“There was a sense that things had stalled,” acknowledged a top Biden adviser. “People felt that they weren’t seeing what they thought they were going to see.”
The upside to a year and a half of false starts and breakdowns, Democrats say: They stumbled into having a pile of good news right before midterm campaigning really picks up, and just as the average gas price has fallen below $4 and Donald Trump’s last week included having the FBI search Mar-a-Lago and invoking the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times to the New York attorney general.
Three days after Buttigieg’s TV appearances, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called Biden to tell him that he’d landed the deal with Manchin and brought the President’s agenda back to life.
With that deal, which included deficit reductions and the biggest investments in combating climate change the US has ever made, now through Congress and headed to the President’s desk, Biden and his team are rushing to reset the image they allowed to settle in of a doddering president wiling away his days in the Oval Office as time passed him by.
Three dozen White House aides, members of Congress and top staff as well as top political operatives spoke to CNN about Biden’s race against time to change perceptions of his presidency. It’s a sprint aimed at defying history by salvaging the Democratic majorities in Congress in the November midterms and — just as critically for the President — staving off any more defections from within his own party…