ATLANTA - Georgia is in play for this presidential election. That’s the first time since 1992 a Democrat has statistically had a chance in the Peach State. It also was why former Vice President Joe Biden made two stops to campaign on Tuesday. He spent the day rallying support in Warm Springs and Atlanta.
Biden spoke one-on-with FOX 5 anchor Courtney Bryant on Tuesday following a drive-in rally in Atlanta. He spoke on a wide variety of topics impacting Georgians this election including fighting the coronavirus, taxes, and opportunities his administration plans to implement for Black and minorities.
The Democratic presidential nominee admitted he was superstitious about talking about his chances, but said the state is in transition.
“Well, Georgia’s changed a lot, and there’s incredible turnout, there’s a whole lot of people that has moved into Georgia as well. People who didn’t vote last time, seem to be lining up to vote this time,” Biden told FOX 5. “And the polling data shows it’s competitive and we have some very strong candidates running for the Senate and the House. So, I feel good about Georgia, no guarantees.”
Both of the former vice president’s events were filled with social distancing. Speakers, staff, and those in attendance stayed 6 feet apart or in cars. A person was even tasked with wiping down the podium and microphone after each speaker. It was very much in line with how Biden said the country needs to be fighting the pandemic. He said the current president and his administration has given up that fight.
"There are ways to deal with this. And the way to deal with it is significantly increase testing, so then you are testing on a daily basis,” he said.
And despite the controversy, Biden stressed the need for masks. He said that is the biggest part of fighting the virus.
"If the governor says ‘no,’ then I’ll call in all the mayors and all the local officials and tell them, because there is clear evidence,” the former vice president said citing the White House’s own experts who have stated 100,000 lives could be saved by the end of the year if everyone wore masks. "We're losing. We've lost 235,000 dead for far, estimated another 200,000 will die between now and the end of the year.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Georgia Department of Public Health has said more than 7,800 people have died in Georgia from the coronavirus.
Biden said a complete shutdown isn’t necessarily the answer and that there should be plans and paths to reopening safely.
"School and businesses, they can reopen safely, but you got to fund the reopening. There has to be PPE and masks,” he said adding that reopening is an investment into a new normal. "We've got to spend the money so people can reopen."
Part of that money would come from new taxes, but Biden said the average American won’t see an increase and that his tax plan has been taken out of context and mischaracterized.
“If you make less than $400,000, I guarantee you, your taxes will not go up,” the former vice president said. “It's about time people who make over $400,000 and major corporations pay their fair share.”
Biden went on to explain that 91 corporations which make over a billion dollars annually don’t pay taxes, something his administration would end adding to “imagine” how many schools and health care those companies could help fund if they did.
Another program that money would help fund is for first-time homebuyers. Biden stressed the best way to increase equity is to start with real estate and getting help started is important, especially for Black and minorities.
Biden said in the same vein, his administration will help fertilize new small businesses and that the playing field to receive that assistance should be on an equal playing field.
“Black entrepreneurs are just as successful as Whites when they get a shot,” he said
Biden touted boosting funding to Title I schools and shoring up the nation’s educational system from Head Start to College.
“Minority universities and HBCUs, we're going to, over ten years, provide $70 billion for them to be able to compete for laboratories and a whole range of other things,” Bid said adding that the goal is to make sure everyone has the opportunity to enter a high-paying job if they so choose.
Biden also briefly spoke with FOX 5’s Courtney Bryant about Georgia itself. He said it was his first time visiting Warm Springs, known for the Little White House where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would spend his time when not in Washington or his Hyde Park residence. He complimented Georgia’s beauty and said he hopes to be back when he is the 46th President of the United States.