Biden campaign goes after Trump on health care in $14 million ad boost

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign on Wednesday announced $14 million in new spending across battleground states while launching an ad hitting former President Donald Trump on health care.

The spending includes seven figures that will target minority groups through TV, digital and radio ads this month, said the campaign, which is looking to capitalize on its early fundraising advantage over Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. The move also comes on the heels of a $30 million ad onslaught in competitive states that began after Biden’s State of the Union address in March.

A key component of the spending push is a new ad that lists Trump’s past efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Health care should be a basic right,” Biden says in the ad. “Folks, he’s coming for your health care, and we’re not going to let that happen.”

It’s all part of a broader strategy by the Biden camp to tap into a fundraising advantage and flood the battleground states with ads and on-the-ground staffers. Biden is also campaigning in those core states while Trump is stuck most weekdays in a New York City courtroom defending himself in a criminal trial tied to hush money payments.

Biden’s re-election efforts have focused heavily on protecting abortion rights, and the renewed focus on health care reflects his campaign’s long-held view that Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act are a vulnerability for him, especially as the 2010 law has only grown in popularity. Leaning into the broader issue of health care also allows Biden to tout related accomplishments, including capping the price of insulin for seniors at $35 a month.

“As we’re talking about the stakes, I think they could not be higher for Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act,” Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said this week on a call with reporters. “That’s a message we’ll be driving hard across the board throughout the month of May and into the summer.”

A record 20 million people signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces this year, the Biden administration announced in January.

During his administration, Trump unsuccessfully tried to invalidate the ACA, including through the Supreme Court. In November, he declared “Obamacare Sucks!” on social media and said he wanted to replace it. Several months later, in March, he said, “I’m not running to terminate the ACA, AS CROOKED JOE BUDEN DISINFORMATES AND MISINFORMATES ALL THE TIME.”

Last month, Trump insisted that he did not want to repeal the ACA and that he would improve it, instead.

“We’re going to make the ACA much better than it is right now and much less expensive for you,” he said in a video.

Less than six months before the election, he has yet to lay out specifics of how he would do that.

Biden and surrogates are hitting core states aggressively this month, according to the campaign, including Biden’s visit to Wisconsin on Wednesday and trips to Georgia and Michigan next week. Biden won all three states in 2020.

The campaign said it has tapped its expansive fundraising to broaden state operations.

“By the end of this month, we will have at least 200 offices and 500 staff,” said Dan Kanninen, director of battleground states for the campaign. “The Trump campaign has virtually no presence in most of the battleground states. If they decide to do any organizing work at all, they will almost certainly be forced to rely on expensive and last-minute tactics with folks who have never set foot in a community in which they’re knocking doors.”

Trump’s campaign has disputed the assertion that it has not staffed up in critical states.

“The premise that we don’t have paid staff in the battleground states is flatly false,” Karoline Leavitt, Trump’s national press secretary, said in a statement last month. “We have paid staffers and volunteer-powered field programs in every battleground state and they are expanding daily. We don’t announce every organizational move in the media, because we aren’t a losing campaign in need of manufactured momentum like Joe Biden.”

NBC News reported last month that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee each had fewer than five staff members in each of the battleground states.

Even with a likely advantage for Biden in staffing, ad expenditures and fundraising, the presidential race remains neck and neck. In NBC News’ April poll, Trump held a narrow 2-percentage-point lead — within the margin of error — among registered voters.

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