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Biden to Slam GOP as Democracy Threat in Rare Prime-Time Speech

·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden plans to deliver a prime-time speech Thursday in Philadelphia assailing Republicans for what he regards as their threats to US rights and freedoms, seeking to buoy his own party’s prospects in the upcoming midterm elections.

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Biden will speak about the continued “battle for the soul of the nation,” according to a White House official, reviving a theme from his successful 2020 campaign against President Donald Trump. He’ll deliver his remarks from Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park, a storied backdrop that’s home to the Liberty Bell and was the site of the signing of the US Constitution.

The president will warn that the country’s core values, including democracy itself, are at stake, the White House official said, previewing the speech on condition of anonymity. He’ll stress that it’s his party fighting to preserve American rights, freedoms and democracy, the official said.

Biden has recently escalated his critiques of “extreme MAGA Republicans,” using an acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” catchphrase. He has pointed to Republican efforts to ban or heavily restrict abortion access after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, as well as laws passed in GOP-led states following the 2020 election that restricted access to the ballot, in answer to Trump’s false claims that Biden’s victory was fraudulent.

Biden’s speech comes as he escalates his midterm campaigning on the heels of a series of summer policy moves -- including breakthroughs on a pair of major bills in Congress and a move to cancel some student debt. Biden’s approval rating has rebounded -- jumping to 44% in August from a low of 38% the month before, polling from Gallup found. He continues to face headwinds from soaring inflation and the threat of a recession as the Federal Reserve tries to quell price growth.

Biden has sharpened attacks on Republicans in a bid to reframe the midterm elections, which are historically punishing for first-term presidents.

“Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans have made their choice: to go backwards, full of anger, violence, hate, and division,” Biden said last week at a rally in Maryland, which served as a de facto launch of his midterm campaign. “This fall, there will be a choice between these two visions. And we must take our case to the American people and be crystal clear about it.”

The speech also comes as Trump continues to sow widespread conspiracies and doubt in the election process. On Monday, he called for his 2020 election defeat to be overturned. Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, was searched by federal officials looking for documents improperly removed from the White House.

Biden’s trip is one of three to Pennsylvania that he will make over the course of a week -- he’s headed to Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday and Pittsburgh next Monday, Labor Day. Pennsylvania is a key swing state and has an open Senate race that will go a long way to determining control of the chamber.

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