Biden makes campaign stops in Georgia with Election Day one week away

ATLANTA — Former vice president and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is in north Georgia today. Biden’s visit comes with Election Day exactly one week away.

Biden held his first event in Warm Springs, Georgia at about 1:45 p.m. He is also hosting a drive-in event at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta at 5 p.m. The Atlanta event included musical guests Common and Offset from Migos. Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also spoke in support of the Biden-Harris ticket.

The Democratic presidential nominee offered his closing argument with Election Day just one week away while attempting to go on the political offensive in Georgia, which hasn’t backed a Democrat for the White House since 1992.

Biden promised to be a president for all Americans regardless of party, even as he said that “anger and suspicion is growing and our wounds are getting deeper.”

“Has the heart of this nation turned to stone? I don’t think so,” Biden said. “I refuse to believe it.”

Biden spoke to a very small crowd in Warm Springs, where a handful of guests sat in white painted circles to social distance. His caravan was greeted by dozens of Trump supporters who lined the nearby streets.

The Atlanta event drew a much larger crowd, and dozens of supporters parked in their cars in the parking lot of the amphitheater. Supporters sat on the roofs of their vehicles and honked loudly when Biden reached the stage.

“Let’s give the people of Georgia two new senators who will fight for your interest, not -- not for Donald Trump’s interest. And not continue as Perdue and others have to make fun of my running mate. I love how the guys try to degrade everything and everybody. It’s gotta stop and it’s gonna stop with us. Folks, it’s go time,” Biden said.

While Biden worked to expand the electoral map in the South, President Donald Trump focused on the Democrats' “blue wall” states that he flipped in 2016 -- Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania -- and maintained a far busier travel schedule taking him to much more of the country.

“This election is a matter of economic survival for Michigan,” the president said, arguing that the state’s economy was strong before the coronavirus pandemic hit. “Look what I’ve done.”

Besides Lansing, Trump was traveling to West Salem, Wisconsin. First lady Melania Trump was on the road, too, making her first solo campaign trip of the year in Pennsylvania. And Vice President Mike Pence was in South Carolina, maintaining his campaign schedule despite several close aides testing positive for the coronavirus last weekend. There, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is in a potentially tight reelection race.

Biden will also visit in coming days Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida, where former President Barack Obama gave a speech in Orlando on Tuesday, blistering Trump as only worrying about the virus because it was dominating news coverage.

Protecting a Candidate

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spent the day embedded with the Secret Service who had a unique challenge with a drive-in style campaign event.

A tent screened people as they arrived and searched not only participants but their cars. A K-9 unit also searched the area for explosives.

Agent Steve Baisel showed Winne the chute they used to protect the former vice president.

“We’re in a chute that leads to the on stage announce for Vice President Biden. He will take this route. We have a tent put up to keep him out of eyesight of the crowd until he’s ready to be seen on camera,” Baisel said. “We take a lot of pride in our work and that agent in particular he’s responsible for the security plan here. The ultimate responsibility is on my shoulders but having a secure plan from the ground up will make our mission successful.”

Georgia is just one of several states getting a lot of attention from both campaigns in the final weeks.

President Donald Trump held a rally in Macon on Oct. 16. Kamala Harris and Donald Trump Jr. visited Atlanta on Friday. Dr. Jill Biden campaigned for her husband in Savannah and Macon on Monday.

The most recent Channel 2 Action News/Landmark Communications poll taken before the final debate showed Trump expanded his lead in Georgia. As of Monday night, there are no stops scheduled in Georgia for the Trump campaign this week.