WASHINGTON. During a visit to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania last week, President Joe Biden praised Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, calling him a “hell of a man” and a “strong voice for workers.”
“He would be a great senator for the United States,” Biden said.
However, the deputy governor of the state, Fetterman, was absent. The campaign said a previously scheduled fundraiser forced Fetterman to miss a public safety event at the White House.
Biden is a full-contact campaigner known for hugging supporters, telling stories about life in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and giving passionate speeches about babies. But even as his previously erratic approval ratings improve, it’s unclear how often the president has been asked to join Democratic candidates in key states and congressional districts.
“If this had happened two months ago, I think most of the Democratic candidates in many of these states would not want to face him,” said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron. “Now, it’s not necessarily a huge resource for a lot of these campaigns, but it’s not a burden on tickets either.”
70 days before the midterm elections, Biden started his first campaign. This week, his plan will clash with three Democratic Senate candidates in a landmark race, testing whether they see him as an obstacle or a strength in their campaigns.
Democracy is in danger. “MAGA troops” are determined to “take back the country,” Biden said in a speech from Philadelphia.
Labor Day visit to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania
On Monday, Biden will visit Pittsburgh and Milwaukee for Labor Day events, where he will meet with Fetterman and Democratic Wisconsin Senate candidate Mandela Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor. On Friday, Biden will travel to Licking County, Ohio. Establishment of Intel’s semiconductor manufacturing plant. U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, confirmed he will be there as well.
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It is not clear how warmly they received the president.
The Barnes campaign did not say whether Barnes, who also traveled to Racine and Madison, Wis., the same day, would attend with the president. Although Fetterman planned to meet with Biden in Pittsburgh, the campaign sparked controversy with the president ahead of his visit, saying he hoped to speak with Biden “about the need to eventually decriminalize marijuana.”
“I don’t think any of these candidates will embrace Biden in public, but I think they’ll definitely be together at some of these events,” Cohen said. He added that this does not mean that they will offer the president to return to the electoral path.
The president’s visit comes after Biden delivered a prime-time address on Thursday in which he warned that former President Donald Trump and his “MAGA troops” were a threat to American democracy and urged America to “vote, vote.”
Most polls show Fetterman and Barnes leading their races against Mehmed Oz and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, respectively. Even Ryan, who will rally in hot Ohio, is going head-to-head with Republican JD Vance. Several polls put Ryan ahead as Democrats sought to play off the initially bleak expectations about their Senate prospects.
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Ryan, who favored as a centrist Democrat and opposed Biden’s recent decision to pay off student loan debt, did not attend this year’s White House events in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Intel’s new launch was not a political event, and there were no Biden-Ryan rallies.
“He has no intention of inviting the president to campaign here,” said Izzy Levy, representative of Ryan’s pre-election campaign.
White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said Biden “loves to get out and meet the American people” when asked how often the president plans to campaign for an interim nominee. “He wants to be out there and travel as much as possible.”
He did not mention Ryan’s decision not to invite the president to Ohio.
Biden’s high approval rating lessens the damage done to Democratic candidates
Biden experienced a setback in his approval rating, returning to a figure that had previously dipped below 40%. After a string of congressional wins by lawmakers and low gas prices, a Gallup poll showed 44% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, his highest score in a single. General: According to a new CBS News poll, Biden’s approval rating is 45%. A Quinnipiac University poll showed that Biden’s approval rating increased by 9 points compared to last month, reaching 40%.
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However, according to the same survey, Biden’s activity was negatively assessed by the majority of Americans.
“The reality now is that his resignation is more important than his approval,” said David Paleologos, director of the Center for Policy Studies at Suffolk University in Boston. Still, he called Biden’s “State of the Democracy” speech last week a “potential launching pad” for visits to Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, noting that the Republican Senate nominee has strong ties to Trump in each. .
In a speech at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Biden warned that “equality and democracy are at risk,” calling out Trump and his supporters for denying the results of the 2020 presidential election and refusing to condemn the January 6 attack on the United States. , 2021. House of Representatives.
“It kind of reinforces the theme that he brought up,” Paleologos said of the president’s upcoming visit to the Rust Belt trio.
Democrats are enjoying a recent victory
Democrats, once braced for a lopsided midterm election, have found new reason for optimism after winning early congressional elections.
There is evidence that Democrats are emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade: In recent weeks, Biden and Democrats have passed major legislation, culminating in the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes historic climate change funding and gives Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices.
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Survey trends. A majority of Americans want to be able to support abortion rights on state ballots, according to a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll.
“Biden and his accomplishments are assets, and I think what the Democrats are going through is what he can achieve,” said Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser at the Democratic National Committee and Biden’s White House caucus. former assistant. . . House. “If the president or the vice president come to see me, I will support them because you support their achievements.”
However, Richmond said candidates should do the necessary campaigning in their states and territories.
“If those things conflict with statewide visits, sometimes they will.”
Connect with Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison.
This article was originally published on USA TODAY. Biden’s political strength will be tested during the midterm elections.