Mon. Nov 28th, 2022

Lauren A. Wright, a professor at Princeton who has written extensively about political appearances by first ladies, said the East Wing under Dr. Biden, 71, who kept teaching as an English professor as first lady, has become completely intertwined with the political efforts of the West Wing.

“This role has become so serious and political,” she said. “It must be part of the strategic White House planning and effort. Otherwise you’re wasting opportunities.”

As first lady, Dr. Biden has traveled to 40 states, and lately, she has tucked a plethora of political visits into trips that spotlight her policy interests. On Thursday, she taught a full day of classes at Northern Virginia Community College before flying to Fort Benning in Georgia, where she visited with military families.

Her political appearances began on Friday evening, when she stood in the foyer of a home with Ms. Abrams and asked some 75 attendees, mostly women, to step closer to her. Then she took aim at Mr. Kemp and the policies that he supports, including a law he signed that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, and another that limits voting access.

“I know that makes you angry,” she told them. “And it should make you angry.”

Her presence is not just a morale boost for Democrats in close races: She is a fund-raising draw who appeals to grass roots supporters, and people are more likely to donate if she’s asking, according to a spokeswoman who works for the Democratic National Committee who was not authorized to speak publicly. Her events, emails, text messages and mailings have drawn millions of dollars for Democrats.

In Atlanta, Dr. Biden told her audience that she knew they had already donated, but “I’m asking you to dig a little deeper.” (Each had already paid at least $1,000 to attend the event.) The whole appearance took about 20 minutes, and then she was on the road to the next event, slipping out through a kitchen door with a coterie of aides.

By Saturday morning, Dr. Biden was in Florida — her second visit there this month — where she started the day on a bike at a spin studio in Fort Lauderdale with several aides. (Aside from finding boutique fitness classes when she travels, she is also an avid runner, and has said that the exercise “creates a sense of balance in my life.”) Then she stopped for a coffee (black, no sugar) with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Fort Lauderdale before the two of them toured a breast cancer research facility.



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