Biden campaign expects GOP candidates to ‘out-MAGA each other’ at debate

The Biden campaign plans to highlight what it’s calling an “extreme MAGA blueprint” by GOP candidates during the first Republican presidential debate, according to a memo first shared with NBC News.

The memo, written by campaign communications director Michael Tyler, lays out five criticisms of the GOP field, including Republicans’ views on cutting Social Security and Medicare, lowering taxes for the rich, banning abortion, protecting the gun lobby and undermining democracy, which focuses on election deniers.

“The 2024 Republicans are focusing on litigating the benefits of slavery, which books they want to ban from schools, and a made-up war on ‘woke’ that they themselves can’t even define,” the memo said. “That’s a race for the MAGA base, not a pathway to winning a general election in 2024.”

The campaign expects the candidates to try to “out-MAGA each other” on the debate stage Wednesday night in Milwaukee, according to the memo.

The memo lays out attacks of not just former President Donald Trump but also presidential contenders like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

During the debate, “the American people will see a stage full of people espousing a losing vision they disagree with, in contrast to a president who stands with them and fights for their families,” the memo said.

Nine GOP presidential candidates, including Trump, appear to have met the Republican National Committee’s fundraising and polling requirements to qualify for the debate.

Trump, however, plans to skip the first GOP debate, according to two sources familiar with his thinking. Instead, he is seeking a sit-down interview with Tucker Carlson to air that evening as counter-programming.

The Biden campaign memo refers to candidates’ views on abortion as “wildly unpopular, extreme, and out of step with the American people as it is harmful.”

Republicans overall have struggled to coalesce behind a unified position on the issue. Trump has touted that he “killed” Roe v. Wade,” but an NBC News poll from June found that 61% of registered voters disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned the landmark ruling last year.

The memo also attacks GOP candidates for supporting “extreme plans to end Social Security and Medicare as we know them.” Pence this year said that cuts to Medicare and Social Security should be “on the table for the long term.”

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