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Trump's interview will include Biden battleground ads

Biden will run his ad, entitled “Tough”, during broadcast of the interview in six battleground states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina

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US PRESS GROUP

Joe Biden will run campaign ads during Donald Trump’s eagerly awaited interview with Fox News Sunday. The president sat down with Chris Wallace, one of the most respected US political interviewers, at the White House on Friday, for his first Sunday show interview in more than a year.

A clip showed Trump claiming Biden wanted to defund police, and had included the policy in a compact agreed with Bernie Sanders, the leftwing senator from Vermont who ran the former vice-president closest in the Democratic primary.

To the president’s visible anger, Wallace insisted that was untrue.

Now Biden will run his ad, entitled “Tough”, during broadcast of the interview in six battleground states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.

The realclearpolitics.com polling average puts Biden ahead in all six of those states, by margins ranging from 7.8% in Pennsylvania to 2% in North Carolina.

The move could provoke a president notoriously susceptible to what he sees on television: anti-Trump groups such as the Lincoln Project have thrived by placing brutal ads where the president will see them.

Biden’s ad is more subtle. Without mentioning Trump, it aims to present its candidate as a leader capable of handling the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m thinking of all of you today,” Biden says, mentioning “rising case numbers causing fear and apprehension”.

“This virus is tough but we can stop the spread. It’s up to all of us to do it.”

Biden advises Americans to “wear a mask, wash your hands, stay home if you can and socially distance when you go out”, public health measures advocated by White House experts but which Trump and many Republicans in elected office have been reluctant to forcefully endorse.

As cases surge in states across the US, with nearly 140,000 dead, as experts warn of a bleak fall to come and as Trump is widely accused of an abdication of responsibility, Biden’s implication is clear.

“I will not abandon you,” he says. “We’re all in this together. We’ll fight this together. And, together, we’ll emerge from this stronger than we were before we began.”

Wallace told Fox News he discussed the pandemic with Trump during an occasionally testy interview conducted in wilting Washington heat.

“If it looked like it was hot on that patio right outside the Oval Office there,” he said, “it was about 100F.” Trump, he added, “kept saying, ‘Whose idea was this?’ Well, of course, it was the president’s idea but, as he said, he wanted to make me sweat.”

“We talked about everything,” Wallace said. “We talked about Covid[-19] and the explosion of cases in this country, questions of masks, questions of testing.”

Trump reportedly said he expects to stage fewer campaign rallies than in 2016, due to concerns about the coronavirus which came into sharp focus around an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June.

“He seems a little concerned about that,” Wallace said.

“We also talked about politics, the polls. We have a new Fox News poll that we discussed with the president which shows him trailing. But he seemed dead certain that he’s going to beat Joe Biden in November. We also talked about that tell-all book by his niece, Mary Trump.”

Wallace called the exchange over Biden and policing “very interesting”.

When an aide brought out the Biden document, Wallace said, Trump “went through it and he found a lot of things that he objected to that Biden has agreed to, but couldn’t find any indication, because there isn’t any, that Joe Biden has sought to defund and abolish the police.”

Trump later insisted that Biden “may use different words, but when you look at his pact with crazy Bernie, and other things, that’s what he wants to do”.

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