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Tamara Keith and Lisa Lerer on Biden-Harris performance abroad, GOP midterm strategy

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Lisa Lerer, The New York Times:

Well, I think the jury’s still a little bit out, because the big, most sort of stressful part of this trip is going to be his meeting with Putin on Wednesday.

Republicans I’m talking to, strategists already say that they’re thinking of casting President Biden as weak. They think — see that as a strategy that could work for them in the midterm elections. So, if this meeting with Putin doesn’t go well, he doesn’t show strength, it’s going to play right into the sort of Republican political tactics in some ways.

And I do think a failure there could make him have a little bit more juice in these negotiations over the infrastructure bill back here that are going on in Congress. Of course, even if that summit with Putin is a great success, those negotiations are really hard. Not only does he have to win over 10 Senate Republicans, which is (AUDIO GAP) number, honestly.

He also needs to keep his left flank, who would like to see a much bigger bill, one that includes things like climate change and much more spending, on board. And it’s just a really delicate line to walk.

And I think, like, a failure abroad would certainly hurt that ability. I’m not sure a success, given how hard those negotiations are, helps him all that much.

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