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Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day

The Hill
The Hill
 2021-10-27
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ARLINGTON, Va. — President Biden hit the campaign trail with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday as Election Day in the commonwealth reaches its final stretch.

Biden used the speech, which lasted more than 15 minutes, to urge voters to head to the polls, warning that a victory for Republican Glenn Youngkin would be a victory for former President Trump .

“I ran against Donald Trump, and Terry is running against an acolyte of Donald Trump,” Biden told the crowd.

“[Youngkin] doesn’t like to talk about it very much now, but to win the Republican nomination, he embraced Donald Trump,” he continued.

A source familiar with the planning of the event said 2,500 people were in attendance.

The former president went on to question why Youngkin and Trump have not appeared together on the campaign trailing, asking, “Is he embarrassed?”

Biden called both of the Republicans extreme but took a particular shot at Youngkin, saying extremism “can come in a smile and a fleece vest.”

Biden also commented on a recent ad from Youngkin that featured a Fairfax County mother who pushed to have the 1987 novel "Beloved" banned from her son's English curriculum in Fairfax County roughly eight years ago.

"He's gone from banning a woman's right to choose to banning books written by a Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison,” Biden said.

McAuliffe and his Democratic allies have gone on the offensive on the ad since it was aired on Tuesday. The Democrat’s campaign staff handed out copies of the book to press at the rally.

Biden’s visit comes ahead of one of the most critical weeks in his presidency to date. The president is working to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a massive social spending package through Capitol Hill while preparing to meet with world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Rome later this week and at next week’s United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Many view the Old Dominion’s gubernatorial race as a bellwether for next year’s midterm elections. McAuliffe also comes from Biden’s more moderate wing of the Democratic Party. Polling shows Biden’s approval rating ticking down in Virginia, with a recent Monmouth University survey revealing Biden’s approval rating down to 43 percent, while his disapproval rating was at 52 percent.

Polls between McAuliffe and Youngkin have tightened, which has caused some Democrats to worry. Most polls show the two neck-and-neck, or with McAuliffe leading within the margin of error.

Democrats say they hope appearances from a Biden, former President Obama , first lady Jill Biden and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will galvanize Democrats just days out from Election Day.

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