The TAKE with Rick Klein
America’s longest war is now in the midst of the longest and perhaps most tragic imaginable ending — a catastrophic, chaotic and deadly end stage that continues even while U.S. forces are expecting more terrorist attacks.
They are possibilities Biden confronted late Thursday, in promising “force and precision” to retaliate against those responsible for the deaths of 13 American troops: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”
An early glimpse emerges in public-opinion polling, where Biden’s standing has been steadier than any modern president’s until about 10 days ago. For the first time in his presidency, Biden’s approval and disapproval ratings are just about even; the lines have converged at 47% in FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregation.
For all that, the fallout could be greater still. Biden said Thursday that “what America says matters,” and that makes the point: It’s hard to cast this moment as delivering on the U.S. commitment to Afghans or to Americans who have long shouldered this war’s costs.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
Throughout the troop withdrawal mission in Afghanistan, Biden has gotten fierce blowback from Republicans. With an eye toward the midterms and an effort to win back both chambers of Congress there will surely be Republicans who aim to make Afghanistan a voting issue.
“Joe Biden has blood on his hands,” tweeted Rep. Elise Stefanik, the GOP House conference chair. “This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden’s weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.”
Though the casualties of the operation, including the 13 U.S. service members who were killed, are devastating and the images of carnage in Kabul have gripped the nation — American attention spans can be short. There is more than a year until voters head to the polls. If the evacuation missions wrap up next week, it is unlikely to be at the top of mind as Americans cast their ballots. Additionally, when voters make their selections in 2022, it’s likely to be matters closer to home that weigh most heavily in their decisions.
The TIP with Quinn Scanlan
The Republican Party of Virginia filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to disqualify Terry McAuliffe from the general election ballot, alleging his pre-primary statement of candidacy should have been rejected because the Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s signature was missing from the form, according to the form provided by the party and verified by the Department of Elections.
As it has repeatedly done to his opponent, McAuliffe’s campaign fired back by tying the commonwealth’s Republican Party to the former president.
“Our campaign submitted the required paperwork. This is nothing more than a desperate Trumpian move by the Virginia GOP to deprive voters of a choice in this election because Terry is consistently leading in the polls,” a campaign spokesperson said.
Professor Michael Gilbert, the vice dean of the University of Virginia School of Law, told ABC News he doubted the lawsuit would succeed because “the violation is harmless, and the remedy sought — removing McAuliffe from the general election ballot in November — is extreme.”
McAuliffe’s form also lacks a phone number, but the Virginia GOP’s lawsuit doesn’t take issue with that missing detail.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Friday morning’s special episode features ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell, who reported from the site of the explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, just hours prior. Then, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz and Mick Mulroy, former deputy assistant secretary of defense and ABC News analyst, provide analysis on where the U.S. withdrawal goes from here. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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