Nov 5, 2020
Biden Campaign Election Protection Briefing Transcript November 5
Jen O’Malley Dillon and Bob Bauer of the Biden campaign held a briefing on November 5 to address election protection. Jen O’Malley Dillon said: “Our data shows that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States.” Read the transcript of the updates here.
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Jen O’Malley Dillon: (01:28)
Good morning, everyone. It’s good to be with you today. This is Jen O’Malley Dillon, Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign manager, and I’m joined with Bob Bauer, our senior advisor on our campaign. Hopefully folks had a chance to get a little bit more sleep last night. I certainly did since the last time I’ve spoken to all of you. Our goal for today is to give you an update on how we think things are going in the race and where we’re headed. Let me be very clear. Our data shows that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States and that the counting is happening now in these states and they are moving to us as we see the counting throughout this morning, yesterday, and into today, that that counting is going to continue to show our path to victory.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (02:12)
Joe Biden now has won more votes than any presidential candidate in history and we’re still counting. Over 140 million votes have been counted so far, with more than 72 million of those votes going to vice President Biden. The vice president has won more than 50% of the popular vote, historic numbers. Voters have turned out in record numbers for the vice president, and because of that and because he sees the same data we do and knows he is losing, Donald Trump continues to push a flailing strategy designed to prevent people’s votes from being counted. What we’re seeing on these legal suits are that they are meritless and nothing more than an attempt to distract and delay what is now inevitable. Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (03:02)
Bob is going to talk to you more about that legal strategy and what we’re doing about it, but first I want to walk you through where we are in the states. Yesterday, when we spoke, which feels like a longer time ago than it probably actually is, we went through a number of states with you. Let’s take you through those. First of all, Wisconsin, counting is finished and the media has called that state for Joe Biden. We have won Wisconsin, we are carrying over a 20,000 vote margin there. We feel very good about any path forward there with a big victory in Wisconsin coming out yesterday. In Nevada, the vice president leads here by about 8,000 votes. Our data shows that we will win here. We expect counting to be finished and results announced today. We know that some of that data will come in at noon. That’s our understanding, noon Eastern time. We, like you, are going to wait to see what that data puts forward.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (04:03)
We expect some bounce in the data throughout the day. It’s possible that we might see some of the more rural and in-person votes coming in at that noon window with other more favorable for us votes coming later in the day. Don’t be surprised if we bounce. We’re talking about a small margin here to begin with, but we should see some ups and downs throughout the day, depending on the order of the results coming through today. But at the end of the day, when all the votes are counted, we are confident that we will be ahead in Nevada. Michigan, counting is finished and the media has called that state for Joe Biden. We have won Michigan, another significant victory for us coming in later yesterday afternoon.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (04:50)
All right, let’s head to Pennsylvania. The counting continues today. We expect it will continue throughout the day. There are more than 600,000 ballots outstanding, and after counting yesterday, we continue to see ourselves nearing parody with Donald Trump. You’ve probably watched the ticker on most of the networks, the margin that Donald Trump is ahead, we continue to close and we expect that gap to continue. We believe, from our data, that the majority of the outstanding ballots left are for the vice president, and that at the end of the day, and let us hope it’s the end of today, but at the end of the day we will win by a sizable number of votes in Pennsylvania. But we need to make sure that we continue the count there and that count is underway and we’re going to be patient and wait for it, but our path forward is a path to victory in Pennsylvania.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (05:49)
In Arizona, already a number of media outlets have called Arizona for the vice president. We continue to feel confident about Arizona, and we believe we have won there, though the counting has not been finished. We are waiting on Arizona to continue to count. We saw some counts last night. There’s going to be more today. We do expect, similar to Nevada, that some of the margin will continue to close today as more data comes in. From our understanding of how the data is going to be reported, we believe that we will see some more rural and other counties that might be less favorable to us coming in earlier. Pima County, a county that is very favorable for the vice president, we understand might not report until tomorrow. And Maricopa, which is the county where Phoenix is, we know is likely to report at least some of their outstanding ballots, but not until later tonight. The story of Arizona is one where Joe Biden is going to win, but it’s going to take us time and patience as we go through the counting. You might see, we would expect to see, and we will see a tightening of that margin throughout the day, but more favorable data will be coming in this evening and even into tomorrow, so just be conscious of that and be calm as you see that through the day.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (07:17)
