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What are the 2 candidates’ strategies for the race’s final days?

How do President Trump and Joe Biden plan to leverage their final four days before voting concludes? Both candidates turned their attention to the Midwest on Friday, but they have a flurry of additional stops to make prior to Election Day. Yamiche Alcindor and Lisa Desjardins join Judy Woodruff to discuss closing messages, campaign priorities and which states look to be the most competitive.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, how do the Trump and Biden campaigns plan to take advantage of these last days before voting ends?

    Yamiche joins me now, along with our Lisa Desjardins, who has been following the Biden campaign.

    Hello to both of you.

    Yamiche, in your piece, you talked about how the candidates are addressing COVID. With regard to the president's campaign, do his people think he's hitting the right notes in the way he's talking about this virus?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The Trump campaign and President Trump do believe that he is hitting the right notes in talking about COVID-19 as something that is getting too much attention and as saying that the virus essentially is not that bad.

    It's a remarkable case that he's making, but he's saying three particular things. He's saying, one, I got the virus, and I'm doing fine, as will all Americans who get the virus.

    That, of course, is in contrast to the fact we have 229,000 Americans who have died from this virus. The president is also saying now over and over again at these rallies that hospitals and doctors are artificially inflating the numbers of people who have the coronavirus in order to get money.

    We're seeing health officials push back very hard on that. We had the American Medical Association came out today and say that that is a malicious lie, that it is not true.

    The other thing that the president is saying, essentially, is that COVID-19 is getting too much attention from the media. That is a remarkable thing to say, especially when we have 47 states where the virus is surging, and Dr. Birx, our reporting shows, was warning governors on a call today that coronavirus is on the rise and that people need to be vigilant about social distancing and masks.

    But the president thinks he's making this argument for people who are tired of being in their homes, who are tired of being locked down. He is trying to essentially make the case that people should be able to live their lives freely, and that therapeutics and vaccines will be on the way.

    It's something that Joe Biden has, of course, really, really attacked and said that the president is not being very responsible. But it is the president's closing message to the American people.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Lisa, with regard to the Biden campaign, do they believe that he is saying what he needs to say at this stage of the campaign about the virus? And how much of a focus is it going to be in these remaining days?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The Biden campaign has a broad focus.

    But, yes, the coronavirus and the president's response to it is a big piece of it. In general, the Biden campaign is going to do what they have been doing for months, convey that this is a president who has been bad for this country, in their opinion, and who has led to more chaos and less stability, with the idea that Joe Biden is someone who can govern the country back into stability and, even more, heal the divides that they say the Trump administration has made worse.

    With regards to what the president is saying about the coronavirus, speaking to multiple Biden campaign sources, they say that that sort of contrast with reality, the president, his son, and others portraying a situation where things are getting better, when, in fact, most Americans know that things seem to be getting worse at this moment, they say that helps them.

    One campaign aide, Judy, told me most every American knows someone who has been affected by coronavirus, someone who has died, someone who has lost a job, someone who's been sick, and then — and the president's message just goes against that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Yamiche, to broaden this out, what about in the final days are the states the Trump folks are looking at? And what do they feel good about? What are they worried about?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    In the final days of this election, between today and Election Day, President Trump is holding 17 rallies in eight states.

    I want to put up a map for people to show all the places that the president is going. He's going to critical battleground states, as well as in states that he's worried about. He's going to Iowa, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota. And then the day before the election, just the day before the election, he's going to be in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

    The Trump campaign feels confident about Florida, they tell me. I have talked to multiple sources who also say they feel confident about the president being able to get enough Black men and Latino men to run up his numbers there.

    But they are very worried about the coronavirus and whether or not people, especially people who have lost loved ones, whether or not they will not be happy with the president's handling and rhetoric of this, and, as a result, may not vote for him and will break for Joe Biden.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Lisa, same question to you.

    What are the states the Biden camp is focusing on in these last hours? And what do they feel good about, and what are they worried about?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    I will see Yamiche's map of the Trump campaign, and I will raise her.

    Here's the Biden campaign map for the last five — last few days. As she reported in the package, you see the president going to three states today, but also, in the next couple of days, he will be spending time in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

    This is really important, Pennsylvania. All four key members of the Biden campaign, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their spouses will be in Pennsylvania on Monday. That is a focus for this campaign. These are blue wall states that President Obama won and that President Biden — or — I'm sorry — Vice President Biden can take back.

    One more thing. The Biden campaign feels good about their outreach to Hispanics, particularly in Texas and Arizona.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we know the Biden camp will have former President Obama on the trail with Mr. Biden over the weekend in Michigan.

    Lisa Desjardins, Yamiche Alcindor, down to the wire. Thank you both.

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