The Note: Rivals test Biden with indirect shots

The third debate may not have changed the dynamics of the race.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The race to challenge Joe Biden is about how to beat the former vice president without looking like you’re doing it directly.

Several candidates have been consistently suggesting that Biden can’t be trusted on matters involving race. Several others are challenging his progressive credentials and whether he is prepared to go big enough to meet the moment.

And with several Democratic candidates presenting themselves as agents of generational change, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Sen. Cory Booker are among those hinting that Biden is less than fully capable of being the party’s standard-bearer.

The aftermath of Sen. Kamala Harris’ first debate attack on Biden left a range of campaigns convinced that going after a still-popular former vice president directly comes with risks. Castro’s go at Biden at last week’s debate on ABC may have cost him an endorsement from a home-state congressman who has now switched his allegiance to Biden.

The third debate may not have changed the dynamics of the race. But there were parts of it – including Biden’s late answer on the topic of race relations – that could bring more scrutiny to the front-runner, even if his rivals are a bit hesitant to go there head-on.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

There was a lot of impeachment buzz this weekend that had nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

"Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., tweeted about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing."

Republicans fended off a newly reported allegation Sunday in The New York Times of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh from his college days. Kavanaugh declined to comment about the new reporting, pointing to previous denials, but Trump rushed to his defense on Twitter.

While Warren was one of the first Democratic presidential candidates to call for Trump to be impeached, she was not alone calling for congressional action against the Justice. Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., along with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro all talked impeachment. They said they thought Kavanaugh lied to Congress.

Former Vice President Joe Biden wrote, "We must follow the evidence to wherever it leads. Doing this the right way is critically important in getting the truth and restoring the American people’s faith in their government."

By speaking out on the issue, the slate of presidential candidates likely ensured that Democratically controlled congressional committees will at least call for documents and begin some investigative work. The most immediate question Democrats are likely to pose: whether anyone from the administration in any way pressured or hindered the FBI when it was looking into older allegations against Kavanaugh.

The TIP with Will Steakin

The 2020 general election may still be over a year out, but it looks like the president’s campaign schedule is about to see a bump -- with rallies coming more frequently than the nearly one-every-two-week schedule the team mostly stuck to over the summer, a campaign official tells ABC News. He rallied last week in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Monday night is headlining another in New Mexico. With the increased travel for the president and his campaign, the team is talking about adding a separate airplane to accommodate the increased schedule for staff, a campaign official told ABC News.

The president used his private aircraft throughout his 2016 run, informally called "Trump Force One."

And after rolling out two coalitions over the summer, "Latinos for Trump" and "Women for Trump," the campaign is now gearing up to launch more this fall -- including one aimed at reaching out to black voters as well as a young voter engagement operation.

The Trump campaign is quick to caution that even though events may pick up, they’re on a different schedule than their Democratic opponents who are currently embroiled in a crowded primary. But look for the president's team to continue to use its massive stash of cash to play around in states the president lost in 2016, like New Mexico. Oregon is another state where the team sees an opportunity -- so much so that in late August, a group of Trump campaign and RNC staff traveled to the Beaver State and informed the state party that they were inching closer to adding staff on the ground in the state that Hillary Clinton won by over 10 points in 2016.



  • President Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to New York Yankees Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera at 2 p.m., holds a working visit with the Crown Prince of Bahrain at 3 p.m., and hosts a rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, at 9 p.m. ET.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., campaigns in New York.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in South Carolina.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigns in South Carolina.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, campaigns in South Carolina.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, campaigns in Iowa.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, campaigns in South Carolina.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., campaigns in New York.
  • Andrew Yang campaigns in Massachusetts.
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