Politics Biden Goes Full Populist in Closing Weeks
At town hall, Biden blasts Trump's 'criminal' virus response
MOOSIC, Pa. (AP) — Joe Biden on Thursday went after President Donald Trump again and again over his handling of COVID-19, calling Trump's downplaying of the pandemic “criminal” and his administration “totally irresponsible." “You’ve got to level with the American people — shoot from the shoulder. There’s not been a time they’ve not been able to step up. The president should step down,” the Democratic presidential nominee said to applause from a CNN drive-in town hall crowd in Moosic, outside his hometown of Scranton.
The day aftertest-ran a new populist phrase about income inequality in a parking lot set up for a town hall in Pennsylvania, he doubled down in another swing state at risk of turning red: Minnesota.
During a televised event with CNN on Thursday night, Biden deliberately elevated Scranton, a largely white, working class city he identifies as home, over Park Avenue, the ultra-exclusive section of New York City where President Donald Trump has erected one of his flashiest towers. By Friday afternoon, he drove the point again.
Dueling Trump, Biden events in battleground states sets tone for upcoming debates
Trump is in a tough re-election battle with national polls showing him lagging behind Biden as Nov. 3 quickly approaches. Their first debate is slated for Sept. 29 in Cleveland on Fox News.The president fired up his hundreds of supporters that gathered at an airport hangar in Mosinee, which is a country he won in 2016. Trump's campaign is focusing on turning out base supporters in more rural parts of the state in order to offset deficits he is expected to face against Biden in cities and suburbs.Few attendees wore face masks and supporters stood elbow-to-elbow, making no effort to social distance.
“As I said last night in my hometown, I believe this campaign is between Scranton and Park Avenue,” the former vice president said in Hermantown, Minnesota. “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,” he went on. “Looking down on the people who take care of our kids. Clean our streets.”
The back-to-back messaging made it clear that Biden was embracing a fuller version of economic populist rhetoric than he had previously employed during the campaign cycle. The strategic move came as Trump continues to poll ahead of him in someon the economy, and with fewer than 50 days until Nov. 3.
The Note: Biden squares Scranton up vs. Park Avenue as in-person voting begins
Biden was not and is not the candidate Trump thought he would be running against. Part of what he brings to the campaign's final stretch will be where he is from. The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks For a president who says he does not want to create panic, Trump spent much of Thursday saying that fundamental American institutions currently were at risk of collapse and that the country's systems of governing were out of control.
At a different moment in his speech, Biden returned to another reference from the prior night, challenging the notion that to become the leader of the free world requires an Ivy League diploma. Rebelling against that point of conventional academic wisdom, Biden recounted an exchange he had with an opinion columnist, who he said remarked that, if voted into office, he would be the first non-Ivy League president in many years.
“You know if you get elected you’re going to be the first guy in a long time elected president without an Ivy League degree,” Biden said, recalling the conversation in frustration. “Like somehow, a kid who went to a state university didn’t qualify to be president of the United States without an Ivy League degree?”
“Let me tell you something: I know how to do the job of being president and 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.”
He then directly acknowledged attendees: “You don’t measure people by the size of their bank accounts. I don’t respect people based on how big the house they live in is, and I don’t look down my nose at people busting their necks just making a living,” he said. “Nor do any of you.”
For Joe Biden, debate with Trump offers moment of truth .
Democrat Joe Biden's cautious US presidential campaign faces its most unpredictable challenge yet in Tuesday's debate against Donald Trump -- a setting with potential for explosive exchanges and one the ex-vice president has struggled with before. Biden, who leads in polling barely five weeks before the November 3 election, is expected to aim for calm confidence while presenting himself as an empathetic unifier to a polarized nation. But he alsoBiden, who leads in polling barely five weeks before the November 3 election, is expected to aim for calm confidence while presenting himself as an empathetic unifier to a polarized nation.