The Note: Instead of attacking 'the squad,' Trump targets California at rally

PHOTO: President Donald Trump waves as he arrives to a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally in Cincinnati, Aug. 1, 2019.PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH 'Democrats spent more time attacking Barack Obama than they did attacking me': Trump

The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks

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There were no "send her back" chants this time.

During President Donald Trump's rally on Thursday, he didn't mention by name "the squad," the four Democrats, new to the House of Representatives, whom he's recently targeted repeatedly.

You can imagine Republicans exhaled, relieved that those racist lines from two weeks ago didn't re-emerge.

Still, for a president who says he's proud of his economic record, parts of his speech were dark, his rhetoric often grim.

He's repeatedly painted a dire picture of some of America's largest and most diverse cities, saying Los Angeles had "horrible, disgusting conditions" and San Francisco is now all "deplorable."

There was a dissonance with a president running for reelection on his record, while talking about the country in such a negative light.

Sure, no U.S. city is perfect. Los Angeles and San Francisco both have struggled with homelessness and crime, but both have also seen record job booms, and, in fact, often lead the country in job creation.

Violent crime in Los Angeles has fallen about a third from 25 years ago. Ask Los Angelenos over the age of 60 about downtown, and they'll talk your ear off about the exciting revitalization and myriad young entrepreneurs living there.

Big picture, roughly 1 out of 8 Americans lives in California. They're proud. Some are Republicans, yet Trump insulted all of them Thursday night, like he often does with those he assumes prefer another political party.

It's strange to be in an election season where the president on the campaign trail doesn't sound interested in trying to win over whole parts of the very country he now leads.

The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek

As nearly the entire Democratic field heads west this weekend for a candidate forum in Nevada, the candidates take with them the bumps, bruises and frustrations that boiled over during this week's second round of debates.

Out of those frustrations, a new fault line has appeared in the Democratic field over the legacy of President Barack Obama, and whether or not the man who served him loyally for eight years as vice president should be the one to unseat Trump.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker and former Vice President Joe Biden speak during the second primary debate in Detroit, July 31, 2019. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker and former Vice President Joe Biden speak during the second primary debate in Detroit, July 31, 2019.

"I was a little surprised how much incoming there was on Barack," former Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday in Detroit. "I don't think he has anything to apologize for, and I think it kind of surprised me the degree of the criticism."

It mostly came from progressive candidates who are still trying to break through a crowded pack, such as Obama's former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. They both took aim at Biden over immigration, a topic that could arise again this weekend.

Criticizing Obama, a revered figure in the Democratic Party, comes at some candidates' peril, and creates a risk of generating the "circular firing squad" in the party the former president warned about last year.

The TIP with Sasha Pezenik

Between debate study sessions, many of the candidates made stops across Michigan with union workers.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., toured the UA Local 636 pipefitters training center in Troy; Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., met with members of the Mechanists Union in Detroit; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg marched with Downtown Detroit Security Officers rallying to unionize and get a $15 minimum wage; former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, ate lunch with historically independent Macomb County voters -- many of them union workers concerned for their health care under "Medicare for all"; and he and Kamala Harris both spent their first hours in Nevada doing "Walk A Day In My Shoes" event with SEIU workers.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidates at the Democratic Presidential Debate, July 31, 2019, in Detroit. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidates at the Democratic Presidential Debate, July 31, 2019, in Detroit.

It's the kind of shoe-leather stumping we've come to expect of presidential hopefuls, but this may in fact have been prep for this weekend's American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Public Service Forum in Las Vegas, where at least 19 of the 24-strong candidate field will court the labor vote.

An endorsement from AFSCME means national support any candidate would covet. Card-carrying candidates will have to switch gears from stage soundbites to direct conversations with workers from the country's largest public labor union. They will answer questions not from debate moderators but from union members on their plans to fight for labor rights.

Their answers could frame how one of the country's most crucial voting blocks picks its candidate.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer, who explains why President Donald Trump issued another tariff threat on Chinese goods .Then ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd tells us why Democrats are grappling with the Obama legacy on the campaign trail. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

  • President Donald Trump is scheduled to make an announcement on EU trade in the Roosevelt Room at 1:45 p.m. before leaving later in the afternoon for Bedminster, New Jersey.
  • Democratic presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on ABC's "The View" at 11 a.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks at the second annual Resurgent Gathering at 11:20 a.m. in Atlanta.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is in Denver; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are holding events in Nevada.
  • On Saturday, 19 Democratic presidential candidates are expected to speak at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Public Service Forum in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 a.m.: Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Bullock, Buttigieg, Castro, de Blasio, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Harris, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Moulton, O'Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Tom Steyer, Warren and Marianne Williamson.
  • Following their speeches at the AFSCME event, Bennet, Biden, Bullock, Harris, Klobuchar, O'Rourke and Sanders each are hosting campaign events in Nevada.
  • On Sunday, Biden and Klobuchar are in California; Delaney is in Iowa; Bennet, Harris and Sanders are in Nevada.
  • Sunday on "This Week": Former Vice President Al Gore discusses climate change and the 2020 Democratic primary. Plus the Powerhouse Roundtable -- ABC News Political Director Rick Klein, former North Dakota senator and ABC News contributor Heidi Heitkamp, Democratic strategist Stefanie Brown James and Los AngelesTimes columnist Jonah Goldberg -- debates the week's politics.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the sharpest political analysis every weekday.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.