Good morning from Wilmington, Del. Election Day is in five days. Here are the latest live updates from the Biden campaign.
Good morning from Wilmington, Del. Election Day is in five days. There's a steady, cold rain falling here and the temperature is 52 degrees F.
The pool is waiting in a bus near Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's residence and will be joining the motorcade shortly. The pool has been swept and tested for Covid-19.
We are traveling to Florida, where about 7 million people have voted early, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Florida offers 29 electoral votes and has a history of razor-thin elections. One of my all-time favorite stats in U.S. politics: During the last seven presidential contests, fewer than 20,000 votes have separated the two major political parties between 1992 and 2016 - out of nearly 51 million votes cast.
Mr. Biden is scheduled to make two stops in Florida today: a 1:30p drive-in event in Broward County and a 6:30p drive-in event in Tampa. Both events will be live-streamed on the campaign website. Your pooler will send out highlights from the two events and tweet out photos if possible. (Both candidates will be in Florida today -- President Trump is scheduled to speak in Tampa at 1:35p).
Biden's motorcade departed his home around 9:35 a.m. under a heavy downpour of rain. We are now rolling toward the New Castle Airport.
Mr. Biden's motorcade arrived at the New Castle Airport at 9:49 a.m. He emerged from his Chevrolet Suburban SUV bearing an umbrella shielding him from heavy rain.
He was wearing a face-mask and a tan overcoat and boarded his aircraft at 9:50 a.m. alongside one of his granddaughters, Natalie. He waved to the pool and then boarded the plane as the pool shouted questions about this morning's economic reports. He paused at the top of the staircase, waved, and then walked inside.
Mr. Biden is traveling today with several traveling aides/advisers, including Rep. Cedric Richmond (D., La.), the campaign's national co-chairman. Your pooler also spotted national press secretary T.J. Ducklo.
We will be wheels up shortly for Fort Lauderdale. Flight time of roughly 2 hours, 15 minutes.
The Biden campaign passes along this note on Mr. Biden's Covid-19 test:
From the campaign:
“Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 last night and COVID-19 was not detected.”
The Biden press charter touched down at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 1:06 p.m. It's a partly sunny day here with hazy clouds and temperatures of 88 degrees F.
We are holding in a bus on the tarmac awaiting Mr. Biden's arrival.
Mr. Biden's campaign plane landed at FLL at about 1:18 p.m. After the plane's arrival near the FBO, he walked down the staircase at 1:31 p.m., trailing his granddaughter, Natalie. Mr. Biden briefly waved to the pool before deplaning but did not stop for questions. He was wearing a blue suit and a striped tie, a light blue face-mask and aviator sunglasses.
Passing along details from the Biden campaign on the first drive-in event in Coconut Creek, Fla. Speakers include Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns, Victor Oladipo and Matt Barnes, and several elected officials from Broward County.
Mr. Biden will be introduced by Patricia and Manuel Oliver. The couple's 17-year-old son Joaquin was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on February 14, 2018.
On background from the Biden Campaign:
Today, Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in Coconut Creek in Broward County and Tampa Bay in Hillsborough County in Florida, where he’ll speak at drive-in rallies to mobilize voters ahead of the last weekend of in-person early voting.
Florida has more than 786,000 positive COVID-19 cases and more than 16,500 deaths.
In Coconut Creek, Biden will speak at a drive-in rally at Broward College and encourage Floridians to vote as Florida prepares for the final weekend of in-person early voting. Voters can currently vote early, in-person through November 1 in Broward and Hillsborough Counties or vote on Election Day. Early voting continues in many counties, including Broward County, until Sunday, November 1.
Vice President Biden was last in Broward County on October 13 for a mobilization event in Miramar, Florida.
Broward College is a public college in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is part of the Florida College System, which is the publicly funded community college system in Florida. The college has close to 5,000 part-time and full-time faculty and staff and serves over 63,000 students annually.
Speakers today include:
Coconut Creek Mayor Lou Sarbone
Commissioner Mark Bogen
Mayor Dale Holness
Danu Rojzman, field organizer
State Representative-Elect and Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky
State Representative Bobby Dubose
State Senator-Elect Tina Polsky
State Senator Kevin Rader
State Senator Perry Thurston
Cori Lopez, field organizer
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schutlz
NBA players Karl-Anthony Town, Victor Oladipo, and Matt Barnes
Vice President Biden will be introduced by Patricia and Manuel Oliver.
Patricia and Manuel Oliver’s 17-year-old son Joaquin was killed at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. Patricia and Manny have become outspoken advocates for common-sense gun safety. Originally from Venezuela, Patricia and Manny have also been advocates for comprehensive legislative reform, a subject that Joaquin worked to advance.
