With conventions over, Trump and Biden campaigns shift focus to battleground states

The tickets led by President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are hitting the campaign trail for the final two-month stretch of the 2020 election with the party conventions now behind them.

Trump, again the underdog according to polls, will travel to New Hampshire on Friday for his first campaign event after delivering a Thursday night Republican National Convention speech at the White House.

His RNC renomination acceptance speech speech brought 1,500 supporters to the White House South Lawn for a de facto rally that concluded with fireworks that spelled his name.

Biden, mocked by Republicans for campaigning from his basement amid the coronavirus pandemic, also announced plans to visit battleground states.

At a Thursday fundraiser with trial lawyers, Biden said he would visit Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin before Election Day.

“I’m going to be going up into Wisconsin, and Minnesota, spending time in Pennsylvania, out in Arizona,” Biden said.

In a jab at Trump’s generally non-socially distanced, largely non-mask-wearing rallies, Biden said, “we’re going to do it in a way that is totally consistent with being responsible, unlike what this guy’s doing.”

The Democrat said Trump is “throwing every major rule in the dustbin… he’s totally irresponsible.”

Both Trump and Biden will lean heavily on their running mates.

Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Duluth, Minn., on Friday for a “Workers for Trump” gathering. Later in the day, Pence will host an event in Traverse City, Mich. On Tuesday, Pence will campaign in Exeter, northeastern Pennsylvania.

Biden running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) heads to swing-state Florida on Saturday for a kickoff event for a pro-Biden group of Hispanic businesspeople. The event will feature a roundtable discussion.

Hours before Trump spoke at the White House on Thursday, Harris delivered remarks in Washington, DC, in an attempted counter-programming move.

Trump has significant power to control the national news agenda, even without hosting mega-rallies that defined his 2016 campaign. He regularly has multiple press engagements a day and recently resumed significant domestic travel following months of being cooped up in the White House due to COVID-19.

Biden, taking a page of Trump’s playbook, phoned into two news channels on Thursday after facing criticism for taking few reporter questions.

The candidates will meet in person for a series of three debates ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.

Trump unsuccessfully asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to reschedule one of the debates with Biden to early September, so voters could tune in before casting mail-in ballots. Biden’s campaign refused Trump’s request for more debates.

The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by an Oct. 15 debate in Miami, Fla., and an Oct. 22 debate in Nashville, Tenn.

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