Biden campaign weighs in on Iowa caucuses: Candidates all 'singing the same, terrible song'

Aides plan to track the results and analyze turnout as the 2024 race kicks off.

January 15, 2024, 7:07 PM

Monday night's Iowa caucuses are the first chance for voters to weigh in on the Republican presidential candidates -- and President Joe Biden's campaign has already readied their argument on the results.

Advisers tell ABC News that while GOP candidates are racing to the right, Biden is focused on fighting for democracy and American freedoms.

That is likely to be a familiar refrain throughout the 2024 race. The president, whom Republicans assail as too "feeble" and ineffective on issues like inflation and immigration, is pushing back on his would-be opponents, labeling them as election deniers enthralled to Trump-style rhetoric and opposed to abortion rights.

"There is no difference between the Republican candidates in the field ... all of these Republican candidates are singing the same, terrible song," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a press conference on Monday, focusing his remarks on contrasts between Biden and Donald Trump, the GOP primary front-runner.

Biden's campaign dispatched top allies to Iowa ahead of the caucuses, including Pritzker, Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith and Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, to counterprogram Republicans' message even as they acknowledge many voters still aren't fully tuned in.

A campaign official said they will have a war room set up at campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, to monitor the Iowa caucuses. Aides will dissect data like results from precincts and GOP turnout.

The president has his own issues. He's received months of poor or mediocre polling and has an approval rating mired in the 30s, according to 538. Republicans "think anyone can beat him," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

Pritzker seemed to acknowledge that on Monday, telling reporters, "Joe Biden has yet to have had a battle ... between the Republicans and run against a single Republican. So until we see that, we won't know really what the numbers are."

Biden campaign officials told ABC News that their internal research shows voters are not yet paying close attention to the general election, set for Nov. 5.

A senior campaign aide said that their data shows around three-in-four undecided voters do not yet believe that Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee, despite his persistent polling lead.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., Jan. 5, 2024.
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., Jan. 5, 2024.
Stephanie Scarbrough/AP

Once the choice between Trump and Biden crystalizes, the president's campaign believes Americans will be turned off by a MAGA message seen as dark and out of touch.

In the meantime, the campaign will continue to remind voters of the threats they see from a second Trump presidency because of Trump's embrace of Jan. 6 and other rhetoric. (Trump, for his part, has tried to turn Biden's attack back around on him.)

Though the Biden campaign has polling problems, it has been quick to tout its financial advantages: Biden is entering the election year with $117 million in cash on hand, the highest amount raised by any Democratic candidate in history at this point in the cycle.

Campaign officials said that while Republican candidates, including Trump, are expected to have to keep spending cash to battle in the primary, the Biden campaign -- which faces no significant primary threat -- can target funds on battleground states and save some spending for months closer to the general election.

One of those battleground states is Pennsylvania, which Biden has already visited three times since 2024 began.

Part of that is convenience: The state is the easiest of the battlegrounds for Biden to get to, a campaign official said.

This official addded that Pennsylvania has many critical voter groups for Democrats, including working-class voters, blue-collar voters, swing voters and many Black and Latino voters.

But, at this early stage in the 2024 race, the campaign official made clear that they are also focused on other swing states, with pilot programs in Arizona and Wisconsin. The official said to expect the president to travel to other battleground states in the coming months.