Mr. Biden's motorcade arrived on the campus of Broward College at 1:56 p.m. We did not see him exit his SUV. During the drive from the airport, the motorcade passed a scattered number of supporters from both campaigns, including one man who waved a Trump campaign flag outside a suburban office building.
The campaign says there are 201 cars here at the venue. Many people are seated on the hood of their vehicles or standing nearby as we await Mr. Biden's remarks under temperatures of 90 degrees F.
As we arrived, Biden supporters waved blue campaign signs and swayed to the 1980s power ballad "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," by Aretha Franklin and George Michael.
Your pooler will tweet out some photos of the event. The rally will be live-streamed on the campaign website.
Here's a rundown of the drive-in event at Broward College, which was livestreamed.
Mr. Biden, wearing aviator sunglasses and a blue collared dress-shirt, took the stage at 2:30 p.m. and addressed the crowd of about 200 cars for roughly 24 minutes. His remarks stuck closely to his stump speech but here are a few highlights.
He praised the Florida couple who introduced him, Patricia and Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son, Joaquin, was killed at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018. The high school is about 10 miles from the campus of Broward College, where the rally was held.
“It takes a lot of courage to stand up and talk. You feel like you have a black hole ripped into the middle of your chest and you’re being sucked into.” He also thanked the students who participated in the March For Our Lives “to take on the NRA and win. We’re going to help us all turn tragedy into purpose.”
He also thanked Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and former NBA player Matt Barnes for speaking at the event. Noting that he was in South Florida, the home of the NBA’s Miami Heat, he asked, “Am I allowed to say nice things about the Miami Heat even though I come from Sixers’ country? I apologize for that. But I want to tell you, they made it to the (NBA) Finals full of grit and toughness.” He said Mr. Towns “knows what it’s like to deal with this coronavirus,” noting that Mr. Towns’ mother, Jacqueline, died of the coronavirus in April.
“Five days left, folks!” Mr. Biden said, pointing to Florida’s prominence on the nation’s political battlegroup map. “You hold the key. If Florida goes blue, it’s over. It’s over,” prompting cars to honk their horns.
He reiterated his criticism of the president’s handling of the coronavirus, saying the president has “waved the white flag, abandoned our families and surrendered to the virus.”
“But the American people don’t give up, we don’t give in and we surely don’t cower, nor will I under any circumstances,” Mr. Biden said.
“I’m not going to shut down the economy, I’m not going to shut down the country. But I’m going to shut down the virus.”
He said Mr. Trump inherited a strong economy from the Obama-Biden administration. “We can build back and we can build back better with an economy that begins to reward work, not wealth. We can do it without raising taxes not on a single person making less than $400,000 a year, I promise you that, my word. But if you make $400,000 and above, you’re going to start paying your fair share.”
He also noted Mr. Trump’s recent tax bills. “Why should you pay more taxes than Donald Trump pays? That’s a fact - $750 dollars.”
“He games the system at your expense!”
Mr. Biden turned to the recent Supreme Court nomination fight, saying the president wanted to use the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. He also paid tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “We need to vote for the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” he said, pointing to her friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia despite their disagreements.
Mr. Biden discussed racial justice, saying of Mr. Trump, “He won’t even say ‘Black Lives Matter.” Discussing the summer protests following the police-custody death of George Floyd, he said the lives of Mr. Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake would not be forgotten.
He also discussed the Trump administration’s policy toward Cuba and Latin America. He said under Mr. Trump, “Cuba is no closer to freedom and democracy today than it was four years ago.” He accused Mr. Trump of embracing autocrats around the world. “Trump is the worst possible standard-bearer for democracy in places like Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.”
Mr. Biden also urged Floridians to vote to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. “This guy doesn’t understand much of anything. You’ve all seen the impact, more than most, (of) devastating hurricanes that lay waste to whole communities. The economic toll is astounding, it grows every year, and the human toll is worse - lost lives, lost homes, small businesses shattered, first responders put at risk.”
Mr. Biden concluded his remarks with a call for unity, pointing to his recent speeches in Gettysburg, Pa., and this week in Warm Springs, Ga. He reiterated that while he was running as a Democrat, he would seek to serve all Americans.
“In 2008 and 2012, Florida placed their trust in me and Barack and each day we were in office we worked as hard for you and the entire country as we did for not red states, blue states - it was always the United States of America.”
He concluded by telling the attendees that they had a “sacred duty” to vote and urged them to visit the website https://iwillvote.com/.
“I promise you, if you elect me, when I’m wrong, I will acknowledge it, I will take responsibility. But I’ll tell you what, I’m going to unite this country and we’re going to move like we haven’t in a long time.”
The pool is holding in the bus right now, awaiting Mr. Biden's departure from the college.
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