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As Campaigning Winds Down, Biden Makes First Iowa Trip As Democratic Presidential Nominee

Clay Masters
Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds four days before Election Day.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made his first appearance in Iowa since his fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in February.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden campaigned in Iowa and other Midwest swing-states on Friday. Polls show a tight presidential race in Iowa this year after President Trump carried the state by almost ten points in 2016. Iowa went to former President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Biden talked a lot about the coronavirus pandemic during his remarks at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The event was held as a drive-in rally. where people honked their horns in place of applause.

“I’ve said before; I’m not going to shut down the economy, I’m going to shut down the virus!” Biden said to a chorus of more than 300 honking cars and trucks.

Biden's campaign has a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19 on his website and other proposals for health care and economic recovery. Among its points, the plan uniting states around common science-based practices.

Charlie Neibergall
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an airport rally, Thursday in Des Moines.

It was a much different framing of the pandemic than Vice President Mike Pence provided those who gathered at the Des Moines airport Thursday to hear him speak. Pence is chair of the White House coronavirus task force and its latest report shows Iowa in the red zone as COVID-19 confirmed cases and hospitalizations continue to soar. Pence continued his claim that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year and focused his remarks mostly on an economic recovery.

“The American economy grew by more than 33 percent in the third quarter, shattering any previous American record,” Pence said to cheering fans. “The great American comeback is on!”

President Trump announced that he will make another campaign stop in Iowa before Election Day. He’ll be in Dubuque County on Sunday, which went for Trump in 2016 after twice going for Obama. More than 851,000 Iowans have already voted early.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.