WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden took his pitch to Georgia Thursday night for $4 trillion in spending to rebuild the nation's aged infrastructure and vastly expand the federal social safety net, choosing a new political battleground to make his case that Americans want a more activist government.
With his visit to a state he won by fewer than 12,000 votes, Biden set out to build public support for his plan and try to persuade resistant Republicans that his massive proposal is an investment that the country can't afford to pass up.
“We need to invest in things our families care about and need the most," Biden told hundreds of supporters who showed up for a socially distanced car rally in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth.
The Georgia trip is part of an effort to gain momentum for the massive — and expensive — agenda Biden articulated during his first address to a joint session of Congress one night earlier. It's a dramatic shift from nearly four decades of politics in which leaders from both parties have spoken of a need to contain government.
There's special significance in Biden's decision to make Georgia his first stop after the address. He was the first Democratic presidential contender to carry the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
The state, long a Republican stronghold, is now a political battleground that will feature closely watched races for Senate and governor next year. It will almost certainly be one of the most competitive states during the 2024 presidential campaign.
Before the evening car rally in Duluth, Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, first visited former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, at their home in Plains, Georgia.
Carter's defeat to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980 ushered in an era in which calls for smaller government and lower taxes for big business and the wealthy were embraced as a tonic for economic growth.