Biden campaign pledges ‘transparent, open’ relationship with press as Biden prepares for convention speech

By MOLLY NAGLE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — As former Vice President Joe Biden prepares for the final night of the Democratic National Convention, his campaign’s communications director, Kate Bedingfield, promised Biden would put a premium on “transparent, open” communication with the press, which would likely include a return to daily press briefings.

“I would expect that there would be daily press briefings, yes. I think we would get back to a more regular rhythm of communicating consistently with the press, day in and day out, about the administration’s priorities,” Bedingfield previewed in an interview with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast.

“I think that the press secretary for a Biden administration would not view that role as a political cudgel. They would not view that platform as a place to stand and berate the press every day, or solely as a platform to get a soundbite on Fox News, which I think is sort of how the Trump administration is approaching that job,” Bedingfield later added when asked by Karl about the potential Biden administration’s view of the position.

The suggestion marks a sharp contrast with the Trump administration’s press operation, which previously set the record for the longest period of time without an official press briefing, going more than 300 days without a formal briefing taking place. Despite that fact, Trump paradoxically has not been shy about interacting with reporters, very often freely taking their questions during his tenure in the White House.

Bedingfield said the the former vice president has seen interacting with the press as a “really important part of his responsibility as an elected official,” despite criticism about the limited press access the campaign allowed during his third run for president.

Biden’s interactions with the press and voters have been further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic keeping the candidate largely off the physical campaign trail, which has put pressure on the campaign to figure out new ways to connect.

Bedingfield argued that it has presented an opportunity for the campaign to expand its reach, noting Biden’s interviews with local television affiliates in critical battleground states as one way they are working to get their message out to voters ahead of November’s election.

“The campaign, obviously we have been working through how we reimagine campaigning in this virtual time,” Bedingfield said. “We’ve really, I think, used the opportunity to think about how can we reach the maximum number of people with the travel restrictions and limitations that we have on ourselves.”

Biden is set to accept the Democratic nomination for president Thursday night, more than 30 years after launching his first campaign for the office back in 1987. The culminating moment will mark the first time Biden addresses the nation in prime time since unofficially securing the Democratic nomination back in April. But the former vice president will address a largely empty room due to COVID-19, making it impossible for Biden to rally what is traditionally an expansive crowd.

“Tonight is going to be very focused on introducing pieces of Joe Biden’s biography to viewers who may not know about the struggles that he’s been through in his life,” Bedingfield said.

“His speech is really going to be about laying out a positive vision for the country and reminding people that even in these incredibly divisive times that across the course of history of our country, we have overcome crises as Americans when we have come together,” she added.

The Democratic National Convention, and its exclusively virtual format, has seen several prominent Democrats, including both President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, take on Trump in unprecedentedly pointed terms.

However, Bedingfield said the case for Biden, rather than against Trump, will be the focus of the campaign in the final push to Election Day, but argued that the contrast between the two candidates would be self-evident to voters.

“We, for the next 75 days, are really about making sure that the American people have a clear understanding of what Biden would do in office — of who he is, what motivates him. And then we think the contrast itself is readily apparent to people,” she said.

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