The Note: Warren puts Biden on warning on eve of next debate

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has the front-running candidate on notice.

September 11, 2019, 6:13 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It won't be a debate like Sen. Elizabeth Warren remembers from high school, and it may not be the time or place for the type of throwdown the Democratic Party may get eventually.

But until then, Warren has put the front-running candidate on notice. She has made clear that among her many campaign plans is one to draw contrasts with former Vice President Joe Biden -- something she's been doing for decades -- this time with higher stakes.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Warren speaks onstage at the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum, June 1, 2019, in San Francisco, Calif.| Joe Biden addresses a crowd, May 4, 2019, in Columbia, S.C.
Elizabeth Warren speaks onstage at the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum, June 1, 2019, in San Francisco, Calif.| Joe Biden addresses a crowd, May 4, 2019, in Columbia, S.C.
Miikka Skaffari|Sean Rayford/Getty Images, FILE

"I'm someone who will fight for your family," Warren said while campaigning in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night. "I'm not here to fight for the rich and the powerful. I'm here to fight for the rest of America."

Team Biden is saying their candidate is ready for what may come his way.

"The more expensive a plan is doesn't make it more progressive," a senior Biden adviser told ABC News' Molly Nagle and John Verhovek.

Warren got to Texas earlier than many of her rivals this week, in part to emphasize her ties to Houston, where she lived decades ago.

The Texas backdrop is a potentially meaningful one -- for the candidates with ties to the state, and with those who see a legitimate play for its future.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Across the field, Democratic presidential candidates are telegraphing their plans and preparations for Thursday's debate on ABC.

When talking to reporters on Tuesday, Sen. Cory Booker suggested he was zeroing in on a two-pronged approach that included both drawing "distinctions" between his plans and others' -- as well as showing himself as leader who can "heal."

PHOTO: Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks during a presidential forum hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Sept. 10, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks during a presidential forum hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Sept. 10, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

"I don't think you can deal with the climate crisis without putting a price on carbon; there are some people in this race, who disagree with me. I don't think you can have a comprehensive bold strategy to deal with gun safety if you don't have gun licensing, for example. So these distinctions matter," he said, hinting a hesitation to cede any ground in this policy-plum primary.

Sen. Kamala Harris' team, on the other hand, said she plans to look past some of the others on stage.

"Kamala will take on Donald Trump directly and will focus on bringing the country together by defeating him," her team said in a statement.

In the first round of debates, Harris tried to temper what she called a "food fight" between her fellow Democrats, but also made headlines by delivering some of the biggest attack lines.

The TIP with Will Steakin

With the list of Republican challengers against the president growing, the small field of long-shot candidates is set to face-off in their own primary debate later this month -- sans Trump. Libertarian-leaning former Gov. Bill Weld, former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh and conservative former Gov. Mark Sanford will square-off in a primary debate hosted by Business Insider in late September. Trump did not respond to an invite from the online news outlet.

"Pointless," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told ABC News in a one-word response to the debate announcement -- a tactic that's emerged as a trend for how the president's re-election team is handling news around the small list of long-shot GOP challengers.

PHOTO: Joe Walsh, left, Mark Sanford and Bill Weld.
Joe Walsh, left, Mark Sanford and Bill Weld.
Getty Images|AP|Getty Images, FILE

When Walsh announced his run on ABC's "This Week," the Trump campaign said, "Whatever." In response to Sanford's announcement on Sunday, the campaign said it was "irrelevant." Weld, the first Republican to declare his candidacy, hasn't earned a single-word dig from the Trump campaign. The president, however, has been more generous with his words -- dubbing his challengers the "Three Stooges" and dismissing their runs as a "publicity stunt."

"I'm not looking to give them any credibility," Trump said Monday.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who explains the dismissal of John Bolton from the Trump administration and what it means going forward. Then, ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks tells us how the rising number of uninsured Americans is playing out on the campaign trail.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics " podcast. ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl are in Houston and preview Thursday's Democratic debate, hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision.


  • ABC's "Nightline" kicks off "The Contenders" series, putting a spotlight on some of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates before their political ambitions -- interviewing friends, family, former classmates, faculty and others who knew the candidates during their formative years. On Wednesday: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • President Donald Trump observes a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn for the National Day of Service and Remembrance at 8:40 a.m. Then Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford deliver remarks at an observance ceremony at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at 9:30 a.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the Flight 93 National Memorial Ceremony in Pennsylvania at 10:30 a.m.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and members of Congress hold a campus-wide moment of silence to observe the National Day of Service and Remembrance on the House's East front steps of the U.S. Capitol at 8:46 a.m.
  • Tom Steyer volunteers at the Day of Hope in Columbia, South Carolina, at 2 p.m. He then has a meet-and-greet event with Vision Walkers at 5 p.m. Later, he has a meet-and-greet event with African American Entrepreneurs, hosted by Columbia Mayor Pro-Tem Tameika Isaac Devine, at 7 p.m.
  • Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., has back-to-back meetings with Democrats in Barrington, Nottingham and Weare, New Hampshire, starting at 6:30 p.m.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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