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U.S. presidential election | Obama to join Biden on campaign trail

Final pitch: Donald Trump tossing a cap at the crowd during a campaign stop in Waterford Township, Michigan.   | Photo Credit: Nicole Hester

Former U.S. President Barack Obama will join forces with Democratic candidate Joe Biden in Michigan as President Donald Trump goes all in on the crucial State of Pennsylvania on Saturday and the two candidates dig deep on the final weekend before Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.

For the first time since the start of the campaign, Mr. Biden, 77, will be joined on stage by his former boss and popular campaigner, former President Barack Obama.

Drive-in rallies

They’ll put on two drive-in rallies in the cities of Flint and Detroit in Michigan. Stevie Wonder is expected to be the musical guest of the evening. Mr. Trump, 74, won the industrial State by a narrow margin of 0.2 points in 2016 — but this year Mr. Biden leads by seven points.

That puts him in pole position to take its 16 electoral votes, a sizeable leap towards the 270 he needs to win the White House.

For the past week, Mr. Obama has put his popularity at the service of his former Vice-President, hosting several rallies at which he repeatedly slammed Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, notably in Florida and Pennsylvania.

But Mr. Trump — who has dismissed Mr. Obama’s rallies as much smaller than his own — will himself head to Pennsylvania on Saturday, where he will host three rallies, a sign of how key the State is to his own path to 270 votes.

Also read: U.S. Presidential elections 2020 | Trump election rallies are ‘super-spreader’ events, says Joe Biden

He won Pennsylvania, where Mr. Biden was born, by a razor-thin margin against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Every ballot will therefore count on November 3 if he hopes to claim its 20 electoral votes once more.

Mr. Biden will follow suit there both on Sunday and Monday in a clear sign that his campaign also sees the Keystone State as absolutely crucial to victory.

Millions voting early

On Friday, the two candidates battled over the American Midwest, barnstorming three heartland States each as they chased every last vote in a region that propelled the Republican to victory in 2016.

But the race was overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, with infections spiking across the country. More than 94,000 new infections were recorded Friday — a new high for the second day running — and total cases passed nine million.

Also read: U.S. Presidential Elections | Trump derides doctors as COVID surges, Biden says Trump ‘giving up’ on virus

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump, who has long said the virus will “disappear”, remained defiant at rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“We just want normal,” he told supporters — many of them unmasked — at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed States to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life.

He again bucked the advice of his own administration’s health experts and downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, saying, “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.”

The virus has killed nearly 230,000 Americans.

U.S. hospitals are bracing as infections soar in nearly every state, with winter flu season looming.

Mr. Trump has touted the economic successes of his presidency, including positive GDP figures Thursday. But U.S. stocks closed out their worst week since March, highlighting concerns about a shaky recovery.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 9:29:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/obama-to-join-biden-on-campaign-trail/article32992992.ece

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