WASHINGTON (AP) — With Republicans increasingly confident about victory in this year’s midterm elections, President Joe Biden dismissed the polls in a speech at Democratic Party headquarters Monday, saying there’s still time for “one more shift” that will help his party.
“If we get people out to vote, we win,” Biden said to scores of Democratic organizers who cheered and chanted as he entered the room for what he called his “closing argument.” Campaign workers around the country tuned in via livestream for the pep talk, delivered 15 days from Election Day.
The speech was Biden’s latest attempt to turn the midterms into a choice between Democrats and Republicans, rather than a referendum on his unpopular administration at a time of entrenched economic dissatisfaction.
Biden has largely steered clear of traditional campaign events around the country, in favor of speeches where he tries to frame the stakes for voters.
“The polls have been all over the place,” Biden said, adding that surveys have become increasingly unreliable for measuring public opinion. “Republicans ahead, Democrats ahead, Republicans ahead. But it’s going to close, I think, with seeing one more shift — Democrats ahead.”
He said Republicans would roll back progress on expanding health care coverage, limiting the cost of prescription drugs and increasing taxes on corporations.
“At least they’re being honest this time,” he said. “They’re telling you exactly what they want to do if they win.”
He added, “They’re so confident they’re going to win, they’re saying this without an ounce of shame.”
He accused them of “mega-MAGA, trickle-down politics in the extreme,” the latest iteration of Biden’s attempts to brand his political opponents. MAGA is short for Make America Great Again, former President Donald Trump’s slogan.
As usual, Biden singled out three Republican leaders for much of his scorn — House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida.
Scott, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has been Biden’s most popular foil because of his proposal to require that all federal laws be reauthorized every five years. Democrats describe the idea as a clear threat to popular entitlement programs.
“Let me be clear,” Biden said. “I will not cut Social Security. I will not cut Medicare.”
Biden stressed that the federal deficit has declined on his watch, a rebuttal to Republicans who accuse him of being too loose with spending.
“We, the Democrats, are the ones that are fiscally responsible,” he said. “Let’s get that straight now.”
After his speech, Biden shook hands with Democratic workers and took selfies with several of them. As he walked out, they chanted “let’s go Joe!”
Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.