Biden Turns Up Heat on Trump With Swing State Travel Blitz

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden warned that Donald Trump and Republicans would move to enact a national abortion ban as he kicked off a travel blitz designed to seize on momentum from his State of the Union address and emphasize the stakes of a rematch with his predecessor.

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Biden plans to visit five 2024 swing states over the next week, starting with a trip Friday to his birthplace of Pennsylvania and a Saturday stop in Georgia, a traditional Republican bastion he narrowly won in 2020. Biden at a rally near Philadelphia chided Trump for having “bragged” about the Supreme Court ruling ending nationwide abortion rights.

“Our freedoms really are on the ballot this November,” Biden said. “If we take back Congress, we will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.”

The new push signals the general election is beginning in earnest, after Trump all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination with a near-sweep of Super Tuesday primaries that drove his last remaining rival, Nikki Haley, out of the race.

Biden’s campaign announced plans earlier Friday to launch a $30 million, six-week paid media effort and hire new staff and volunteers in swing states.

“This is the key juncture,” Biden campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon told reporters, adding that the president’s team is laying out the “clear choice” for voters in November and doing “the work that we need to do to make that choice clearer.”

Polls show Biden trailing Trump both nationally and in battleground states. Democrats have urged the president’s campaign to step up the president’s public appearances in order to parry deep voter concerns about his age and draw a contrast with Trump.

Read More: Biden Jump-Starts 2024 Race in State of the Union Aimed at Trump

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will visit every battleground state in the next month, the campaign said. The president next week will stop in New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin while Harris, starting Friday, is traveling to Arizona and Nevada on trips designed to appeal to Latino voters.

Wisconsin and Michigan, along with Pennsylvania, comprises the so-called “Blue Wall” of must-win states for Democratic presidential candidates. Trump punctured it in 2016, winning all three in his defeat of Hillary Clinton, while Biden won them all back in 2020.

Pressing Trump on the abortion issue will be key to winning back suburban voters, women and moderates who were key to Biden’s victory four years ago.

Trump will also be in Georgia on Saturday, albeit in a different area. It’s the second time in two weeks the opponents will make dueling appearances in the same state. The president and his predecessor spoke at the US-Mexico border in Texas last week on immigration, a defining issue in the November election.

Earlier: Swing-State Residents Lead Misery Index as 2024 Election Ignites

Biden’s advertising campaign will place spots drawing contrasts with Trump in crucial states on television channels, such as Comedy Central and ESPN, as well as Black and Hispanic-owned media outlets, the campaign said. The president’s operation also intends to open 100 new offices and bring on at least 350 new staff members in key states.

The effort underscores the Biden team’s belief that a ground game will be crucial to turn out enough voters to win in November. Biden conducted his 2020 race against Trump primarily with virtual events during the coronavirus pandemic. The president’s campaign has already hired more than 100 staff in swing states, while ramping up recruiting of volunteers to have face-to-face and online conversations with voters.

Read More: Biden Appeals to Haley Voters as Anti-Trump Candidate Exits Race

Biden’s campaign has downplayed polls showing the president trailing, saying many Americans have yet to start paying attention to the election. They see attracting disaffected voters who have been tuned out as crucial to winning in November.

The president this week directly appealed to members of Haley’s anti-Trump coalition of traditional Republicans, independents and some Democrats, saying in a statement after her exit “there is a place for them in my campaign.”

Arguably Biden’s biggest advantage over Trump is the $700 million pledged by allied groups. Trump, meanwhile, has struggled to attract major donors and spends millions on his legal defense in four separate criminal cases.

--With assistance from Josh Wingrove.

(Updates with Biden remarks, starting in first paragraph.)

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