Biden tells Georgians to ‘vote like your life depends on it’ to hand Senate to Democrats

'You're going to have to vote in record numbers again,' president-elect tells drive-in rally amid honking horns

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Tuesday 15 December 2020 22:22
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President-elect Joe Biden urged voters in Georgia to again turn out in "record numbers" next month to support two Democratic Senate candidates, calling the state's GOP incumbents little more than "roadblocks" to his agenda.

"Now you're going to have to do it again. You're going to have to vote in record numbers again," Mr Biden said during a rally for candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Atlanta. "You still need to vote like your life depends on it – because it does."

"I think Georgia is going to shock the nation with how many people," he said.

The crowd at the Covid-era drive-in rally loudly honked their horns in a scene in stark contrast to the verbal chants of a Donald Trump rally.

“I need two senators from the state who want to get something done, not two senators who want to stand in the way,” he said, referring to GOP Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler as “roadblocks.”

He used the long-stalled talks on Capitol Hill about a new coronavirus relief bill as an example – though he ignored the fact that Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer spent the summer and fall demanding everything they thought such a bill should have, rather than trying to seek a compromise deal with Republicans.

“The United States Senate should have passed the coronavirus relief package months ago,” the president-elect said, noting businesses run the risk of “closing” soon and Americans are concerned “that after Christmas, they’ll be thrown out before New Years” while “putting food on the table has become a Herculean task for so many.”

“What’s the Untied States Senate doing? Nothing,” Mr Biden said, coughing again as his team admits he has a cold.

Mr Ossoff and Mr Warnock spoke before the president-elect.

“Hands that used to pick cotton” will now have the chance to pick the state’s next senators, said Warnock, a Black man, referring to his ancestors who were enslaved people. 

If Republicans win one of the races, they will retain their Senate majority. If Democrats sweep the races, they will take a one-seat edge in the chamber because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can cast any tie-breaking votes.

For his part, Mr Ossoff called on Senate and House members to pass a bill that would send “$1200 checks [tp] every Georgian and $500 [to] every child … because people are hurting.”

Mr Ossoff also said if Congress and pass a stimulus bill early in Mr Biden’s term, it can then turn to what would be a massive “infrastructure, jobs and energy” measure.

But even with a one-seat majority in the Senate and a smaller than expected House majority, that likely would prove daunting. 

Donald Trump recently made his post-election return to the campaign trail in Georgia, but spent over an hour mostly angrily listing his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. It was Mr Biden’s first event there since Election Day. 

 

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