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President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that he’s preparing for a possible face-off against Elizabeth Warren as the Democratic nominee in the 2020 presidential election.

Calling her “Elizabeth Pocahontas Warren,” Trump reprised a favorite slur for the Massachusetts senator who’s surging in polls of candidates for the Democratic nomination. Trump said he thought his use of the nickname had ruined Warren’s prospects in the Democratic primary, but now sees her as a potential victor over long-time front-runner Joe Biden.

Trump said he likely would aim new attacks at Warren in anticipation of a head-to-head matchup. “Now we’re probably going to have to do it again because I don’t see Sleepy Joe making it,” he said during a speech at The Villages, a retirement community in Florida. “I thought she was gone.”

Most of Trump’s speech was devoted to health care. He promised his elderly audience that Medicare “will never be taken away from you,” and criticized Democratic plans to expand health insurance coverage either by putting all Americans in Medicare or by creating a government-run “public option” plan.

“All the Democrat plans would devastate our health care system,” he said. “The last administration was frankly moderate compared to the maniacs you’re hearing from today. These are maniacs.”

As Nominee, Pence Would Lose Ohio to Democrats (2:27 p.m.)

Any of the three leading Democratic candidates for president would beat Vice President Mike Pence in Ohio if he became the 2020 Republican nominee in the event Donald Trump is impeached, according to an Emerson University poll released Thursday.

Joe Biden would beat the vice president, 54% to 46%, and Pence would lose to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both at 51% to 49%.

The Democrats would also defeat Trump. Biden and Sanders both lead in a potential head-to-head match-up, 53% to 47%. Warren is ahead, 52% to 48%.

The Ohio survey is the first Emerson poll on Pence’s prospects at the top of the ticket if Trump is removed from office. The poll used land-line telephones and online surveys, and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

Barack Obama carried Ohio in 2008 and 2012. But Trump flipped the state in 2016. Ohio has voted for the winner of the presidential election in every contest since 1964. – Greg Korte

Biden Starting Ad Blitz in Four Early States (1:30 p.m.)

Joe Biden is unveiling a $6 million advertising blitz on broadcast and digital platforms in four early nominating states, his campaign announced.

So far, Biden has spent an estimated $600,000, all in the Iowa market. The new campaign, which will also run in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, aims to synchronize Biden’s messaging across broadcast television, social media and other digital channels, including streaming services. The Democrat’s campaign said the ads won’t just be targeted to voters, but were also intended to mobilize his supporters and build his grassroots fundraising base.

“We know that Vice President Biden’s campaign pillars like protecting and building on Obamacare and restoring the soul of the nation are resonating in communities across America,” campaign manager Greg Schultz said. The campaign said earlier ads, highlighting Biden’s themes of fighting for the soul of the nation and protecting access to health care, had been successful, but didn’t say whether it would continue to run those spots or develop new ones for its most recent buy.

Biden has been the front-runner in national polls, but Elizabeth Warren has surged into a virtual tie with him in several recent surveys. Warren has booked $6.6 million worth of air time in early states starting in January 2020, according to data from Advertising Analytics, which tracks spending on political commercials. – Bill Allison

White House Drops Socialist’ From Order Title (10:15 a.m.)

The White House had thought about taking a swipe at Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All plan – and then thought again.

The administration recast the title for the health-care executive order President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign Thursday to “Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors” from “Protecting Medicare from Socialist Destruction.”

Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and Trump has tried to brand all his Democratic opponents as socialist radicals. Sanders’ signature plan would eliminate private insurance in favor of a government-run program that offers Medicare, which provides health-care coverage those over 65, to younger Americans.

Trump is to travel to Florida Thursday where he’ll speak about health policy. His remarks will focus on Medicare Advantage, a program in which private insurers including UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. provide benefits in place of the government, administration officials said.

“I don’t know that we did change the name to be honest with you,” Joe Grogan, head of the White House domestic policy council, told reporters Thursday. “We’re protecting the program for our nation’s seniors and protecting it from a socialist vision of the program.” – Jennifer Jacobs

Feinstein Snubs Harris, Hosts Biden Fundraiser (9:06 A.M.)

Snubbing her California colleague in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein is co-hosting a fundraiser for Joe Biden on Thursday in San Francisco.

Feinstein had said she would support Biden even before he entered the 2020 Democratic presidential contest, choosing him over California Senator Kamala Harris, who has been endorsed by many California politicians.

“My candidate would be Joe Biden,” Feinstein told reporters in January. “I watched him as vice president. I’ve seen him operate. I’ve seen him perform and I think he brings a level of experience and seniority, which I think is really important.”

Co-hosting the event are Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, and Denise Bauer, who was ambassador to Belgium in the Obama administration. Feinstein was elected to the Senate in 1992.

Biden will attend multiple fundraisers in the Bay Area on Thursday before heading to Los Angeles to participate in a labor forum on Friday. – Tyler Pager

Booker Urges Tax Credits to Cut Kids’ Poverty (6:00 A.M.)

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker on Thursday unveiled a plan that he says would cut childhood poverty by two-thirds through a proposed child tax credit and by bolstering existing welfare programs.

The tax credit would give a $300-a-month “child allowance” to families with “younger kids,” and $250 to families with children up to the age of 18. The credit would be indexed to inflation. Booker, New Jersey’s junior senator and a former mayor of Newark, also proposes to increase the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit by 30% and reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to inflation-adjusted levels – a 40% increase in funding.

Booker, who is currently polling at 1.4% nationally, has made addressing poverty and preparing children for success a key point of his campaign through ideas like Baby Bonds, which would give every newborn a $1,000 bond that would be placed in a low-risk account managed by the U.S. Treasury. Recipients could get the funds upon turning 18 and use them toward things like college or buying a home.

“In the richest country in the world, we have a moral responsibility to look after each other and make sure that every child living in America has the opportunity to grow and thrive,” Booker said in a statement.

An analysis of the plan by Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy cited by the campaign estimated that it would decrease the childhood poverty rate from 14.8% to 5% – raising 7.3 million children out of poverty – and would cost $65 billion a year. – Emma Kinery

Coming Up

  • Democratic candidates will attend a presidential forum hosted by the 2 million member Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday. So far, Booker, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Julian Castro are set to attend.
  • The United Food and Commercial Workers union will host forums in Iowa with Democratic presidential candidates on Oct. 13. Biden, Booker, Harris, and Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bennet have confirmed they will be there.

With assistance from Emma Kinery, Tyler Pager, Jennifer Jacobs, Bill Allison and Gregory Korte.

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