Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

18 Mins Ago

Atlanta’s economy is a proving ground for Bidenomics vs. MAGAnomics

Atlanta Skyline as seen from Jackson Bridge, shows speeding cars to skyline. 

Joe Sohm | visions Of America | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Atlanta, Ga., where Biden and Trump meet tonight, has mirrored the U.S. economy’s fragile but steady post-pandemic recovery.

The Atlanta area unemployment rate came in at 2.8% in April, below the national figure, keeping up with the strong national labor market Biden has taken credit for.

But Trump’s more lax approach to business regulation could appeal to a city that is swarming with entrepreneurs.

Despite pandemic headwinds to small business, Atlanta has had a startup surge, hitting an all-time record of 323,669 new business formation filings in 2021. The city is also home to several large corporate headquarters like The Coca-Cola Company, United Parcel Service and Delta.

But living costs are 10% higher in Atlanta than they are in the rest of Georgia, according to the real estate database RentCafe.

Strong jobs numbers accompanied by inflation-boosted costs of living are a familiar pair for Biden. His economic messaging threads a needle between celebrating what he has accomplished and sympathizing with Americans who work and still struggle to make ends meet.

Rebecca Picciotto

37 Mins Ago

How to watch the first 2024 presidential debate

President Joe Biden walks to greet supporters outside the Hyatt Regency Atlanta ahead of a presidential debate, in Atlanta, June 27, 2024.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Tonight’s debate between Biden and Trump, hosted by CNN, will air live beginning at 9 p.m. ET on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español. Major broadcast networks simulcasting the debate include NBC, ABC and CBS.

CNBC will stream the debate here live, starting at 9 p.m.

— Josephine Rozzelle

An Hour Ago

Lukewarm economic data could help or hurt either candidate tonight

Joe Biden and Donald Trump 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein | David Swanson | Reuters

New economic indicators this week paint a mixed picture of the state of the economy, one that will likely be spun by both Biden and Trump tonight to corroborate competing economic narratives.

So far, the week’s numbers are tepid.

Consumer confidence dipped slightly to 100.4 in June from 101.3 in May, according to the latest monthly reading published Tuesday by the nonprofit research group The Conference Board.

Biden has repeatedly acknowledged that many Americans do not feel good about the economy, while Trump has used some negative economic vibes to argue for the superiority of “MAGAnomics” over “Bidenomics.”

The Labor Department on Thursday reported that initial jobless claims, a weekly unemployment metric, decreased to 233,000 from 239,000 last week, which could bolster Biden’s claims that the labor market is strong.

However, the number of people collecting unemployment benefits continues to rise, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 4% in May for the first time since January 2022.

The U.S. economy is also growing at a slower pace, according to a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimate Thursday of first-quarter gross domestic product, which came in at 1.4%, the lowest quarterly rate since the second quarter of 2022.

Several gauges of inflation, likely to be a central economic focus tonight, will be released Friday morning, including the personal consumption expenditures index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation data point.

Rebecca Picciotto

An Hour Ago

Mary Trump is in Atlanta to support … Joe Biden

Mary L. Trump interview on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”


Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, will be in Atlanta tonight for the debate, but she will not be in her uncle’s corner.

Biden’s campaign announced that Mary Trump, who has been a fierce critic of her uncle, will be a guest of the campaign in the spin room after the debate concludes late Thursday night.

“I’m in Atlanta tonight to remind everyone who Donald is as a person and how he would rule as a president because the stakes are far too high for us to get this wrong: We cannot afford to allow Donald Trump anywhere near the levers of power again,” Mary Trump said in a statement provided to CNBC by the Biden campaign.

— Brian Schwartz

An Hour Ago

Wealthy Dem donors will be watching for Biden to land punches

Supporters of U.S. President Joe Biden react outside the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, ahead of a presidential debate, in Atlanta on June 27, 2024.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Several Democratic Party donors are going to be closely watching how hard Biden punches back against Trump during their debate Thursday night, according to people familiar with the matter.

These donors, some of whom were granted anonymity to speak freely, acknowledge that if Biden can land some verbal blows against Trump, they’ll have an easier time raising money for him.

“All of us want Biden to come out swinging and swinging hard” against Trump, said Charles Myers, a former vice chairman at Evercore and a Biden bundler, about the expectations from party donors.

