The Note: Biden’s bid for bipartisanship faces lame-duck tests

Biden seems to be focusing more on the urgencies of the moment than Trump.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

That's in part because the president-elect seems to be focusing more on the urgencies of the moment than the current president.

With the COVID-19 crisis worsening, a government shutdown looming and the election now a full month in the past, Trump's focus remains on spreading conspiracy theories about a losing campaign.

Biden, meanwhile, is urging a relief bill along in Congress -- directly and with members of Congress in the lame duck, knowing he will be pushing more as president soon. Democratic leadership is now backing a bill that began as a bipartisan proposal -- a product backed by moderates and initially given little chance of taking hold.

Biden's influence is already being felt, if only for a stylistic break that matters greatly for substance. Biden thinks Congress can still work and banked his campaign on that calculation despite all the evidence Washington churns out to the contrary.

"There are issues where they're not going to agree and they will not be able to find common ground, but he also believes that you've got to try," longtime Biden adviser Anita Dunn said on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. "You have to try and the American people need to see that you have tried. And that is his intention and he thinks he can do it."

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

As members of Congress seem increasingly eager to finish up a COVID-19 relief deal, the president is diverting attention back toward another bill they had hoped was much further along.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday doubled down on Trump's threat to veto the annual defense policy bill if it does not include language removing legal protections for social media companies -- something both Democrats and most Republicans consider completely unrelated to the underlying package.

So far, even Republicans seem to not be budging on this. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., has told reporters that bill will not include language repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as the president has requested and that he has told the president as much.

The National Defense Authorization Act has been passed by Congress and signed into law by presidents every year since 1961. Both the House and the Senate passed their own massive funding bills this summer and the final text is headed to both chambers for certain approval.

The bills include a 3% pay raise for troops as well as new housing provisions for men and women in uniform and additional legal assistance for veterans.

The TIP with Will Steakin

The president and his allies' ongoing efforts to undermine the election results continue to complicate Republicans' chances in next month's critical Senate runoff in Georgia, jeopardizing the party's ability to hold on to the Senate ahead of Biden moving into the White House.

The Republican National Committee officially announced Tuesday that the president will head to Georgia this weekend for his first rally since losing reelection to stump for incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing crucial runoff elections. But Trump rallying to get Republicans out to vote in Georgia will come as he simultaneously works to sow distrust in the election results and argues the state's election was rigged.

This conundrum for Republicans reached new heights Tuesday when at a "Stop the Steal" rally in the Peach State, pro-Trump lawyers Lin Wood and Sidney Powell urged Georgians to boycott the crucial runoff elections next month: "They have not earned your vote," Wood said of Loeffler and Perdue. "Don't you give it to them. Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election."

Woods' comments come as 18 former Republican elected officials and leaders have urged the party in a letter to focus on coming runoffs, writing, "We say today, without equivocation, that without every vote cast for President Trump and all our Republican candidates on November 3 also being cast in the U.S. Senate runoffs, the trajectory of our State and Nation will be irreparably altered on January 5th."


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News' Anne Flaherty, who examines shifting COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid dire new warnings from the Trump administration. Washington, D.C., public school teacher Fatima Toor tells us why students are falling behind as remote learning continues. And ABC News Transportation correspondent Gio Benitez tells us about his trip on one of the first 737 MAX flights since being put back in the skies.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Anita Dunn, the senior adviser for President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, discusses what it's like to plan an inauguration during a global pandemic, as well as previewing how he plans to work across the aisle once in office and what went into the decision to name a historic all-female communications team.


  • President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz at 11:30 a.m. in the Oval Office.
  • Vice President Mike Pence travels to Memphis, Tennessee, and leads a roundtable discussion on vaccine distribution at 1:25 p.m. CST
  • Rep.-elect Kwanza Hall, who will finish the term of late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, will be sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 12:15 p.m.
  • Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight will put on a virtual concert called "Rock the Runoff Virtual," hosted by Kerry Washington and featuring Ludacris, Justin Timberlake and more at 9 p.m.
  • President-elect Joe Biden will receive the President's Daily Brief and later meet with transition advisers.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the President's Daily Brief and later meet with transition advisers.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.