Politics

Biden touts working-class message in Minnesota as early voting kicks off new phase of 2020 race

The trip to Minnesota, which included a tour of a union facility and remarks in Hermantown, coincides with the first day of in-person early voting in the state, marking a new and more urgent phase of the 2020 race for both candidates.

Biden focused on a working class appeal during his visit to the state, comparing Minnesota to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and noting his view that the election was a battle between workers and the wealthy.

“I view this campaign as between Scranton and Park Avenue. All Trump sees from Park Avenue is Wall Street. That’s why the only metric of the American prosperity for him is the value of the Dow Jones. Like a lot of you, I spent a lot of my life with guys like Donald Trump looking down on me, looking down on the people who make a living with their hands, people who take care of our kids, [who] clean our streets,” Biden said Friday afternoon.

The former vice president’s remarks condemned Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and included a stinging rebuke of the incumbent’s ability to handle the job they are both vying for.

“Let me tell you something: I know how to do the job of being president. It’s pretty clear. No matter how wealthy Donald Trump is, no matter how much he doctors his — if he does — his tax returns, he doesn’t have a clue how to be president,” Biden said after touring a union training facility.

Biden’s focus on the economy — an issue the president often touts as his specialty — comes with 46 days until Election Day, and a number of states beginning to hold in-person early voting.

Recent polling in Minnesota shows Biden with a firm edge over Trump in the state. A poll conducted this week by ABC News and The Washington Post shows the former vice president with a healthy 16-point lead over the Republican incumbent.

The visit caps off a week of travel for Biden, with the former vice president making trips to critical battleground states, including Florida and Pennsylvania, along with giving remarks in his home state of Delaware and at a nationally televised town hall Thursday night near Scranton.

In his remarks on Friday just outside Duluth, Biden continued to lean heavily into the “Scranton versus Park Avenue” framework of the election that he has debuted in recent days.

“Trump says, by the way, I’m paraphrasing, [says] ‘Everyone’s in the stock market.’ That’s why he cares about the stock market. What the hell’s he talking about? People I grew up [with] in Scranton and Claymont, they don’t have money in stocks. Every penny we made was to pay the bills and take care of the families, putting clothes on their back and a roof over our head,” Biden said.

Following his speech, Biden also took time to visit early voters outside of a coffee shop in downtown Duluth, along with Mayor Emily Larson, and a Duluth fire station, bringing cookies to local firemen.

Trump is also set to visit northern Minnesota on Friday, holding an event at an airplane hanger in Bemidji, continuing a string of aggressive campaign events that largely flout local restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Despite Minnesota’s typically Democratic-leaning electorate, Trump’s reelection campaign has expressed optimism that the president will be able to compete there after Clinton’s narrow win in 2016, and both campaigns are currently running television advertisements to try to sway voters.

“We’re going all-in on Minnesota,” Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said on a call with reporters earlier this month. “We think it’s a state we can win.”

Democrats have expressed similar feelings about their chances.

“I feel quite good about Minnesota. We’ve invested for some time in Minnesota because we also looked at the data. Hillary Clinton won Minnesota by a point and a half in 2016. Third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein got about 5.2% of the vote. The majority of that came from Secretary Clinton. And so we’ve been investing early and everywhere in Minnesota,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters this month.

Trump and Biden’s dueling visits to Minnesota come less than two weeks before the two will face off during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29.

“I have gone back and talked about and looked at not only the things he said, but making sure I can concisely say what I’m for and what I’m going to do,” Biden said of his debate preparation during the CNN town hall Thursday night.

Biden said he’d been preparing for the debate, with someone posing as the president: “There are a couple of people, they asked me questions if they were like as if they were President Trump, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, Trump is expected to forgo traditional debate prep with no plans to hold private mock debates, multiple sources told ABC News.

Instead, the president has started preparing with top aides, getting briefings on likely topics.

“I’ve said before that the best debate prep that exists is to be president every day. Part of debate prep is going back and watching Joe Biden’s old debates which I and some of us here have done,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said on a call with reporters earlier this month.

ABC News’ Will Steakin, Justin Gomez, John Santucci and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

Source:

abcnews.go.com

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