The Latest: Biden criticizes Trump for misleading Fauci ad

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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, meets with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trumps nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, not shown, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. (Erin Scott/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential race (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Democrat Joe Biden is criticizing President Donald Trump for a campaign ad that wrongly suggests that Dr. Anthony Fauci is in the president’s corner.

Making his second stop in Broward County, Florida, on Tuesday, Biden blasted Trump for “quoting Dr. Fauci out of context” after the president spent months downplaying the COVID-19 threat. Biden told hundreds of supporters at a drive-in rally in Miramar that “we are so much better than this.”

Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNN on Monday that the Trump campaign should take down the ad, calling it “really unfortunate and really disappointing that they did that.”

The Democratic challenger is making a late push for Florida in hopes of cutting off Trump’s path to an Electoral College majority. Trump won Florida narrowly in 2016, and he likely needs the state again to win reelection.

Biden drew a racially and ethnically diverse crowd in Miramar. He spoke earlier Tuesday at a community center for seniors. Nonwhite voters are a key part of the Democratic base, while many older white voters can be swing voters in the perennial battleground state.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are campaigning Tuesday, Trump in Pennsylvania and Biden in Florida. Both states are key to the 2020 presidential election.

Read more:

— Biden on idea of court expansion: “I’m not a fan.”

— Trump and Biden: Where they stand on health care, economy and more

— Bipartisan Christian group forms super PAC to oppose Trump

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

6 p.m.

Joe Biden has built a wide network of surrogates out of the massive field of Democratic presidential candidates he defeated to win the party’s nomination. But that apparently doesn’t include Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida.

Messam attended Biden’s drive-in campaign rally in his city Tuesday, but he wasn’t onstage and Biden didn’t recognize him by name during his remarks.

The mayor was among the least known of the two dozen-plus Democrats who sought the nomination, and he was critical of Biden before the former vice president had even formally launched his campaign in late April 2019. Messam said at the time that Democrats needed “fresh leadership” and “cannot afford a nominee bogged down by the past.”

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3:45 p.m.

Joe Biden is urging older voters in Florida to punish President Donald Trump at the ballot box for his “divisive and chaotic” leadership and his “careless and reckless” response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden told a small group at a senior community center in Broward County on Tuesday that “the only senior Donald Trump seems to care about” is himself. The Democrat noted the disproportionate effect that the coronavirus has had on older Americans and said Trump is “stuck in the sand traps” at his golf club.

Trump won Florida narrowly four years ago and has almost no path to victory if he doesn’t win the state’s 29 electoral votes again. Democrats say shifts among older voters in a state heavy on retirees make it a prime pickup opportunity for Biden.

Biden blasted Trump’s efforts to upend the 2010 Affordable Care Act that boosted some Medicare coverage for seniors. And he panned Trump’s proposals to suspend Social Security taxes and send $200 prescription cards to seniors. Biden noted that both moves would drain the trust funds that pay for the programs’ current benefits.

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3:40 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says officials aren’t aware of any COVID-19 cases stemming from the campaign fundraiser that President Donald Trump held recently at his Bedminster golf club.

More than 200 donors and staff were at the Oct. 1 event. The Democratic governor said Tuesday that state and county officials have been working to contact all attendees but have not heard of any cases that trace back to the event.

The White House said last week that the president did not have what Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines would consider close contact.

Trump announced he was positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours after the fundraiser.

Murphy spoke at an unrelated event in the same county where the president’s golf club is located.

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11:25 a.m.

Joe Biden says former President Barack Obama “will be out on the trail” and is “doing well.”

The Democratic nominee did not offer more details but told reporters Tuesday ahead of a campaign trip to Florida that he thinks Obama is “doing enough” for the campaign.

Biden mentioned his service as Obama’s vice president often during the Democratic primaries but has not emphasized those ties as frequently as he makes his closing arguments against President Donald Trump.

Obama delivered a blistering critique of Trump during the Democratic National Convention in August, and he’s headlined large grassroots fundraisers for Biden and Democrats this year.

But the 44th president has not otherwise been a frequent campaign presence during the coronavirus pandemic, which has curtailed in-person campaigning for Democrats’ surrogates.

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11:15 a.m.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is calling on “leaders of all stripes” to “tone it down,” warning that the high-pitched, election-season rhetoric will lead to “dangerous action” from their followers.

The Utah senator calls out both President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in declaring that politics has “moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation.” Romney cites Trump’s comments calling Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat Joe Biden’s running mate, a “monster” and Pelosi “crazy,” among other things.

He charges that Democrats, too, “launch blistering attacks,” though he offers fewer examples: Only the moment Pelosi ripped up Trump’s State of the Union Speech and a recent video by Keith Olbermann, a progressive political and sports commentator, calling Trump a “terrorist.”

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee says Biden “refuses to stoop as low as others.”

Romney has said he won’t vote for Trump this fall but hasn’t said if he supports Biden. The moderate Republican has been a critic of Trump’s and breaks with his party at times on key votes.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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