By John Whitesides
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the biggest speech of his nearly 50 years in public life, Joe Biden will spell out his vision for the presidency on Thursday when he accepts the Democratic nomination to challenge Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 U.S. election.
Biden’s speech on the fourth and last night of the Democratic National Convention will be a crowning moment in a long political career for the former U.S. senator and vice president, who fared poorly in two previous runs for the White House in 1988 and 2008.
It will conclude a nominating convention that was held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the party’s biggest names, rising stars and even prominent Republicans lining up via video to support Biden and attest to the urgency of ending what they called Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Biden’s vice presidential choice, Kamala Harris, the first Black woman and Asian American on a major presidential ticket, accepted her nomination on Wednesday and accused Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.
Former President Barack Obama, who Biden served as vice president for eight years, delivered his harshest critique of Trump yet at the convention, saying his hopes that Trump would grow into the job had been dashed.
He blamed Trump for the 170,000 people who had died in the United States from the coronavirus, the millions of jobs lost to the ensuing recession and a diminishment of the country’s democratic principles at home and abroad.
Biden, 77, heads into the general election campaign with a clear and steady lead in opinion polls over Trump, 74, who will accept the Republican nomination for a second White House term at his own convention next week.
Democrats have worked to expand Biden’s support during the convention, particularly by showcasing prominent Republican supporters such as former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Ohio Governor John Kasich, as well as Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 but now blame him for the economic and health toll of the pandemic.
The acceptance speech will give Biden his biggest audience since he was largely sidelined from the campaign trail by the coronavirus in March.
He will speak directly to camera in a mostly empty event center in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, not in front of a roaring crowd of convention delegates, adding to the unusual nature of a convention conducted remotely through live and pre-recorded video feeds.
A close ally of Biden’s, U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, said he expected the speech to offer a unifying theme about the country and not to focus on Trump.
“He recognizes this isn’t about Donald Trump, it’s not about Joe Biden, it’s about us, and it’s about who’s going to move us forward in a way that reminds us of the best in America, not the worst,” Coons said.
Trump will continue his counter-programming to the Democrats, holding a campaign event on Thursday near Biden’s birthplace of Scranton in the political battleground state of Pennsylvania.
Late on Wednesday, Trump issued three tweets in all capital letters during the last half of the Democratic convention program, angrily criticizing Harris and Obama and questioning their allegiance to Biden.
Other scheduled convention speakers on Thursday include Biden’s 2020 primary rival, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, along with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, both of whom were on Biden’s short list of possible running mates.
Biden captured the nomination by convincing Democratic primary voters he was the best bet to beat Trump.
Despite questions about his age and criticism of his moderate stances in a party that has lurched leftward, he was able to quickly unite the Democrats’ sometimes fractious liberal and moderate wings with the goal of defeating Trump.
His last primary rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, ended his campaign in April, clearing the way for the showdown between Biden and Trump. Sanders urged his supporters to back Biden during a speech to the convention on Monday, saying Biden would end the “hate and divisions” fostered by Trump.
Biden became a U.S. senator from Delaware in 1973, and rose to become an influential chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Foreign Relations committees before becoming Obama’s vice president.
(Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Wilmington, Del.; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Howard Goller)
Campaigniacs podcast- Episode 2: Women in Sask. politics – Regina Leader-Post
Saskatchewan voters will go to the polls on Oct. 26 to choose a provincial government. Join the Campaigniacs — a team of journalists from the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix — in a podcast series that will follow along with the election campaign.
This week, the team is joined by CBC Saskatchewan’s Morning Edition host Stefani Langenegger to discuss the role federal politics are playing in the provincial election. Also in this episode, Lindsay Brumwell from Equal Voice and retiring NDP MLA Danielle Chartier on how to get more women involved in provincial politics. Listen to Campaigniacs on the Leader-Post and StarPhoenix websites or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,Google Podcasts and Stitcher.
Hahn pledges no politics in COVID vaccine decisions – Regulatory Focus
Posted 23 September 2020 | By
Hahn stressed that he supports science and has “100% confidence” in his staff, and said that, “FDA will not authorize or approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it has met the agency’s rigorous expectations for safety and effectiveness.”
“There won’t be politics that play any part in that decision,” Hahn added.
Hahn’s reassurances come amid reports from the Washington Post, Financial Times and New York Times that the agency is preparing to issue guidance on its expectations for a COVID-19 vaccine EUA that will ask for a median two months of monitoring after Phase 3 trial participants receive their last dose, making an EUA for a vaccine before the election unlikely.
Hahn and Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) Director Peter Marks have both previously said that such guidance is coming but have not expressly disclosed what it would entail. (RELATED: Marks, Hahn confirm COVID vaccine EUA guidance coming, Regulatory Focus 11 September 2020).
The news of more stringent EUA guidance for vaccines follows criticism of the agency’s handling of previous EUAs for COVID-19 therapeutics, including the recent one issued for convalescent plasma and the now-revoked authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. (RELATED: Lawmakers, experts raise questions after convalescent plasma EUA, Regulatory Focus 25 August 2020; FDA revokes EUA for hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, Regulatory Focus 15 June 2020).
During the hearing, Hahn said that vaccine makers will be the ones to decide when to submit data to FDA and whether to seek full approval or an EUA for their vaccine. “This will be based upon the trial meeting prespecified success criteria that were established by that sponsor … they should also be consistent with FDA recommendations regarding those criteria,” he said.
While Hahn did not touch on any specifics raised in the recent news reports, he said that companies will have to demonstrate that they have met the statutory standards for an EUA.
“We expect that this would be demonstrated based on adequate manufacturing data to ensure a vaccine’s quality and consistency and data from at least one well-designed Phase 3 clinical trial that demonstrates its safety and efficacy in a clear and compelling manner,” Hahn said, adding that the agency will expect EUA requests to include a plan for long-term safety monitoring for individuals who receive the vaccine.
