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Biden in Georgia stresses healing, unity

The former VP is seeking votes in state that last supported a Democrat in 1992.

ATLANTA — Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to two audiences in Georgia Tuesday, a state the Republican governor admits is now a battleground state in the race for president.

Biden was clearly making a pitch to the political center.

"Warm Springs is a good place to talk about hope and healing," Biden said from a podium on a hilltop in Warm Springs – the place where President Franklin Roosevelt spent time in rehabilitation following a polio diagnosis. 

"This place represented a way forward, a place of restoration," Biden said.

Biden talked about healing the country from divisive politics – and beating the pandemic that many Democrats say defines the fall election. 

President Trump won Georgia four years ago – but Biden’s visit shows that Democrats think they can take Georgia for the first time since 1992. Republicans admit they are vulnerable.

"We’re not scared, but the election will be close," admitted former state senator David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican party. "We are treating it like we are behind and we’re running as hard as we possibly can."

A few miles away from Biden’s hilltop, Georgia Republicans - led by Governor Brian Kemp - fired up a noisy crowd devoted to President Trump

"Georgia is clearly a battleground state, but we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this war," Kemp told a cheering crowd of about 300.

The contrast was vivid. Biden did not describe the election as a war.

"I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president," Biden said in Warm Springs. "I’ll work for Democrats and Republicans. And I’ll work as hard for those who don’t support me as those who do."

Biden's Atlanta event was a drive-in rally in a parking lot outside Lakewood amphitheater. The rapper Common was part of the warm-up act, as were US Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

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