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Biden ramps up his campaign

Daily Point

Biden appeals to the average Joe

Former Vice President Joe Biden spent more than $400,000 on Facebook ads last week, a period that included his online presidential campaign announcement.

Some of those ads, reviewed in Facebook’s political ad archive, set a mood for the Biden campaign’s appeal to the average Joe. There are the folksy phrases like “Put your money on Joe” and “As my father used to say, it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get up.”

One ad says Biden is the “best candidate to take on Donald Trump and restore the soul of the nation.”

Another says, “Our country is being put to the test, but I've never been more optimistic about America.”

Generally, the tone is upbeat: Biden pointing to a crowd with a wry smile on his face, or grinning with his arm around an amused President Barack Obama. There is little of the fire and brimstone that appears in the ads of  Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders -- nothing much so far about incarceration rates or the billionaire class.

This was a real contrast with Biden’s launch rally in Pennsylvania on Monday, where the political veteran struck a populist note, saying that the country wasn’t built by “CEOs and hedge-fund managers,” and noted that “the stock market is roaring, but you don’t feel it.” (He did have plenty of folksy elements, immediately taking off his suit jacket and reminding people about his “middle-class Joe” nickname.)

In the adverse, Biden may have had another goal: encouraging a wide swath of people to donate money.

There was a large cohort of pleas for first-day fundraising, the early metric used to compare contenders.

Biden’s campaign announced Friday that it had raised more than $6 million over that period, surpassing his opponents. But the sum wasn’t entirely made up of small donors, another metric that has become important in the Democratic primary.

Indeed, Biden closed out his opening day as a 2020 candidate with a fundraiser at the home of a Comcast executive.

Criticism from Sanders and Warren, who have focused on low-dollar donors, soon followed.

 - Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Thinking outside the box

Imagine sleeping just a few floors away from where you work.

Now, that concept might not be only for those who work from a home office.

Uniondale-based RXR Realty announced Monday a new partnership with Airbnb, with plans to convert some parts of its commercial properties into hospitality suites that would be marketed on the Airbnb platform.

And while RXR is starting with its Manhattan headquarters at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, RXR chief executive Scott Rechler told The Point that he isn’t limiting his thinking to office towers in the city, and sees clear links between what he’s doing there and his plans for the Nassau Hub.

Rechler said he’s starting with converting 10 floors of 75 Rockefeller Plaza into suite-style units, “bringing an Airbnb home to a more luxurious level.” As the units are established, they’ll be marketed to those who work for companies in the buildings, and to other guests, but they’ll remain hotel-style units, and will only be open to those who would use them for 30 days or less. They’ll include amenities similar to hotels, but with personalized experiences, like filling a specific unit’s refrigerator with the items customers request.

Rechler said he expects the first units to open a year from now. That gives him plenty of time to work out the kinks before bringing Airbnb hospitality units to the Hub, or his other properties across Long Island.

Rechler’s plans come as Marriott International gets ready to launch its home-rental business -- an effort to compete with Airbnb, according to a report Monday in The Wall Street Journal. It’s unclear whether Marriott will use its own hotel facilities, or individuals’ homes and apartments, like Airbnb does now.

But there’s a possibility that the Hub and its surroundings could become an epicenter for how the new strategies from Marriott and RXR will play out, given the proximity of the Long Island Marriott, RXR Plaza, and Rechler’s Hub development.

- Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point


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Quick Points


  • The toll from Saturday’s synagogue shooting in Poway, California: 1 dead, 3 injured, millions shocked and grieving, again.
  • Over the weekend, National Rifle Association president Oliver North resigned in a power struggle with chief executive Wayne LaPierre, while New York Attorney General Letitia James sent subpoenas to the NRA and related entities as she opened a probe into the group’s tax-exempt status. Pop quiz: Which of those two will be more consequential?
  • Attorney General William Barr is threatening to skip a scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing over plans to permit extended questioning of Barr by committee counsel. Given the Democratic response to his misleading Mueller report rollout, surely he cannot be surprised about this plan. 
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren is selling a 2020 presidential campaign T-shirt with the slogan, “Warren’s got a plan for that.” And it’s true, Warren does have a plan for virtually everything — except, apparently, how to win the hearts of Democratic voters.
  • With President Donald Trump set to meet Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Tuesday to discuss an infrastructure plan, new reporting suggests that Trump has all along wanted to spend almost $2 trillion, more than what’s favored by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and far more than the most recent GOP proposal. Hey, who’s the boss anyway?
  • Former GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, who resigned his seat in 2014 and pleaded guilty to tax evasion, is attacking his party’s likely choice to take back his Staten Island-based seat in 2020, saying Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis can’t win. Umm, Mike, you couldn’t even win the party primary last year.
  • A presidential campaign speech Sunday by Sen. Cory Booker was interrupted by a car crash outside the venue. Now that’s a metaphor.

 - Michael Dobie @mwdobie


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