Essential Politics: The domino effect of Ginsburg's death – Los Angeles Times
Good morning and welcome to our newest edition of the Essential Politics newsletter. I’m Laura Blasey, an editor on the newsletters team, and I’m writing to you from The Times’ Washington bureau.
Each Wednesday, we’ll bring you the best work from The Times’ state, national politics and election teams, stories that will take you beyond breaking news. Don’t worry — we’ll continue to send you smart analyses from our Sacramento and Washington bureau chiefs on Mondays and Fridays. This new edition will offer another angle, so you won’t miss a thing on the road to November and beyond.
This week’s big story: The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday has opened a new front in an already contentious presidential election and a new conflict between congressional Republicans and Democrats. President Trump and Joe Biden aren’t the only ones vying for a win in November. Nor is the only question which man should be the one to name her replacement. Times reporters Janet Hook and Jennifer Haberkorn write that, like a chain of dominoes, the showdown over the vacancy could have ramifications that ripple and reshape Senate races as partisan lines harden among voters. Let’s get started.
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A court vacancy’s fallout
By November, voters will choose a president and which party controls the Senate. Republicans now hold 53 seats, while Democrats have 45, plus two seats held by independents who caucus with them. With 35 seats up for grabs, most of them held by Republicans, the majority is very much at stake.
The outcome remains unpredictable and tied to Trump’s fate: Many Republicans will prevail or fall with him. In politically polarized times, fewer voters than ever are inclined to pick a president from one party and a senator from another. And few issues could be more polarizing than a debate over replacing a Supreme Court justice, especially when early voting for the next president has begun.
“It’s another wild card,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, told The Times. “It certainly is something that our candidates — and the candidates on both sides, for that matter — are going to have to manage, because both sides are going to be heavily invested in the outcome of this decision.”
Hook and Haberkorn write about how the Republicans’ at-risk senators are maneuvering in the wake of Ginsburg’s passing. Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado must woo centrist and independent voters in states that lean to the left, a delicate task that had them focusing on less divisive local issues until this week. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa, among others, are locked in tight races in states where Trump remains popular; they need to energize their states’ voters on the right. There’s also Doug Jones, the lone Democrat up for reelection in a conservative state, Alabama, now more endangered than before.
Another issue is at play in the court battle: healthcare, a core part of the Democratic platform, especially amid the pandemic. The court is due to take up a case pivotal to the future of the Affordable Care Act just a week after the election.
Still, even among those in tough reelection fights, Republicans see far more to be gained by sticking with the president and supporting his bid to fill the court seat as soon as possible. If they back away from him, they fear, they will lose conservative voters without picking up many liberal ones, Hook and Haberkorn wrote. Collins is the only Republican up for reelection who has said Trump should not pick a nominee before the election; the second party defector, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, is not on the ballot.
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The view from the Supreme Court
— President Trump said Monday he is likely to name a replacement for Ginsburg on Saturday. Senate Republicans appear increasingly likely to have the votes needed to confirm his choice, barring some revelation, Haberkorn writes. On Tuesday, Trump critic Mitt Romney joined his party colleagues in saying he is willing to consider Trump’s nominee, regardless of the looming election.
— In 2016, nine full months before that year’s presidential election, Republicans argued that a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee would deprive Americans of the chance to have a say in who should fill the seat. Arit John compared their statements then and now and found that when it comes to being consistent, several Senate Republicans are not.
— Biden, having served in the Senate for decades, knows the thorny politics of Supreme Court nominations perhaps better than anyone, writes Melanie Mason. He not only helped shepherd Ginsburg’s nomination in 1993, he was involved in at least 14 others.
From The Times archives
The battle to replace Ginsburg stands in stark contrast to her nomination and confirmation. In June 1993, the political climate surrounding the court was less charged, and Ginsburg’s reputation was as a centrist judge, not the liberal icon she became. The Times announced her nomination with the headline “Clinton Picks Moderate Judge Ruth Ginsburg for High Court.” The Times’ David Savage wrote in his analysis that Ginsburg was considered “an articulate moderate jurist.” She came with support from Justice Antonin Scalia, who reportedly quipped that if he had to spend the rest of his life on a desert island with a liberal, he’d choose her.
Weeks later, on Aug. 4, The Times reported she’d been approved “swiftly and with remarkably little dissension” by a Senate vote of 96-3 — “the most agreeable Supreme Court confirmation process in recent history.” Three Republicans voted against her over her pro-abortion-rights stance.
The latest from the campaign trail
— Unlike most states, Maine and Nebraska can split their electoral votes, awarding a vote to the winner in each House district. That has made one rural congressional district in Maine into a tiny battleground for the Biden and Trump campaigns, Janet Hook writes.
— From 2020 reporters Evan Halper and Seema Mehta: With the help of lots of cash from Californians, including past Republican donors, Joe Biden is eclipsing President Trump in fundraising as they head into the final stretch.
— Cindy McCain has endorsed Biden for president. It’s a stunning rebuke of President Trump by the widow of the Republican Party’s 2008 nominee.
— The first debate is Tuesday. White House reporters Eli Stokols and Noah Bierman report that Trump and Biden are taking very different approaches to preparing.
The view from California
— Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday defended his efforts to fix an outdated state unemployment benefits system that has delayed payments to tens of thousands of Californians who have lost their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
— L.A. County’s Project Roomkey, a $100-million-plus program to repurpose hotels and motels emptied by the coronavirus as safe havens for homeless people, is ending after months of mixed performance. An official said the program is being squeezed by uncertain funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which pays about 75% of its cost.
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