether the incident signaled Trump’s open support for the far-right conspiracy QAnon after he had echoed some of the movement’s language on social media in recent days.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich pushed back on the allegations related to the rally, telling ABC News’ Olivia Rubin the song playing in the background of Trump’s comments was “Mirrors” by William Van De Crommert. Budowich blamed the discourse surrounding the moment on the media, calling it “a pathetic attempt to create controversy.”

PHOTO: JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Sept. 17, 2022.
JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Sept. 17, 2022.
Tom E. Puskar/AP

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

49.97. That’s the share of the vote Sen. Michael Bennet won in Colorado in 2016 and, notably, that’s not much higher than the share he won in 2010 (48.08%), when he ran for the first time after being appointed to the seat in 2009. To be sure, Bennet has about a nine-in-10 chance of beating his Republican opponent, Joe O’Dea, in the 2022 FiveThirtyEight election midterm forecast, but as FiveThirtyEight’s Alex Samuels writes, it’s possible, too, that there’s some upside for Republicans in Colorado. Read more from Alex on why Republican nominee O’Dea isn’t a weak candidate — which isn’t the case in a lot of Senate races this year — and why someone like Bennet who hasn’t won 50 percent of the vote in recent elections could be vulnerable.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. “Start Here” begins Monday morning with ABC’s Aaron Katersky on Queen Elizabeth’s funeral as mourners bid their final farewell. Then ABC’s Armando Garcia breaks down the latest on the migrant buses – –and legal action that is in the works to stop them. And, ABC’s Cheyenne Haslett explains who is eligible to receive another COVID-19 booster shot. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • At 5 a.m. ET, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II in London before returning to Washington.
  • Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney appears at the 11th annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back Tuesday for the latest.

Source: ABC News

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