The Note: Biden seeks reset around his own complicated past

The ability to beat Trump is not the exclusive terrain of Biden at this moment.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It could go down as a pivotal weekend in the Democratic primary race, and it featured a pivot of sorts from the polling leader.

Notably, Biden said he wants voters to look forward. But he is still talking about a certain portion of his recent past.

"I say let's talk about the future instead of talking about the past," he said during a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday.

But his campaign stops in the Palmetto State were peppered with callbacks to the Obama-Biden years.

"As Barack says," he said at one point, and he issued a promise to protect "the jewel of President Obama's legacy" -- a reference to Obamacare.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll showed Trump at his high-water mark of 44%, in terms of his approval rating. But 53% of voters still disapprove of his presidency, along with 65% who view the president's conduct as "unpresidential."

Biden can boast of the strongest numbers of any Democrat in a head-to-head matchup against Trump: 55-41, in the ABC/Post poll.

But also topping Trump numerically are Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in addition to South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- meaning the ability to beat the president is not the exclusive terrain of Biden at this moment.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

President Donald Trump’s polling numbers on his signature issue -- immigration -- tell a complicated story.

Only 40% of Americans approve of his handling of the issue, a foreboding fact as he heads into a reelection campaign, continuing tough talk and new levels of extreme enforcement on the border.

More and more, Americans say the issue will factor heavily into their 2020 decision, meaning if the president doubles down, he could in fact accelerate his own decline in popularity.

But, of course, approvals and disapprovals do not always correlate to actual votes. People pull levers in the ballot box for a whole host of reasons, and elections are not won or lost on national numbers. Though he may be underwater on immigration across the board, Republicans have his back -- 86% say they support him as he maintains his hardline.

The TIP with Briana Stewart

While Beto O’Rourke’s campaign motto may be "go everywhere, listen to everyone," he has been undoubtedly fine-tuning his message to black voters in recent weeks, specifically aiming to galvanize black women ahead of 2020. During his keynote address at the 25th annual Essence Festival this past weekend, the Democratic presidential candidate highlighted the political voting power of African American women, calling them the "heart and soul of the Democratic Party."

Amid his stubbornly low national poll numbers, O’Rourke’s increased African American outreach may be crucial for him to regain traction in the presidential election. His appeal to black women may in fact be an intentional effort to put them at the center of his campaign, a strategy that worked well during his Senate race. "Here I am with the leaders of the country. Literally, African American women have produced every major electoral victory for the Democratic Party and it’s not just the people they have put in office, it’s the policies that follow," O’Rourke told ABC News in a one-on-one interview backstage following his keynote address.

Over the last three months, O’Rourke has visited less-traveled historically black communities, hosting roundtables often led by black female voices on the issues of criminal justice reform, climate change and voter suppression in communities like Atlanta, the 9th Ward of New Orleans and the Gullah Geechee Nation in Beaufort, South Carolina -- infusing what he learns about the issues plaguing the black communities into his larger campaign message.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks, who breaks down the latest polling on President Donald Trump's approval rating and how it could play out on the campaign trail. We also examine former Vice President Joe Biden’s apology for citing segregationist senators he once worked with as an example of his ability to work with others.


  • President Donald Trump participates in a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors to Washington, D.C., at 11:30 a.m. Then he has lunch with the Vice President Mike Pence at 12:45 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. he delivers remarks on America’s environmental leadership. To end the evening, President Trump attends a dinner hosted by the secretary of the treasury in honor of the Amir of the State of Qatar at 7:20 p.m.
  • Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang will appear on ABC's "The View" at 11 a.m.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro travels to Iowa to host a meet-and-greet event at Bridge Coffeehouse at 8:30 a.m. (CST). He will also tour communities impacted by flooding along the Missouri River, in Tabor and Bartlett, at 11 a.m. (CST)
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, kicks off his first visit to Tennessee with a tour of Second Harvest Foodbank in Nashville at 9 a.m. (CST) and then an immigration roundtable at 12:30 p.m. (CST). Both events are closed to the public.
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hosts meet-and-greet events at Adams Street Espresso in Creston at 9:30 a.m. (CST), at Top Hat Coffee and Entertainment in Ottumwa at 1 p.m. (CST) and with the Northwest Des Moines Democrats 6 p.m. (CST).
  • Vice President Mike Pence speaks about Iran at the Christians United for Israel's annual summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington at 11 a.m. and joins the president for lunch at the White House at 12:45 p.m.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., continues campaigning in New Hampshire to participate in the state's Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Round Table at the University of New Hampshire Law School at 10:30 a.m., then a New Hampshire Women’s Caucus Happy Hour at Boards & Brews at 4 p.m.
  • Nevada Democrats will release the details of the state party's 2020 virtual caucus option -- a first -- for any registered Democrats in Nevada who cannot participate in person on Caucus Day. The call will take place at 11 a.m. (PST)
  • Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, visits New Hampshire for a meet-and-greet event in Laconia at 12 p.m., then attends a New Hampshire Stonewall Democrats and Somersworth Democrats event to discuss issues that affect the LGBTQ community at 4 p.m. at in Somersworth.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., participates in a Horry County Town Hall at 12:30 p.m. at Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., will hold a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Dublin, California, at 1 p.m. (PST)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. will host a town hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire Town House at 4:15 p.m.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will speak at the "All Hands on Deck" climate change discussion at The Old Church in Portland, Oregon at 7 p.m.
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    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.