Joseph R. Biden Jr. will visit Iowa this week, he said on Monday, a sign of confidence that suggests his campaign is significantly expanding his electoral map to just eight days of the presidential race.
“I’m going to Iowa, going to Wisconsin, I’m going to Georgia, I’m going to Florida and maybe other places too,” Mr Biden said during a stop at a polling center in Chester . , Pa.
And in a remarkably bold statement for a Democratic presidential candidate, Mr Biden said he would win Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, three critical battlefield states that could be his key to victory. He also said he believed he had a “fighting chance” in Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa, states that were once considered reach for Democrats, but that recent polls indicate they are now up for grabs.
“I’m not too sure about anything,” Biden said. “I just want to make sure we can win all the votes we can.”
“This blue wall must be re-established,” he added, referring to the northern battlefield states, which are traditionally democratic.
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Mr Biden’s call to resuscitate the “blue wall,” which Donald J. Trump knocked down in 2016, and his announcement of a last intense push that includes visits to Iowa and Georgia, both saying Mr Trump has won hands down, suggest the Biden campaign feels in a strong position as it approaches the home stretch.
It also comes as some Democrats have privately expressed concern over Mr Biden’s relatively light schedule during the coronavirus pandemic even though he leads the polls. He visited Pennsylvania on Saturday, but his only in person Sunday, he went to church near his home in Delaware. (He also made a cameo appearance at a virtual concert hosted by his campaign.)
His cautious approach to the campaign drew ridicule from Mr. Trump, who mocked his opponent at his third rally of the day in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania. “He said he didn’t do these kinds of gatherings because of Covid,” Mr. Trump told a large crowd gathered in an airport hangar, after throwing red caps into the audience. “No, he’s not doing them because no one is showing up.”
And at another rally Monday in Lititz, Pa., The president mocked Mr. Biden for his limited travel schedule, saying if the former vice president lost, “he should be ashamed of himself- even because he wasn’t working. “
Moments after Mr Biden revealed his plans, his campaign provided more details on his travel schedule, indicating he would be visiting Iowa and Wisconsin on Friday. His campaign had already announced his intention to visit Georgia on Tuesday and Florida on Thursday.
Trying to avoid criticism of his trip, Mr Biden explained on Monday his cautious approach to the campaign during the pandemic.
“The big difference between us and why it seems like we don’t travel – we don’t put on super spreaders,” he says.
It is not uncommon for campaigns to make late forays into distant states, sometimes to force opponents to devote more resources there and sometimes to help candidates vote in the Senate or House. But polls suggest Mr Biden is competitive in both Georgia and Iowa, where Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield is also in a tight race. An average of current polls shows Mr Biden has a narrow three percentage point margin over Mr Trump in Iowa, according to The Upshot’s calculator, and roughly tied with the president in Georgia.
Mr. Biden’s timing over the final week of the campaign may raise questions about whether his campaign is overconfident in his election prospects in crucial battlefields like Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states Mr. Trump narrowly won in 2016. Mr. Biden’s decision to travel to Wisconsin, another Midwestern swing state that Mr. Trump wore in 2016, also suggests his campaign may be more wary of his chances there. .
Mr. Trump spent Monday focused on Pennsylvania. At his first rally, in Allentown, the President tore up Mr Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, in humble and personal terms, saying, “She won’t be the first female president – you can’t. let that happen. Mr. Trump also mocked the way she laughed during his ’60 minute’ interview on Sunday.
The President went on to offer caustic negative assessments of other prominent women who he said had treated him badly – CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and President Nancy Pelosi. Moments later, he launched his appeal for “suburban women,” despite polls showing him behind Mr Biden among suburban women in battlefield states by more than 20 percentage points.
Vice President Mike Pence, whose office faces a coronavirus outbreak, was also on the trail Monday in Minnesota, where the Trump campaign raised hopes of victory.
Annie Karni contributed reporting.