Let’s talk about two other states that are still out there and still in play. One that is getting a lot of attention and that we are also obviously very focused on, that would be Georgia. This race, as we said the last time we spoke, is a true tossup. We are seeing, as of this morning, and I know the secretary of state just had a press conference, we are seeing us continuing to cut into the advantage that Donald Trump has. He is leading by about 18,000 votes, but there are a significant number of outstanding ballots that the secretary of state just spoke to, that we expect to be coming in throughout the day. Some counties like Fulton County or Atlanta is counted through the night, but we have a very good sense of where the outstanding ballots are, mostly coming from more Democratic-leaning areas, as well as from mail-in voters, places where the vice president has had significant support across the country. We believe that Georgia, while continuing to be a tossup, while continuing to be something that is going to be very, very close at this stage, leans to the vice president. Keep an eye on Georgia throughout the day as we are, but I think we’re heading on our path to close that 18,000 vote margin and potentially overtake it.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (08:42)
North Carolina, the final state to speak to today, this race continues to be very tight, no real changes in terms of updated data, but we’re staying on top of what’s coming in, making sure that we have a very good sense of that and we’ll provide updates as we see throughout the day.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (09:00)
Hopefully that gives you a sense of how we’re approaching and thinking about the states. We are grateful to everyone who is doing the hard, hard work of counting votes in these states. Counting votes and counting every vote is a fundamental tenant of our democracy, and we are so grateful for the hard work that’s being done, as we said, with people counting overnight and day after day, keep at it, but doing a great job, and we are grateful of that work.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (09:31)
This is what’s happening right now. This is how we are looking at the morning. I think the story of today is going to be a very positive story for the vice president, but also one where folks are going to need to stay patient and stay calm. The counting is happening, it’s going to take time. We need to allow it to get done and done well, and we’re very confident, whatever happens with the counting and the timing we will come out ahead. We are absolutely confident that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States, and we are equally confident that we’re going to be able to watch the counting throughout the day and into tomorrow to finalize these last states that are going to put us over the top to 270.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (10:12)
With that update, I’m now going to hand this presentation over to Bob Bauer to talk a little bit more about how we are looking at Donald Trump’s efforts in these final hours and the strategy that we’re putting forth on our behalf. Bob, over to you.
Bob Bauer: (10:28)
Thank you, Jen. I just wanted to put into the right frame and perspective what you are hearing from some of the states about Trump claims and Trump lawsuits. I think they’re connected. The lawsuits are meritless. They’re intended to give the Trump campaign the opportunity to argue that the vote count should stop. It is not going to stop. I’ll walk through some of the silliness behind these claims momentarily, but I want to emphasize that, for their purposes, these lawsuits don’t have to have merit. That’s not the purpose. It’s not to bring bonafide claims before the courts. It is to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what’s taking place in the electoral process. To go to Jen’s point, it’s really quite remarkable. These election officials are working overnight trying to get the count out and trying to get it right, and the Trump campaign is continually alleging irregularity, failures of the system, and fraud without any basis.
Bob Bauer: (11:27)
This is part of a broader misinformation campaign that involves some political theater. You may have heard about some loud noises being made by Trump supporters at the polling places, the shouts of, “Stop the vote count,” and the like. Well, be aware that wherever this is happening, and it’s happening inappropriately at close proximity to the polling place, law enforcement and election officials are clearing the place as quickly of this kind of behavior and assuring that the vote count can continue. But all of this is intended to create a large cloud that it is the hope of the Trump campaign that nobody can see through, but it is not a very thick cloud. It’s not hard to see what they’re doing. We see through it, so will the courts, and so do election officials.
