US Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden visited the key battleground Southern state of Georgia on Tuesday, as he and rival President Donald Trump embark on an intense day of campaigning just a week ahead of the November 3 election.
Leading his rival in national opinion polls, Biden landed in Republican stronghold Georgia, which has not supported a Democrat in a presidential election since 1992.
Opinion polls show the race to be tight in the traditionally red state, and a win by Biden there would likely be a severe blow to Trump’s chances. Biden told reporters on Monday he believes he has a “fighting chance” to take Georgia.
In his speech in Warm Springs, he maintained his attack on President Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
“The president declared he’s going to wage war on the virus. Instead he shrugged, swaggered and he surrendered,” Biden said.
“I’m here to tell you we can and we will control this virus,” Biden continued. “As president, I will never wave the white flag of surrender.”
Speaking in front of a socially-distanced crowd, he called on the audience to imagine “where we’d be today if the president had embraced wearing masks, instead of mocking them. Imagine where we’d be today with a president who practised social distancing, instead of holding super-spreader events.”
Biden also repeated previous promises to overcome divisions in the US. “I’m here in Warm Springs because I want to talk about how we’re going to heal our nation,” he said.
The former vice president had some help from Barack Obama, who returned to support Biden and running mate Kamala Harris on the campaign trail.
Addressing a drive-in audience in Orlando, Obama declared the 2020 race for the White House to be “the most important election of our lifetimes,” and slammed the president on numerous fronts, especially the death toll and economic toll of COVID-19.
“More than 225,000 people in this country are dead,” Obama said. “More than 100,000 small businesses have closed. Half a million jobs are gone in Florida alone. Think about that.
“I lived in the White House for a while,” Obama said. “It’s a controlled environment. You can take some preventive measures in the White House to avoid getting sick. Except this guy can’t seem to do it.”
Obama also mocked Trump for a recent New York Times story indicating Trump paid as little as $750 per year in federal taxes after he was elected president.
He also said Joe Biden “has concrete plans, and he’s got concrete policies that will turn our vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into a reality.”
Biden leads Trump in most national polls, but the race in key states is close ahead of the election.
Trump will hold rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska, while First Lady Melania Trump will make her first campaign appearance since recovering from Covid-19.
The 2020 presidential campaign has been unlike any other as a raging coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed more than 225,000 Americans pushes record early voting.