President Biden and Vice President Harris on Friday made a rare joint appearance on the campaign trail to boost the Democratic ticket in Pennsylvania, where Senate candidate John Fetterman’s race could determine control of the chamber for the next two years.
Biden argued Democrats had delivered on their agenda over the past 20 months, touted a report on gross domestic product and railed against oil companies that he said were failing to use profits to deliver savings to the public.
“It’s been a rough few years for a lot of hardworking Americans. For a lot of families, things are still tough. But there are bright spots where America is re-asserting itself. We made enormous progress in the last 20 months. We have more to do,” Biden said in a keynote address at the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s annual Independence Dinner.
Biden highlighted legislation Democrats passed to lower prescription drug costs and address climate change and a bipartisan infrastructure package that is being used to improve roads, airports and bridges nationwide.
The president argued those gains are at risk in a Republican majority, which he said would also threaten Social Security and Medicare and seek to cut taxes for wealthy Americans.
Biden also cited Pennsylvania’s pivotal role in determining control of the House and Senate, and there is also a closely watched governor’s race on the ballot where former President Trump has endorsed the GOP candidate.
“Everything’s at stake in just 11 days,” Biden said. “It’s not hyperbole to suggest all eyes are on Pennsylvania. So much is at stake for this state, for this country we all love. So I call on Democrats and mainstream Republicans and independents to come together. We can meet this moment. We can meet it together. I truly believe we’re just getting started.”
Biden and Harris rarely make campaign appearances together and this joint event on Friday highlights a strategy to show a united party in the final days of a tough campaign to hold onto the Senate.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who spoke before the president, holds a narrow lead in most polls over Republican Mehmet Oz in their race for a seat in the upper chamber. The event follows a rocky debate performance from Fetterman on Tuesday following questions surrounding his health.
Pennsylvania is one of Democrats’ few opportunities to flip a Republican seat after Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced his retirement in 2020. A RealClearPolitics average of polls conducted in the past 10 days shows Fetterman leading Oz by less than 1 percentage point.
Harris focused her remarks on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and Oz’s comments during Tuesday’s debate that decisions over reproductive rights should be made by women, doctors and local leaders.
“These folks are something else,” Harris said. “These folks apparently believe that government should be making decisions about women’s bodies. Well, we do not. We trust the women of Pennsylvania. We trust the women of America.”
Harris, who has cast more than two dozen tie-breaking votes in the 50-50 Senate, argued that an expanded Democratic majority in the chamber would enable the party to reform the filibuster and codify abortion protections.
Both the president and vice president have picked their travel destinations carefully, as their underwater approval ratings have limited their effectiveness on the campaign trail, and some Democrats have not embraced appearing alongside Biden in particular.
Biden has made Pennsylvania a focus in the final weeks of the midterm campaign. He visited Pittsburgh last week to highlight infrastructure investments at the site of a recently collapsed bridge, followed by a fundraiser in Philadelphia.
The president will be back in Pennsylvania next week to campaign alongside former President Obama for Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro (D).
Biden plans to vote on Saturday in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., alongside his 18-year-old granddaughter, Natalie, who will be voting for the first time.
Source: The Hill