Bob Bauer: (12:13)
Now, let me just close by saying a little bit so that you have some grounding in what these lawsuits seem to be about. Let’s take three examples, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Let’s take Georgia. In Chatham County, the Trump campaign showed up to allege that 53 late arriving ballots were mixed with ballots received on time. What was the evidence of that? Well, a Trump observer expressed some suspicion about something that may have happened when that observer left the room. That was it. That was the sole purpose of it. The sole basis of it, is an expression of suspicion. The Trump campaign requested that Georgia counties separate any and all late arriving ballots. Well, that’s interesting because that’s what election officials are already doing because that’s what the law requires. You have a suspicion that is expressed as the basis for a lawsuit demanding that election officials do what election officials are already doing because the law requires it. I think it’s comic, but that’s what’s involved.
Bob Bauer: (13:18)
Another example comes from Michigan. In Michigan, the Trump campaign filed suit alleging that Republican inspectors should have been afforded the opportunity to witness the collection of ballots from drop boxes, and they asked for the counting to be halted. Well, the collection from the drop boxes was conducted by trained election officials, precisely as provided by law, and the claim is completely meritless. It’s a messaging exercise, has no other purpose than to confuse the public about what’s taking place and to support their baseless claims of irregularity.
Bob Bauer: (13:53)
Final example, from Pennsylvania. They continue to file suits in this case. In many cases, they’re litigating over issues they’ve already litigated. So they’re kind of running out of ideas and they’re recycling them. In other instances they’re filing over utterly immaterial matters like where they may be permitted to stand and observe while the counting takes place. As another example, they’ve intervened in a pending Supreme Court case involving Pennsylvania, but their lawyers are already there representing the Republican party. They’re intervening one more time with the same legal team to duplicate a filing that’s already taken place to give people the impression that something important is happening in the United States Supreme Court, but in fact, it’s not. It’s the same old case, it’s the same parties lined up arguing the same issues. Nothing has changed.
Bob Bauer: (14:45)
Let me just close by saying this strategy of disrupting the vote count, as you can tell by the efforts of election officials who continue to count, is doomed to fail. But in the background, the noise is fraud, irregularity, and the like, and the lawsuits and the disruptive behavior are all for that purpose, of trying to get the vote counted, try to confuse the public about what’s taking place, and we’ll make sure the public is clear about what’s taking place and election officials operating under the law will make sure that the vote count continues. Thank you.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (15:22)
Thanks, Bob. And thanks everyone. We’re happy to take some questions.
Speaker 3: (15:28)
We’ll go to Hannah Trudeau first. Hannah, if you want to unmute yourself.
Hannah Trudeau: (15:44)
Hi, guys. Can you hear me?
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (15:46)
Bob Bauer: (15:46)
Yes. Thank you.
Hannah Trudeau: (15:47)
Okay. Thanks a lot. Thanks for doing this. I’m wondering, Jen, if you can speak a little bit more in depth about why you feel as certain as you do about Arizona, and also curious if you’ve spoken or had any contact with the Trump campaign today.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (16:02)
Hey, Hannah. Yeah. Arizona, we felt good about all along. It wouldn’t be a presentation if I didn’t say that I am bullish on Arizona. Look, we really understand that this is a race that we’ve been ahead. We expected it all along to be close. And as we look at the data that’s outstanding, we see a number of Democratic counties that are yet to report. Maricopa, as I said today, we do expect the margins to be closing. We knew that and we had seen that even coming into election night after we started to see the results. This is the trajectory that we have been headed. We will win by tens of thousands of votes, but that margin will close. As I said, Arizona and Nevada, I think there’ll be some bounce throughout the day and the margin will tighten, but that’s what we’ve been expecting all along. The only challenge with Arizona is the data. Now, if we understand it as we currently do in terms of timing, it could be tonight, and as well as Pima coming in tomorrow and more of Maricopa tomorrow as well, so it might take a little bit longer to get there. We have not had contact throughout the day, and we’re just plugging along with our focus on making sure that the votes are counted and that we’re pushing forward here.
Speaker 3: (17:36)
We have Alex [Jaffee 00:17:37] next.
