Florida is up for grabs as Trump, Biden cross paths

Top News | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 30 Oct 2020

US President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden were rallying voters just hours apart in the Florida city of Tampa as their campaign paths crossed for the first time as the fight for the White House enters its frenetic final days.

Florida is a must-win prize and polls show the two in a dead heat in the third-largest state.

The two events are a study in contrasts, with Trump's expectedly mask-less and packed supporters gathering in the afternoon - early morning today, Hong Kong time - and Biden holding a socially distanced drive-in meeting in the evening.

The previous day saw Trump stumping in Arizona while Biden voted in his home state of Delaware and also met health experts as he fine-tuned his pandemic response plan in fighting a virus that has as killed more than 227,000 people in the United States and forced millions out of work.

"I'm not running on a false promise of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch," said the 77-year-old Biden, who has a strong lead in opinion polls. "We'll let science guide our decisions."

Tomorrow, Biden gets a power boost when he is joined on the stump in Michigan by Barack Obama, under whom he served as vice president.

It will be their first joint in-person appearance of the race, though Obama has been delivering broadsides at Trump throughout.

Trump, by contrast, is finishing his campaign in an extreme test of endurance, with a final attempt to catch up both in swing states and also states he won in 2016 but now has to defend.

After rallying supporters in three states on Tuesday, Trump, 74, overnighted in a fourth -Nevada - and then flew to Arizona for two more rallies.

On an airport tarmac, Trump all but ignored the Covid-19 crisis and many supporters did not bother with masks as they cheered his defiant insistence on a landslide victory on November 3.

The pandemic has upended all aspects of American life, with polls showing it may well be the president's undoing.

With many Americans fearing the risk of voting in crowded polling stations, 74.7 million people have already cast their ballots.

Some 57.4 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump's coronavirus response, tracker FiveThirtyEight.com said.

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