In a report from Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller of the Associated Press, aides to Donald Trump admit that time is running out to salvage the president's re-election bid and that they may have to bank on the president's performance in the debates with former Vice President Joe Biden to turn things around.
With less than one hundred days to go before November's election, the report notes that early voting starts soon which is is not good for a president with high disapproval numbers due to a crippled economy and an ongoing coronavirus health crisis.
According to conservative campaign consultant Steve Schmidt, notable for his opposition to the president, it may already be too late for Trump.
"He's losing and the trajectory of the race is moving away from him," explained Schmidt who ran Republican John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "People vote at a moment in time: Even if there is something of a political recovery for the president in October, that is irrelevant for those who already voted."
With the campaign in "re-set" mode after the demotion of Brad Parscale, and advertising suspended, campaign insiders admit they have big problems in states the president can't afford to lose.
"The campaign downplayed the ad pause, saying that the new campaign manager, Bill Stepien, wanted to analyze when and where Trump's advertising message was being delivered," the report states, adding, "The campaign has all but pulled the plug on competing in Michigan and, privately, acknowledges deficits in vital battleground states like Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona, though it insists the margins are manageable and smaller than what is reflected in public polling."
According to former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, Trump has the added problem that voters are currently tuning him out.
"By the speed at which news and events move in 2020, it's not necessarily the case that he is running out of time," he explained. "Much of the public will not pay attention to what he will say on law and order and the economy until he gets over the COVID hurdle first."
With that in mind, campaign aides hope debates — and lots of them — might help the president break through to voters once again.
"Many around the president are focused on the debates as perhaps the best chance, pushing for more showdowns with Biden to increase the chance of the former vice president faltering on stage," the report states while adding, "The president's advisers are also trying to re-imagine a campaign without its trademark rallies. Trump has been traveling to both smaller campaign gatherings and official events in swing states — on Friday, he attended one of each in Florida — and White House aides are readying a calendar full of day trips for the weeks ahead."
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