Biden, Obama and Trump converge on Pennsylvania

The intense attention in Pennsylvania comes days before the state can determine which party controls the Senate 50-50. And the state should be at the center of presidential politics for the next two years, especially if Biden and Trump face off again.

Fetterman and Obama started the day with a rally in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. The lieutenant governor has the best chance of any Democratic Senate candidate to flip a seat this election, with the retirement of GOP Sen. Pat Toomey spawning an unpleasant and costly race to replace him.

Obama, dressed in a blue button-up shirt, spoke after Fetterman, who had taken the stage in his black hoodie. The former president addressed the crowd on a range of issues from abortion to gun violence and denounced Republican politicians as having no plan to tackle inflation and rising crime.

“Pennsylvania, you have a choice between politicians who seem willing to say anything and do anything to get power, and people who see you, care about you, and share your values,” said Barack Obama.

But a once-large Democratic poll lead in the race has shrunk following a barrage of Republican attacks on the crime issue — and a difficult debate by Fetterman, who is recovering from a stroke he suffered this spring.

Obama and Fetterman were scheduled to join Biden and Shapiro on the Temple University campus in Philadelphia in the afternoon. Biden’s appearance is notable in part because the Democratic president, whose national approval rating sits in the 1940s, campaigned extensively in blue states this fall, including Oregon and California, while mostly avoiding places he only narrowly won two years ago.

The visit also comes hours before the Philadelphia Phillies are set to face the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the World Series in Houston. First Lady Jill Biden attended a previous game in Philadelphia.

Trump will be in Latrobe, about an hour east of Pittsburgh, on Saturday night with Oz and Mastriano, who have rarely appeared together while taking very different approaches to campaigning in the swing state.

Mastriano leaned into the party base while making few attempts to reach moderate voters and trailed Shapiro significantly in public polls, while Oz sought to appeal to suburban voters in an effort to form a winning coalition.

Trump is counting heavily on Republican success in Pennsylvania, especially after he endorsed Oz in the wide-open GOP primary earlier this year. His super PAC, MAGA Inc., has also spent millions on ads supporting Oz in recent weeks.

The former president also hinted at a rally in Iowa Thursday night that he could announce a 2024 presidential election in the coming weeks. Pennsylvania is among the states that would be of particular importance in a Biden-Trump rematch, as it was the state that put the Democratic president above the 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College two years ago.

A third former president also took part in the campaign trail on Saturday in one state: Bill Clinton joined New York Governor Kathy Hochul at a rally in Brooklyn, hoping to boost his race more close than expected with Rep. Lee Zeldin. They were joined by the Senate Majority Leader chuck schumer and New York Mayor Eric Adams. A day earlier, Vice President Kamala Harris had also campaigned for Hochul during a visit to New York.

“Why is it a close race? Because of inflation. When the cost of living goes up, it’s unsettling for people,” Clinton told the crowd.

“But just take a moment and really think,” he continued. “The Democrats, led by our governor, are actually doing something to cut costs and improve public safety.”

Meanwhile, Zeldin was upstate on Saturday, with several campaign stops in the Hudson Valley. He is set to host an evening rally in Chester with former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democrat MP turned Republican surrogate.

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