POLITICO Playbook: McAuliffe and Youngkin put their cards on the table


10/24/2021 11:33 AM EDT

Updated 10/24/2021 11:48 AM EDT

HOW YOU KNOW IT’S SERIOUS — Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER and Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) are meeting with President JOE BIDEN today at his home in Delaware as the parties seek to clinch a deal on Biden’s agenda, our colleagues Burgess Everett, Heather Caygle and Marianne LeVine report. More on the state of play here

SPEAKEASY — “In the era of modern polling, only DONALD J. TRUMP had a lower approval rating at this early stage of his term,” NYT’s Nate Cohn writes on Biden’s poll numbers.

OH YOU FANCY, HUH? — On the first night of early voting in the New York City mayoral race, Republican nominee CURTIS SLIWA tried to gatecrash the private members-only club Zero Bond in Soho around 9 p.m., looking for ERIC ADAMS, his Democratic opponent and a regular at the known billionaire hangout, as we reported on Friday.

On Saturday, Sliwa — sporting his trademark red beret — tried to enter the club while holding a carton of milk (or, more precisely, soy milk) with Adams’ face on it, like a missing kid in the 1980s. Two aides filming with a cell phone and ring light trailed behind, and a club employee stationed at the door turned them all away.

Unfortunately for Sliwa, he had the wrong night. Adams was at the club on Friday with RONN TOROSSIAN, who has ties to Trump, and was introduced to billionaire financier JOHN PAULSON. Adams also spoke with PAOLO ZAMPOLLI, another close friend of the Trumps, at the club.

This is all a part of Sliwa’s frequent refrain on the campaign trail that Adams is too fancy. “These are the uber-wealthy, these are the elites,” Sliwa told Playbook about the crowd inside the club he was rejected from. “That’s why I gave him the nickname ‘Elite Eric.’ It doesn’t fit the narrative that he set.”

As for Adams, his team told Playbook that “Curtis is focused on stunts instead of the struggling — just one more reason he’s unfit to be mayor.”

BACK WHERE THEY STARTED — Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s restrictive new voting laws earlier this year, but it looks like the state will still reap the economic benefits of a major sporting event. That’s thanks to the Braves’ victory over the L.A. Dodgers last night: They’re in the World Series, where they’ll face the Houston Astros. That’s right, Georgia and Texas — two states with restrictive voting-rights laws — will be hosting MLB’s championship.

ACTUALLY TALENTED? — HUNTER BIDEN’s solo exhibition “The Journey Home” debuted in Soho at the Georges Berges Gallery on Saturday, and the most shocking thing about it — besides the $75K to $500K price point — is that Biden’s art is actually not bad. The New York Post managed to nab photos through the gallery’s windows. (For an up-close look, viewings are by appointment only.)

DOWN TO THE WIRE IN VIRGINIA — With 10 days left until Election Day and the gubernatorial race as tight as ever, TERRY MCAULIFFE and GLENN YOUNGKIN both staged major rallies Saturday in the pivotal Richmond region (ICYMI, here’s the backstory on the battleground):

— For McAuliffe: Former President BARACK OBAMA delivered a fiery speech on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to pump up Dem enthusiasm, Zach Montellaro reports from Richmond. Obama also took some swipes at Youngkin while avoiding mentioning him by name. Highlights:

  • On Youngkin and Trump: “You can’t run ads telling me you’re a regular ol’ hoops-playing, dish-washing, fleece-wearing guy, but quietly cultivate support from those who seek to tear down our democracy.” Related reading: “Fear-of-Trump factor tested in Virginia gubernatorial race,” by WaPo’s Dan Balz
  • On fatigue among Dems: “I know a lot of people are tired of politics right now. We don’t have time to be tired. What is required is sustained effort.”

— For Youngkin: The GOP candidate capped off the opening day of a statewide bus tour with a rally in Henrico County on Saturday night. Speaking before a sprawling and enthusiastic crowd, Youngkin stayed on message, talking about taxes and education reform — and made two promises about what he’d do on day one as governor:

  • On taxes: “On Day One, we’re going to eliminate the grocery tax,” Youngkin said. Video at WRIC
  • On critical race theory: “Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING implored us to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin. And therefore, on day one, I will ban critical race theory in our schools.” More from Newsweek

But even as Youngkin stayed on message, his supporters veered into theatrics perhaps less likely to win over swing voters in the Richmond suburbs:

  • NBC’s Henry Gomez: “As we wait for Youngkin to take the stage, a brief round of ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ chants ring out.” (The phrase, if you’re unfamiliar, is a placeholder for saying “F*** Joe Biden.”)

— Speaking of Virginia’s suburbs, Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella have a front-page story in this morning’s WaPo about the battle for the state legislature, which will be determined by a “handful” of seats — “almost all of them in suburban districts that could swing either way.”

Good Sunday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

TOP SUNDAY READ — Democrats are considering ditching the Medicare expansion and paid leave proposals from the reconciliation package, report Heather Caygle, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Eleanor Mueller and Marianne LeVine, citing a half-dozen sources close to the discussions. (FWIW, the White House denies this.)

A key point: “Speaker NANCY PELOSI and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they want a deal by the end of this week, though Manchin and the White House still don’t see eye to eye on a topline number for the bill; Manchin has consistently said he supports $1.5 trillion. Paid leave and Medicare expansion may not fit in a package that conforms to Manchin’s preferred price tag.”


Sen. ANGUS KING (I-Maine) on the filibuster, on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “I’m not really ready to say ‘Let’s get rid of it altogether,’ because I…


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