'This is a delicate time for the Biden campaign': Rick Klein

The Powerhouse Roundtable breaks down the latest on the White House's coronavirus response on "This Week."
9:54 | 05/03/20

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Transcript for 'This is a delicate time for the Biden campaign': Rick Klein
Our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, Cecilia Vega. Chief political analyst Matthew dowd and political director Rick Klein, with the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden, in that interview on Friday morning, he denied the allegations but bungled the idea of document search, what happens with this going forward? You heard Ronna Mcdaniel. This is a delicate time for the Biden campaign. Any documentation about Tara reade's allegation. Some Progressive groups, some women's organizations saying we want access to those full records at the university of Delaware. As Tom Perez said, Democrats feel like that's a red herring, a trap they have bad memories of 2016. And Hillary's e-mails. Joe Biden has to not just deny these allegations but show that he understands the right of Tara reade and other women to come forward. That he's being transparent. Of course, it's a very sensitive time in the party. Yes, he's got to nomination but he doesn't have party unity. Technically he doesn't have the that nomination yet. Matt, president trump's campaign said there's a double standard here, the Biden and other Democrats said that during the justice Kavanaugh's hearing the women should be believed, do they have a point? Are Democrats not holding themselves to standards they set? I'm amazed that the trump campaign and the Republicans are talking about a double standard in this. You would think that the Republicans and the president, who has various, up to 20 allegations related to this, would want to engage on this topic, it's a little bit like the Houston Astros accusing someone else of cheating in baseball. There's a point to degree to some people. I thought the vice president handled this well, a little bit late but well on Friday, he gave credibility and he gave some space for Tara reade. By the way, it's not true. I'll find out if there was anything that was ever filed on this. I would be shocked if the president wants to talk about moral fitness or affairs come this fall. I'd be shocked if that's what he wants to talk about. And Cecilia, the president has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. He has also defended the vice president. He'd tell the vice president to go out and fight it. Why not go all-in defending Tara reade like he did with the Clinton accusers during the 2016 campaign? He's in a really tough spot here, Martha, there's no way around this. You saw the strategy on how they're going to attack this with Ronna Mcdaniel with you a few moments ago. They'll focus on hypocrisy, by Biden and the Democrats. Particularly how it relates to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. One source puts it like that, when Biden gets accused of something like this, the automatic response is to flip it back on the accusations against president trump. They really feel like this is something that Joe Biden needs to stand on his own footing and address these allegations. The hope behind the scenes you know what you get with president trump, these accusations against him are longstanding, there's no surprise there and they say, you know, essentially when you surprise the electorate that's when you get into problems. I don't think you're going to see them take this on as a moral issue as you are so much as a hypocrisy issue. And Mary, the same week those accusations took center stage he announced his vice president vetting committee. He pledged to pick a woman as a running mate. How difficult will this be for that running mate? This has been interesting to watch play out. While Joe Biden has remain silent on these accusations for weeks, you had many of his female supporters, many prominent democratic supporters speaking out for him. Including many of the women auditioning to be his vice president, Stacey Abrams, kamala Harris and Amy klobuchar. They came out and spoke up for Joe Biden. It puts him in a tricky position. The democratic party has set a really high bar here. You see all of these women coming out and supporting Joe Biden, saying, though, assisting women have to be heard, they have to be heard respectively. Yet, you have Biden and his campaign denying that this incident ever occurred. They'll have to continue to try and navigate this whoever he picks to his vice president, because from your interview this morning, the Republicans aren't going to drop this issue. Very, very clear. Mary, I want to talk to you a bit more generally about the election coming up. President trump says he wants to go out and hold these massive rallies, what do you see going forward, if he does it, do Biden have to do it? Yeah, I think you're likely to see a real split here. The president is clear, he's eager to get back out, eager to get things back to normal and try to change the subject a little bit. We know he'll be in Arizona this week. He's eyeing possibly a visit to Ohio, battleground states. The president's campaign is considering, you know, holding some sort of campaign events in states they consider to be of lower risk. With appreciate social distancing. The president no surprise here says he doesn't like the optics of that. He wants those massive rallies. He wants his supporters elbow to elbow. Those packed arenas don't seem realistic. On the other hand the president trying to get back out there on the trail, you're likely to see Democrats being far more cautious. Biden continuing to work the virtual town halls. We just simply don't know what this campaign is going to look like. The only thing, Martha, that seems clear is the state of the economy and the president's handling of this is sure to define this election. Sure is. And Cecilia, we didn't see those daily coronavirus task force briefings with the president. We did see his press secretary give a briefing for the first time and we know he was at camp David this weekend, coming back today, what is his strategy here? What is he thinking about? Well, and I'm told that the president was pretty happy with the new press secretary's performance. There's a chief shift happening. It was happening behind the scenes. This day-to-day focus on addressing the handling of the pandemic to addressing the reopening of the economy and Mary just said it, that's exactly where the president's team wants the focus to be, that's what they're banking on for a re-election. Their hope for a re-election in November. You saw the president's declining polls, though, as it related to those briefings, and we know for a fact that he was outraged behind the scenes over those. Republicans have been frustrated by his performance in those briefings, thinking they were doing more harm than good to no surprise there was a scaling back there. But really it's going to be about the focus on this reopening of the country, we know that the president is in camp David this weekend focusing on that and meetings with staffers, people close to him, we're going to also be expecting more appearances by the president's economics team in the coming days and weeks, fewer from the health experts like Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, Martha. How does he talk about the economy when so many people are unemployed and there's such a crisis? That's the big problem he has. The economy pre-coronavirus in January and February the president's job approval was 43%, that put him in a very dicey situation even in a great economy. For his re-election effort. I think this election is fundamentally not going to be about style, it's going to be about substance, it's going to be about two things as Cecilia said, how did you handle this crisis and what is going to go in this economy? If you switch over in the economy and not talk about the competency of the virus in this is a fool's errand in all of this. Rick, we're also seeing the president and his campaign hone in on China, obviously talked with secretary Pompeo about that, trump repeatedly blaming China for the spread of the virus, so, they're also taking out adds against Joe Biden saying he was soft on communist China, will this really resonate with people? People close to president believe this is a key part of his messaging against Joe Biden. They don't have the president's buy-in for this messaging. They have the comments that the president continued to make, praising China along the way. In part because he recognizes the importance of China in an economic recovery. You don't see consensus inside trump world about how to cast Joe Biden as a candidate. A lot of competing messages. We have heard more about this strategy than we have the actual messaging. We haven't seen that big ad buy yet. To tie Joe Biden to China and of course, it's problematic piece of messaging from the start. We'll have to see how the white house handles this and how the trump campaign handles this and the Bidens campaign is going to have a lot to say. It's going to be an election year like no other. Thank you for joining us this morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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