Biden hits the campaign trail to tout a string of political wins

·5 min read
Biden hits the campaign trail to tout a string of political wins

President Joe Biden hit the campaign trail on Thursday to highlight a series of policy wins as Democrats look to keep their narrow majorities in Congress during this fall's elections.

"I just want to be crystal clear on what's on the ballot this year," he said at a Democratic National Committee rally in front of a friendly Rockville, Maryland, crowd as he underscored what he felt should be on voters' minds in November: abortion rights, Social Security, climate change and more.

"Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot," he said. "The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot. And it's not hyperbole -- the very survival of our planet is on the ballot. Your right to vote is on the ballot."

"Are you ready to fight for these things now?" he asked to cheers. "Well, then you need to do one thing: Vote! Vote!"

Elsewhere in his speech, Biden tripled-down on his argument about what losing power to Republicans would do to basic American institutions, given the events around Jan. 6, while the GOP has pilloried him for high gas prices, historic inflation and more -- and with polls showing Americans feeling sour on Biden's handling of economic issues.

As he's said before, Biden said Thursday that "Donald Trump isn't just a former president -- he is a defeated former president" -- because so many people turned out in 2020.

"Now you need to vote to literally save democracy again," he said in Rockville.

"MAGA Republicans don't just threaten our personal rights and economic security," Biden said. "They're a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace political violence. They don't believe in democracy."

Biden's rally, in a high school gym in the solidly Democratic suburbs of Washington, kicked off what officials say will be a ramped-up campaign schedule ahead of the midterm elections. He traveled to Maryland in part to stump for Wes Moore, the state's Democratic candidate for governor.

He planned to "lay out the choice before Americans" in his speech at the DNC rally, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier told reporters.

PHOTO: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., Aug. 25, 2022.  (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., Aug. 25, 2022. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 24, 2022. (Evan Vucci/AP)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 24, 2022. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Biden's appearance, happening exactly 75 days out from Election Day, comes after a string of summer legislative victories: the first major piece of gun reform in decades, Democrats' landmark health care and climate change law and a bipartisan effort to boost semiconductor production in the U.S.

"He'll highlight how he and congressional Democrats have delivered results for working families," Jean-Pierre said as she teased his speech Thursday night. "Creating nearly 10 million jobs and record low unemployment, lowering health care costs and energy costs, passing a new gun safety law, which we hadn't seen in decades."

"And he'll say that they have taken on special interest and won, that's what Democrats have done," Jean-Pierre added.

Earlier this week, the administration announced a plan to cancel thousands of dollars of student loan debt for millions of borrowers -- fulfilling one pledge Biden made as a 2020 presidential candidate.

At the rally, Biden called it "a game changer."

The policy has been lambasted by Republicans as unfair, and while many Democrats have celebrated the plan, some lawmakers in tough reelection races have distanced themselves from it.

MORE: Biden's student loan move shaped by intense political pressure, barrage of GOP criticism

Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democratic Senate nominee in Ohio, was critical of the move as sending "the wrong message to millions of Ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet."

"Are you guys worried that you might have put more vulnerable Democrats in a tough spot? That you could have risked some of these races in November," ABC News White House Correspondent MaryAlice Parks asked Jean-Pierre at Thursday's briefing.

"I'm not going to get into politics and to what the next several weeks are going to look like," Jean-Pierre responded. "But I can speak to the popularity of what we did, the importance of what we did, how this is going to help struggling families, and that has always been the plan of this president, especially as we look at the economy and making sure that we do not leave anybody behind."

PHOTO: President Joe Biden kneels to pose for a picture as he participates in a Democratic National Committee rally at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., Aug. 25, 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden kneels to pose for a picture as he participates in a Democratic National Committee rally at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., Aug. 25, 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

In his rally appearance, Biden warned, in his words, about what Republicans in Congress would do if they are able to regain majority control -- drawing on statements prominent GOP leaders have made about abortion access and gun rights.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade -- the landmark decision legalizing abortion access nationwide -- at least 15 states (many led by Republicans) have ceased nearly all abortion services. Some Republicans in Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have floated the idea of a national ban on abortion.

MORE: Yes, Special Elections Really Are Signaling A Better-Than-Expected Midterm For Democrats

"He'll say what they are still fighting for is protecting a woman's right to choose, not a national ban on abortion, which we have seen from the other side," Jean-Pierre said earlier Thursday. "The safety of kids in school, not protecting the NRA, as we've seen from the Republicans and the right to vote and have the -- that vote counted, which is so incredibly important as we talk about our democracy."

In Maryland, Biden called the Democrats' party-line climate, tax and health bill "a big deal -- some might even say it's a BFD," he said, in winking reference to his own four-letter comment about the Affordable Care Act years ago.

"This year the American people won, and the climate deniers lost," he said

He also praised the outgoing Maryland governor, Larry Hogan: "I respect conservative Republicans. I don't respect these MAGA Republicans."

ABC News' Justin Gomez contributed to this report.

Biden hits the campaign trail to tout a string of political wins originally appeared on abcnews.go.com