If Biden struggles to fight back and respond to the often rowdy Trump, money could be hard to come by.

“Democrats and donors are fired up about this election. They know what’s at stake. Biden’s performance will not change that unless he bombs tonight, which is highly unlikely,” Myers added.

— Brian Schwartz

An Hour Ago

Biden campaign video features former Trump aides’ words against him

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Sept. 19, 2023.


Biden’s campaign is releasing a new video featuring criticism of Trump by several former Trump aides.

The video includes Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, saying earlier this year, “I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump.” 

John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security advisor, is shown in the video saying, “Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, they’re fully prepared to take advantage of him.”

Trump defense secretary Mark Esper calls him a “threat to democracy” in the video.

— Dan Mangan


An Hour Ago

The polling picture: Trump-Biden race looks tight, but Trump expected to debate better

An illustration of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump is displayed in Suqian, Jiangsu Province, China, on Feb. 27, 2024.

Costfoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

While opinion polls, especially those for national presidential contests, are imperfect measures of where an election stands, numerous recent surveys have offered the same assessment: The race is tight.

The New York Times’ average polling tracker currently shows Biden and Trump are virtually tied, 46% to 45%, respectively.

FiveThirtyEight’s tracker is even narrower, showing Trump with just a 0.2-point average lead in the polls over Biden, 41.1% to 40.9%.

But when it comes to which candidate is more likely to prevail in the debate, more voters say they have higher expectations for Trump, according to recent polls by Ipsos and New York Times/Siena College.

Kevin Breuninger

An Hour Ago

Stocks tick higher before debate

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Major stock indexes closed slightly higher in the hours before the debate, and on the eve of new inflation data that could affect the Federal Reserve’s decision on whether to adjust interest rates.

The upcoming report on May’s core personal consumption expenditures index could show that Biden-era inflation woes, which are declining but still persistent, are continuing to cool. That in turn could boost traders’ hopes that the Fed will be more likely to lower rates later in the year.

While the economy has skirted fears of a postpandemic recession and the stock market has performed well under Biden overall, the Democratic incumbent has struggled to make his case to voters, whose economic attitudes remain broadly negative.

Kevin Breuninger

An Hour Ago

Trump shares debate talking points on Truth Social; Biden campaign says ‘thanks’

Trump in a Truth Social post shared debate “talking points” suggestions on the climate that he received from former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Wheeler, among other things, told Trump to argue that during his presidential administration, “CO2 emissions went down,” and that “Biden just increased the energy costs for everyone.”

Biden campaign rapid response director Ammar Moussa promptly posted the advice on social media platform X, and wrote, “Thanks I guess.”

— Dan Mangan

An Hour Ago

The last time either Trump or Biden debated a challenger was four years ago

Donald Trump, right, speaks as Joe Biden listens during the first U.S. presidential debate hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29, 2020.

Olivier Douliery | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Thanks to Biden’s lack of Democratic primary challengers and Trump’s decision not to participate in the Republican primary debates, tonight marks the first time either candidate has debated since they faced each other nearly four years ago, on Oct. 23, 2020.

The lapse is unusual for presidential candidates, at least one of whom typically debates in their party’s primary. Whether the lack of practice will leave Biden or Trump rusty in tonight’s debate remains to be seen.

— Josephine Rozzelle

2 Hours Ago

How tonight’s ‘mute button’ will work

Joe Biden and Donald Trump answer questions during the second and final presidential debate at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020.

Morry Gash | Pool | Reuters

The candidates’ microphones will be muted tonight unless it is their turn to speak, a new rule likely prompted by the persistent interruptions that defined Biden and Trump’s last faceoff during the 2020 campaign.

Lights in the candidates’ field of view will turn yellow when they have 15 seconds left to speak and flash red when they are down to their last five seconds, CNN explained in a video Wednesday. The displays will turn solid red when a candidate’s time is up, at which point their microphone will be muted and the other’s turned on.

Biden and Trump will know when their microphones are muted thanks to lights on each of their lecterns. When the lights are green, the microphone is on. When the lights are off, their microphone is muted.

— Josephine Rozzelle

2 Hours Ago

Unclear if Melania Trump will attend debate

Former U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and former First Lady Melania Trump arrive to vote in Florida’s primary election at a polling station at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 19, 2024.

