Biden notched big climate wins. Can his campaign sell that?

By Scott Waldman | 05/08/2023 06:28 AM EDT

President Joe Biden greets attendees during a celebration last year of the Inflation Reduction Act.

President Joe Biden greets attendees during a celebration last year of the Inflation Reduction Act. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The deputy campaign chair for President Joe Biden’s reelection knows he has some explaining to do.

Quentin Fulks, who started last week, said that he expects one of his biggest challenges will be to help the public understand why the climate-centric Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law and other related pieces of legislation are so important to their lives.

“The stuff that has been delivered by this administration is so massive that the challenge within itself is almost explaining it, how massive it is and how meaningful it is,” Fulks said during a interview on the “Staffer” podcast hosted by Jim Papa of Global Strategy Group.


Polls consistently have shown that voters are still largely unfamiliar with the climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains $369 billion in clean energy spending and incentives. Same goes for the bipartisan infrastructure law, which devotes billions of dollars to building electric vehicle charging stations, electric buses and abandoned oil and gas well capping funds.

Biden and his Cabinet have fanned out across the country in recent months to tout the measures.

Fulks talked about the need to grow the diverse coalition of voters that helped Biden secure his 2020 victory. That coalition included Black voters, suburban moms, young people, Latinos and climate voters.

“We’re going to continue building a large coalition — the most people in the modern era voted to send President Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris to the White House in 2020, and we’re going to add on to that,” he said on the podcast.

It wouldn’t be the first time for Fulks. As Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign manager in the 2022 Georgia Senate race, he focused on building such a coalition. Finding a way to replicate that swing-state victory, which helped Democrats keep control of the Senate, is crucial to Biden’s reelection chances.

With Warnock, Fulks said the two bonded over their shared experience working in politics as Black men, particularly in the Senate, which has only seen 11 Black senators in U.S. history. He said they were both held to higher standards and that as a campaign manager, he doesn’t “get to make as many mistakes that other people … get to make.”

“He walked the same path in life, he feels the same eyes on him, he gets the same scrutiny that we get,” he said, adding that “whether it be from the operative side, where we talked about it as a strategist of color, he gets that as a candidate of color, so these are things that made us hit it off.”

As he begins to staff up the campaign, Fulks said he will be looking at people who view the 2024 election as a turning point in U.S. history and for operatives who share the same values.

“We’re going to bring in those folks who have those values, who understand that we’re fighting for freedom, that we’re fighting for decency, that we’re fighting for morality, that we’re fighting to finish the job, to get past this moment in our history that’s plaguing us,” he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect amount for the clean energy spending and incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. It is $369 billion.