WASHINGTON – Joe Biden traveled Tuesday to the hot springs town where Franklin Delano Roosevelt coped with polio to declare the U.S. is not too politically diseased to overcome its health and economic crises, pledging to be the unifying force who can "restore our soul and save this country.”
The Democratic presidential nominee offered his closing argument with Election Day just one week away while attempting to go on the political offensive in Georgia, which hasn't backed a Democrat for the White House since 1992. He promised to be a president for all Americans regardless of party, even as he said that "anger and suspicion is growing and our wounds are getting deeper.”
“Has the heart of this nation turned to stone? I don’t think so,” Biden said. “I refuse to believe it.”
While Biden worked to expand the electoral map in the South, President Donald Trump focused on the Democrats’ “blue wall” states that he flipped in 2016 — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and maintained a far busier travel schedule taking him to much more of the country.
At a cold, rain-soaked rally in the Michigan capital of Lansing, Trump said Biden supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, both of which he said hurt the auto industry and other manufacturing in the state.
“This election is a matter of economic survival for Michigan,” the president said, arguing that the state's economy was strong before the coronavirus pandemic hit. “Look what I've done.”
Trump also cheered Senate candidate John James — who may ultimately have a better chance of winning the state than the president — while attacking Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for moving aggressively to shut down much of the state's economy to slow the virus' spread. He even seemed to cast doubt on federal authorities breaking up what they said was a plot to kidnap her, which Whitmer has argued Trump's “violent rhetoric” helped spark.
“It was our people that helped her out with her problem. And we’ll have to see if it’s a problem. Right?" Trump said. "People are entitled to say ‘maybe it was a problem. Maybe it wasn’t.’”