Giorgio Viera | AFP | Getty Images

Will she or won’t she?

With less than five hours before the candidates face off, it is still not clear whether Melania Trump will be in Atlanta for the debate between her husband Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The former first lady has been conspicuously absent from Trump’s side on the campaign trail and at the New York criminal hush money trial, where he was convicted last month of crimes related to paying off porn star Stormy Daniels.

— Dan Mangan

2 Hours Ago

Mics cut, crowds nixed: Here are the rules of tonight’s debate

The stage is set for the first 2024 presidential debate between U.S. President Joe Biden and former U.S. President Donald Trump, in Atlanta on June 26, 2024.

John Nowak | CNN | Via Reuters

Biden and Trump have debated before, but their first faceoff of the 2024 election cycle is bound to look very different.

That is due to the rules put in place by CNN, which is hosting the debate after both candidates sidestepped the Commission on Presidential Debates, the traditional organizer of the events.

Among CNN’s biggest changes: There will be no live audience, and candidates’ microphones will be muted until it is their turn to speak.

In another break from tradition, CNN is allowing two commercial breaks during the debate. Campaign staff are forbidden from interacting with their candidate during those times.

Trump and Biden will be standing at lecterns eight feet apart during the 90-minute debate in Atlanta. Biden won a coin flip to choose his lectern position, though in doing so he allowed Trump to get the final word of the night.

There will be closing statements but no opening statements. Candidates will have two minutes to answer questions, and one minute for responses or rebuttals.

The moderators — CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash — will have discretion to allow additional time for follow-ups.

Kevin Breuninger

2 Hours Ago

Trump is still bound by gag orders. Here’s what he can’t say

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on May 30, 2024.

Michael M. Santiago | Via Reuters

Trump will debate Biden while his speech is restricted by gag orders in multiple civil and criminal cases against him.

Judge Juan Merchan recently lifted part, but not all, of the gag order on Trump in his criminal hush money case in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Trump, who was convicted on 34 felony counts in that trial, is now free to speak about witnesses and the jury. But he is still barred from discussing lawyers and staff for the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the court, plus any of their family members.

At least two other gag orders on Trump still appear to be in effect: one from his New York civil business fraud trial, and one from his federal election interference case in Washington, D.C., federal court.

The gag order from the civil fraud trial barred Trump from speaking about court personnel. It was imposed after Trump repeatedly verbally attacked the judge’s principal law clerk.

In the D.C. case, Judge Tanya Chutkan restricted public statements about likely witnesses, court staff and related legal counsel, including the lead prosecutor, Special Counsel Jack Smith. A federal appeals court later narrowed that gag order, allowing Trump to speak about Smith.

Kevin Breuninger

2 Hours Ago

White House Correspondents’ Association slams CNN for keeping Biden’s travel reporters out of debate venue

The White House Correspondents’ Association complained about the exclusion of the White House travel pool of journalists from being in the studio during the debate.

Media crews work at the press room in the McCamish Pavilion on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus ahead of the first 2024 presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, in Atlanta on June 27, 2024.

Marco Bello | Reuters

“WHCA is deeply concerned that CNN has rejected our repeated requests to include the White House travel pool inside the studio,” the group said in a statement, which noted it had asked for access for at least one print pool reporter.

The group said the “White House pool has a duty to document, report and witness the president’s events and his movements on behalf of the American people.”

— Dan Mangan

2 Hours Ago

With no one else qualifying, Biden and Trump face off head-to-head

A banner in support of Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is seen ahead of the first 2024 presidential debate between U.S. President Joe Biden and former U.S. President Donald Trump, in Atlanta on June 27, 2024.

Megan Varner | Reuters

CNN announced last week that Biden and Trump were the only presidential candidates who met its qualification requirements, solidifying tonight’s head-to-head debate.

To earn a spot tonight, presidential hopefuls had to cross two key thresholds by June 20:

  • Candidates had to appear on enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes.
  • Candidates had to receive at least 15% support in four national polls that met CNN’s standards.

Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. failed to meet those requirements, reaching 15% in just three surveys and gaining ballot access in only 10 states, according to an NBC News analysis.

— Josephine Rozzelle

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