Biden makes plea to ‘unite and heal’ the country during stop in Georgia

Biden makes plea to ‘unite and heal’ the country during stop in Georgia

Joe Biden, playing offense in a longtime red state turned crucial battleground this year, made a closing campaign pitch on Tuesday for national unity to rise above what he called the division President Trump has sown during his four years in the White House.

The Democratic presidential nominee, speaking in Georgia with one week to go until Election Day on Nov. 3, once again pilloried the president over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and pledged that “we will act on the first day of my presidency to get COVID under control.”

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The former vice president’s address on unity was his second this month, following a speech at the historic battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., where more than 150 years ago the defeat of the Confederate Army by Union forces was the turning point in the Civil War and helped preserve the nation.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Warm Springs, Ga. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Mountain Top Inn & Resort, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Warm Springs, Ga. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On Tuesday, Biden spoke in Warm Springs, Ga., a destination for White House contenders hoping to evoke the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who frequented the spot for its therapeutic waters that helped him cope with paralysis brought on by polio. Roosevelt, who served into his fourth term in the White House, steered the nation through the Great Depression and World War II.

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“FDR would come back to Warm Springs often to think about how to heal the nation and the world. And that’s what he did. Lifting us out of the Great Depression. Defeating tyranny. Saving democracy,” Biden said.

Taking aim at Trump, Biden said that the kind of leader the country needs right now is “a president who’s in it not for himself, but for others. A president who doesn’t divide us — but unites us. A president who appeals not to the worst in us — but to the best. A president who cares less about his TV ratings — and more about the American people.

“A president who looks not to settle scores — but to find solutions. A president guided not by wishful thinking — but by science, reason, and fact.,” Biden continued. “That’s the kind of president I will be.”

Biden once again accused the president of “giving up” in the fight against the pandemic and emphasized that “we can and will get control of this virus.” And he vowed that “as president, I will never wave the white flag of surrender.”

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The Trump campaign fired back.

“Joe Biden today continued his despicable politicization of the coronavirus crisis, while being complete unburdened by the responsibility of leadership,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh charged.

In his call for unity, the former vice president pointed to the protests in cities across the country this year over police brutality and racial inequity.

“A season of protest has broken out all across the nation,” Biden said. “Some of it is just senseless burning and looting and violence that can’t be tolerated, and it won’t. But much of it is a cry for justice from communities that have long had the knee of injustice on their neck.”

And noting the three cases that rocked the nation, Biden emphasized that “the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake will not soon be forgotten. Not by me. Not by us. Not by this country. They’re going to inspire a new wave of justice in America.”

Tuesday’s stops in Georgia – Biden headed to Atlanta for a drive-in car rally later in the day – were his first in the state during the general election.

Southerner Bill Clinton in 1992 was the last Democrat to carry Georgia in a presidential election.

Republican President George W. Bush won the state by double digits in the 2000 and 2004 elections. But thanks in part to changing demographics, Georgia tightened and Trump captured the state’s 16 electoral votes by just 5 points in the 2016 presidential election.

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An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted by the University of Georgia released on Monday indicates the race all knotted up – with Biden at 47% support among likely Peach State voters and Trump at 46%.

Another new survey – from New York Times/Siena College – showed the two major party nominees deadlocked at 45%, with other polls released in recent days also pointing to a close contest between Biden and Trump.

Biden’s trip came four days after running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., campaigned in Atlanta – and one day after his wife, Jill Biden, stumped in the state.

President Trump and Vice President Pence have made numerous stops in Georgia this summer and autumn. Pence was in the state at the end of last month, to energize conservative evangelicals in suburban Atlanta. And the president held a rally in Macon a week and a half ago.

“I love Georgia,” the president proclaimed. And Trump predicted that “a giant red wave is coming from Atlanta to Augusta, from Savannah to Columbus, and from Marietta to right here in Macon, Georgia.”

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