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Biden visiting battleground states and expanding staff as his campaign tries to seize the offensive

WASHINGTON — Fresh off his defiant State of the Union address, President Joe Biden and his senior aides will storm the country starting Friday to aggressively sell his vision for a second term to voters — and warn about the Republican alternative.

The president will look to carry the momentum after his speech to Pennsylvania and Georgia for campaign events in two crucial battleground states he flipped in 2020, and he hopes to deliver this column in November. Next week he moves to Wisconsin and Michigan.

Vice President Kamala Harris is making her own trips, first to Arizona to continue her nationwide tour to promote reproductive rights and then to Nevada for her own campaign stop.

Biden’s reelection campaign was almost giddy after the speech, promising to build on the momentum the president said he had created to stay on the offensive against Donald Trump.

The president’s campaign announced Friday that he and Harris will visit every major swing state in the coming days as they launch a six-week, $30 million advertising campaign on TV and digital platforms designed to highlight key themes, from the State of the Union to Black, Asian and Hispanic communities.

That push includes purchases during the NCAA basketball tournament, as Biden’s camp tries to achieve high ratings, as it says it did when it aired an ad during the recent Grammy Awards promising to defend abortion rights.

By the end of this month, the campaign expects to expand from 100 personnel in seven theaters to more than 350, while more than 100 field offices will also be opened. Trump’s campaign is essentially targeting the same areas, looking to flip Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona after 2020 defeats there, while fending off Biden’s attempts to make inroads in North Carolina and Florida.

Biden’s campaign is trying to hit Trump hard at one of his most vulnerable moments, when the former president may be struggling to consolidate his party after the primaries — and as more potentially persuadable voters begin to realize that November will really be a party . Resit 2020.

“We know he lost in 2020 and so to win he needs to expand his voter base to find new people to join him, and that’s not something he’s shown he’s really focused on.” , said Biden campaign chairman. Jen O’Malley Dillon said this during a conference call with reporters on Friday.

She also noted that after former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley dropped out of the Republican presidential primaries, “instead of throwing his arms around them — as we certainly did — Trump has really mocked her supporters.”

Biden’s re-election campaign said the first hour of the State of the Union was its best fundraising hour since its launch in 2023, but the next two hours each set new records. It was not stated how much money was actually raised.

The Trump campaign has also used its romp through the Republican Party primaries to seize momentum heading into November. A Super PAC backing the former president released an ad highlighting Biden’s age, 81, and declaring, “If Biden wins, can he even survive until 2029?”

Biden’s campaign said Thursday night’s speech showed that, rather than an age contrast with the 77-year-old Trump, Biden offers a stark policy choice over his predecessor.

“Although he is four years younger, his ideas are incredibly old,” Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said of Trump. “He’s talking about our fundamental decline as a country.”

Presidents traditionally take their State of the Union message on the road, but Biden’s sales pitch is more important than ever this year as he tries to not only sell his policy achievements to a skeptical electorate, but also show that he is up to the task of the presidency. .

Cabinet secretaries and senior White House officials are embarking on their own post-State of the Union travel blitz to amplify Biden’s message starting Friday and continuing in the coming weeks, hitting not only swing states but also rural areas like Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee are affected.

In his speech at the Capitol, Biden took an unusually fiery tone, contrasting his views more than a dozen times with those of “my predecessor” – Donald Trump – not only on policies like healthcare and taxes, but also on his views on freedom . and democracy, both in the US and abroad.

While providing live commentary on his social media site, Trump mocked Biden’s speech — saying, “THIS IS LIKE A SCREAMING MATCH” — and defended his policies against Biden’s repeated jabs.

The Biden administration is handing out parts of Biden’s agenda for various Cabinet officials to promote in the coming weeks. Much of that will focus on how Biden’s policies have spurred important investments in rural communities, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg traveling to Philadelphia and Rhode Island in the coming weeks to promote bridge repairs and other infrastructure improvements.

The Cabinet trips include a heavy dose of climate policy, with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland planning to boost Biden’s climate policy at a conference in Florida on Monday. Michael Regan, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is crisscrossing the country — stopping in Florida, California and Oregon — to promote electrified school buses and other efforts to transition to a clean energy economy.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen heads to Kentucky next week to tout Biden’s efforts to strengthen the economy in underserved communities, while Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visits Massachusetts and Pennsylvania to discuss education opportunities through Biden’s agenda.