Alex Jaffee: (17:38)
Hi, guys. Thanks for holding this call. Jen, I wanted to check in since you are expressing confidence that the ultimate result of the election, that you guys have started ramping up transition planning, and if you can speak about what that looks like imminently, what you’re planning to announce in the coming days after the race is called, if it is called in your favor.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (17:57)
The good thing is that I’m the campaign manager, and so what I’m focused on is getting these final votes done. We’re very focused on making sure the counting goes on. The vice president is continuing to do the things that he’s been doing every step of the way, not losing sight of the fact that COVID cases are rising day after day in this country as well, and making sure that he’s briefing on that. We’re going to just continue to focus on the campaign and closing out these final states.
Speaker 3: (18:30)
We have Chris Smith next.
Chris Smith: (18:34)
Hey, good morning. Thanks for talking. One for each of you. Jen, given where the counts are, is there a state you think is going to come in first and get you over 270? And Bob, have you seen any evidence of the Attorney General Bill Barr getting involved in any of this maneuvering on Trump’s side, and do you expect to see it?
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (19:07)
Just to that first question, to be honest, I don’t know. I think that we are doing our best like everyone else is to get a sense of timing and monitoring that. We will see more moving in a number of places this morning. Certainly we know, from an Arizona standpoint, the current timing puts us into tomorrow. Pennsylvania has a large volume of ballots to still go through, so that will take some time. At this stage, it’s not clear when that final count will come and the timing, and we’re just going to stay close on all of them.
Bob Bauer: (19:47)
As for the attorney general, no, we have not seen any indication of any kind of unusual or concerning activity there. There’d be no basis for the Department of Justice to become involved. The conduct of these elections, it’s the responsibility of the states, and as we can all see, they’re perfectly capable of conducting these counts and also of enforcing order, and indeed, that’s what they’re charged with doing. This is a state matter, not a matter for the Department of Justice, and we see no reason to believe that that fundamental allocation of responsibility is one that the attorney general is planning to challenge in any way.
Speaker 3: (20:35)
For the last question, we have [Asma Collid 00:00:20:36].
Asma Collid: (20:38)
Hi there. Thank you guys so much. Can you hear me okay?
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (20:41)
Asma Collid: (20:42)
Okay, great. Two quick questions. One is, what is your best sense of the remaining vote in Philly? And then, also, I know there was an iteration of this kind of ask, but amongst the remaining states, do you have any sense, if you could rank them for me in terms of your level of optimism, if you feel willing to do that, just where you think they are if we could rank North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania?
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (21:10)
Pennsylvania and Philly, in particular, I know there’s a lot of uncertainty about the exact numbers there, and I know there’s a few different narratives swirling online. There are hundreds of thousands of ballots outstanding. We think it’s probably in the 500 to 700 thousand plus across the whole state. What I can tell you is that what we have seen in places like Milwaukee and Detroit and Pittsburgh, and we also expect in Philly, is very high turnout. We think that there is still significant outstanding ballot in Philly, but of course across the entire state, and as folks know, the vice president has been carrying very, very high margins with vote by mail in particular and from communities like these. We expect that we will have a really strong showing today as the counting is underway.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (22:09)
In terms of the states and optimism, look, I feel very, very good about all the states. I think North Carolina is a little bit tighter, a little bit tougher. We are looking for that moment in Pennsylvania and Georgia today where we see that ticker overtake Donald Trump. We think it’s going to happen, but I’m confident in all four, bullish on all four of those states. I’m going to expand my statement on bullishness outside of Arizona, but we’re very optimistic. We don’t really care which state takes us over the top, we just want to keep going and make sure the counts get done. As I said earlier, the counting is underway. We know that it’s going to take a little bit of time and we support that and we’re just going to stay calm and be patient. At the end of the day, we’ll be situated well regardless of what those early states are with the remainder of the ones in which take us over the top.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (23:08)
With that, I think we are going to conclude here. Thank you so much, everyone, for joining us. We’ll keep staying in touch and being transparent as we learn more details. Really looking forward to the hours ahead of us and being together again with Joe Biden as our next president. Thank you all.