HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Joe Biden is using a visit to Florida before next week's midterm elections to underline the contrast between the Democratic and Republican agendas, blasting the GOP over proposals to undo prescription drug price caps and change Social Security and Medicare.
Biden’s trip Tuesday will include taxpayer-funded remarks in Hallandale Beach, where the White House said he would highlight Republicans’ “very different vision” for America. Also on Biden's schedule — a fundraiser for Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and a rally for the state’s Democratic Party, including Senate candidate Val Demings.
The visit to Florida, where Democrats are trailing in both the Senate and the gubernatorial races, may appear counterintuitive just one week before polls close in the midterm elections when so many other races are tighter. Yet Biden allies say it exemplifies the president's efforts to go where he can be helpful — Florida Democrats are hoping Biden can help boost base turnout — but also to drive a message that vulnerable Democrats can amplify nationwide.
“The contrast could not be starker, and the choice could not be more clear," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Biden has avoided appearing with some of the Democrats' most embattled candidates, including Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock and Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, but his aides insist he can be helpful from afar by talking about GOP policies they believe voters find objectionable. Biden is set to campaign in New Mexico on Thursday, California on Friday and Pennsylvania on Saturday.
Republicans are bullish on their prospects across Florida as voter registration trends and demographic shifts suggest the state will continue shifting to the right.
Democrats are particularly concerned about the trend in Miami-Dade County, home to 1.5 million Hispanics of voting age and a Democratic stronghold for the past 20 years, where the GOP made significant gains in the last presidential election. Republicans, such as Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, are openly predicting that the region will turn red on Nov. 8.
Should Democrats lose Miami-Dade, it would virtually eliminate their path to victory in statewide contests, including presidential elections, moving forward.
Biden has seized on Florida Sen. Rick Scott's February proposal to sunset all federal legislation after five years, which the president says would require Congress to reauthorize Medicare and Social Security, as emblematic of what he's termed the “ultra-MAGA” agenda Democrats are running against.
Besides Scott's plan, the White House said Biden would emphasize other GOP proposals that affect older Americans, including raising the retirement age and repealing Medicare's ability to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers and the $2,000-a-year cap on out-of-pocket drug costs included in Democrats' August health care and climate law.
Associated Press National Political Writer Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this story.
Follow the AP's coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections