In op­po­si­tion: Trump and Bi­den speak strongly at stump stops.

The Washington Post Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOHN WAG­NER Philip Rucker con­trib­uted. john.wag­ner@wash­

Pres­i­dent Trump and former vice pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den is­sued du­el­ing warn­ings Satur­day about the dire con­se­quences of the other’s party emerg­ing from Tues­day’s midterm elec­tions with con­trol of Congress.

Ap­pear­ing in Ohio, Bi­den as­serted that Repub­li­cans want to strip in­sur­ance cov­er­age from peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing health con­di­tions and “evis­cer­ate” Medi­care and So­cial Se­cu­rity, two of the coun­try’s pop­u­lar en­ti­tle­ment pro­grams.

Bi­den also sought to frame the elec­tion as a ref­er­en­dum on Trump’s lead­er­ship, re­lay­ing that for­eign lead­ers with whom he con­tin­ues to speak have been taken aback by many of the pres­i­dent’s ac­tions.

“The very char­ac­ter of our coun­try is on the bal­lot on Tues­day,” Bi­den said in Parma Heights, Ohio, where he ap­peared along­side Demo­cratic Se­nate and gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates. “Folks, all the world’s look­ing.”

At a Mon­tana rally a few hours later, Trump as­serted that the real dan­ger would be a takeover of Congress by “rad­i­cal Democrats.”

“This elec­tion will de­cide whether we build on the ex­tra­or­di­nary pros­per­ity that we’ve achieved or whether we let the rad­i­cal Democrats take con­trol of Congress and take a gi­ant wreck­ing ball to our econ­omy and to the fu­ture of our na­tion,” Trump said.

He also ac­cused Demo­cratic lead­ers of push­ing for “so­cial­ist” health care and want­ing to “erase” U.S. bor­ders and “in­vite car­a­van af­ter car­a­van” of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants into the coun­try.

The pres­i­dent car­ried a sim­i­lar mes­sage to Pen­sacola, Fla., where he seized on the troop mo­bi­liza­tion at the bor­der to ar­gue that Repub­li­cans, not Democrats, were best able to keep ci­ti­zens safe. “I watched that barbed wire be­ing put down. Barbed wire,” Trump told thou­sands of sup­port­ers at the air­plane-hangar rally. Re­fer­ring to the mi­grants, he said: “We don’t want that in our coun­try. We’re not go­ing to have it in our coun­try.”

The re­spec­tive speeches came amid a fi­nal push by lu­mi­nar­ies in both par­ties to drive up turnout for elec­tions that will de­ter­mine con­trol of Congress, dozens of gov­er­nor­ships and down-bal­lot races around the coun­try.

A day af­ter ac­knowl­edg­ing that Repub­li­cans could lose the House on Tues­day, Trump largely fo­cused on Se­nate and gu­ber­na­to­rial races.

Democrats need to net 23 seats to take the House and need to gain two seats to win the ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, where the map is more fa­vor­able to Repub­li­cans.

Trump’s ap­pear­ance in Mon­tana was his fourth on be­half of Repub­li­can Matt Rosendale, who is seek­ing to knock off Sen. Jon Tester (D) there. Trump has trained his sights on Tester in part for his role in sink­ing Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of Ronny L. Jack­son to lead the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in April. Tester, rank­ing Demo­crat on the Se­nate Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, re­leased a list of al­le­ga­tions that por­trayed a long his­tory of pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct by Jack­son.

“I’ve never for­got­ten it, and hon­estly, it’s one of the rea­sons I’ve been here so much,” Trump told his crowd. “Jon Tester tried to ruin him.”

At the rally, he also plugged the re­elec­tion of Rep. Greg Gian­forte (R-Mont.), who gar­nered na­tional head­lines for as­sault­ing a re­porter last year. “He is fan­tas­tic,” Trump said of Gian­forte, adding that he is “very re­spected in Wash­ing­ton.”

Upon leav­ing Bel­grade, Mont., Trump headed to an­other rally in Florida, which also has a mar­quee Se­nate race this year.

In Florida, Trump is also try­ing to bol­ster the for­tunes of Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­ful Ron DeSan­tis, a can­di­date he en­dorsed dur­ing the GOP pri­mary, who has been lag­ging in polls be­hind Demo­crat An­drew Gil­lum. If elected, Gil­lum would be the state’s first black gov­er­nor.

At the Pen­sacola rally, Trump said Gil­lum is ill-equipped for the job. “I will say this: An­drew Gil­lum is not equipped to be your gov­er­nor,” Trump said. “He’s just not equipped. It’s not for him.”

Vice Pres­i­dent Pence, mean­while, was dis­patched to Wis­con­sin on Satur­day to help the re­elec­tion bid of em­bat­tled Gov. Scott Walker (R) and will later join Trump in Florida.

“This race is as close as it can be. It’s a dead heat,” Pence told a crowd in Hud­son, Wis., while wear­ing a navy blue jacket em­bla­zoned with Walker’s name. “Ev­ery vote counts.”

The flurry of ac­tiv­ity comes on the heels of high-pro­file ap­pear­ances Fri­day by former pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Trump, who has urged sup­port­ers to act as though his name is on the bal­lot Tues­day. Obama plans to be back on the trail Sun­day, seek­ing to boost Democrats in In­di­ana.

Un­der­scor­ing Repub­li­can jit­ters about los­ing the House, a su­per PAC backed by House Repub­li­can lead­ers an­nounced Satur­day that it is com­ing to the aid of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who has rep­re­sented his state’s at-large con­gres­sional dis­trict since 1973. The Con­gres­sional Lead­er­ship Fund said it would con­duct a “hy­per-tar­geted” getout-the-vote ef­fort on Young’s be­half to re­lay the mes­sage that the “ex­treme, lib­eral agenda” of House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “would be a dis­as­ter for Alaska.”

Much of Trump’s clos­ing ar­gu­ment has cen­tered on im­mi­gra­tion, with the pres­i­dent cast­ing Democrats as want­ing to turn the na­tion into a sanc­tu­ary for un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants. Dur­ing the Mon­tana rally, Trump ad­dressed crit­i­cism that he has talked more on im­mi­gra­tion than the econ­omy, which many Repub­li­cans con­sider to be the party’s strong­est ar­gu­ment.

Trump pointed out cor­rectly that he had ad­dressed the econ­omy ear­lier in his re­marks, but he said there was only so much he could say about job re­ports and other pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tors be­fore los­ing his au­di­ence.

“I can only go for four or five min­utes with that stuff,” Trump said, adding he also wants to talk about “prob­lems we want to fix.”

Dur­ing his re­marks, he as­serted that Democrats want to al­low un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants to vote be­cause it will help their elec­tion prospects. “What do they re­ally want? The right to vote,” he said. “They fig­ure that’s the way they stay in of­fice forever.”

Trump’s cam­paign com­mit­tee re­leased a tele­vi­sion ad on Fri­day fo­cused on im­mi­gra­tion. It fea­tures im­ages of Luis Bra­ca­montes, an un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grant who was con­victed of killing two sher­iff’s deputies in Cal­i­for­nia in 2014, and a mi­grant car­a­van mov­ing through Mex­ico to­ward the U.S. bor­der.

“Stop the car­a­van. Vote Repub­li­can,” the ad con­cludes.

In a tweet, Trump cam­paign man­ager Brad Parscale said the cam­paign was spend­ing $1.5 mil­lion on the ad and com­plained that CNN was re­fus­ing to air it.

The net­work re­sponded with a state­ment Satur­day: “CNN has made it abun­dantly clear in its ed­i­to­rial cov­er­age that this ad is racist. When pre­sented with an op­por­tu­nity to be paid to take a ver­sion of this ad, we de­clined. Those are the facts.”

While fly­ing be­tween ral­lies Satur­day, Trump sought to make im­mi­gra­tion a wedge is­sue in the race for a Se­nate seat from Ari­zona. In a tweet, he said that Repub­li­can Rep. Martha McSally would pro­vide “Bor­der Se­cu­rity” and as­serted her Demo­cratic op­po­nent, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, whose name he mis­spelled, “doesn’t even think about it.”

In one of two ral­lies Fri­day, Trump ac­knowl­edged to a crowd in West Virginia that Repub­li­cans could lose con­trol of the House but sounded op­ti­mistic about his party’s prospects in the Se­nate.

“We’re do­ing re­ally well in the Se­nate, but could hap­pen,” Trump said of los­ing the House. “And you know what you do? My whole life — you know what I say? Don’t worry about it. I’ll just fig­ure it out.”

Dur­ing a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view Satur­day, Pelosi said she is con­fi­dent Democrats will win con­trol of the House on Tues­day. “I speak from the ground. I’ve trav­eled all over the coun­try,” Pelosi said. “The en­thu­si­asm is some­thing that I’ve never seen be­fore.”

Obama stumped Fri­day in Ge­or­gia for Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­ful Stacey Abrams, tout­ing her as “the most ex­pe­ri­enced, the most qual­i­fied can­di­date in this race.” That was a re­tort to Trump, who had called Abrams — who would be the na­tion’s first black fe­male gov­er­nor — “not qual­i­fied.”

Abrams, who faces Repub­li­can Brian Kemp, Ge­or­gia’s sec­re­tary of state, has been the ben­e­fi­ciary of a string of prom­i­nent vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing Oprah Win­frey.

While many of the same is­sues have driven midterm races across the coun­try, a new ad from a Texas con­gres­sional race un­der­scored how con­tours dif­fer from con­test to con­test.

Demo­crat MJ He­gar posted the ad Fri­day af­ter op­po­nent Rep. John Carter (R) com­pared their cam­paign to a war. In the ad, He­gar, who served three tours in Afghanistan as a com­bat searc­hand-res­cue pi­lot, tells Carter: “Well, re­spect­fully con­gress­man, you don’t know . . . about war.”

An ex­ple­tive is bleeped out.


Former vice pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den cam­paigns for Demo­cratic can­di­dates in Parma Heights, Ohio.

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