WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden on Friday predicted a final-hour shift in favor of the Democrats in the midterm elections, saying that the economy, seen as the party’s weakest issue, is steadily improving.
“It’s been back and forth, with them ahead, us ahead, them ahead, back and forth,” Biden told reporters at the White House, three weeks before elections deciding control of Congress.
“Polls have been all over the place. I think we’re going to see one more shift back to our side in the closing days,” Biden said.
Recent polls show momentum rising on the Republican side, with voters increasingly anxious about high inflation and likely to punish the Democrats on November 8.
Biden’s party currently has a razor-thin majority in Congress but Republican leaders say they will block his legislation if they take over the legislature.
Biden, however, maintained an upbeat outlook, also telling MSNBC in an interview late Friday that he intends to seek a second term in 2024, despite already being the oldest person ever in his office. He turns 80 next month.
“I have not made that formal decision but it’s my intention, my intention to run again, and we have time to make that decision,” Biden told MSNBC.
Asked what the first lady, who is widely judged to be a powerful voice behind the scenes in the White House, thinks of him seeking a second term, Biden indicated she was in favor.
“Dr Biden, my wife, thinks that we’re doing something very important and that I shouldn’t walk away from it,” he said.
‘Crash’ the economy
In fiery remarks predicting that the Republicans would “crash the economy” if they are in charge of Congress, Biden said voters were starting to see “some good news in the economy” and would return to supporting Democrats in time for voting day.
Biden listed gradually falling gasoline prices, low unemployment across most of the country, and Friday’s news of “the largest-ever decline in the federal deficit” as examples.
The deficit reduction is “further proof that we’re rebuilding the economy in a responsible way,” he said.
Republicans, he said, will eliminate the minimum tax rate for big corporations and “double down” on tax cuts for the most wealthy.
Referring to former president Donald Trump’s far-right Make America Great Again or MAGA movement, Biden said the Republican economic plan was “mega-MAGA trickle-down” economics — “the kind of policies that have failed the country before and will fail again.”
The Republicans quickly shot back, citing Biden’s “flailing dishonesty.”
“Republican-led states continue to keep Americans working, children in schools, and small businesses operating, while Biden and Democrats created a recession, historic inflation and high gas prices. This election is about the economy,” Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
In a speech to mostly African American students at Delaware State University in his home state, also Friday, Biden highlighted two recent widely popular measures that the White House says show the president keeping his own election promises.
A ruling to forgive $10,000 of university student loans — $20,000 for poorer students — will “make sure you have a shot,” Biden said.
Referring to Republican opposition, Biden underlined his populist message, insisting “I will never apologize for helping working and middle class Americans.”
The Democrat also touted his decision to pardon thousands of Americans convicted of marijuana possession — a longtime demand of Black rights activists who point out the disproportionate impact of criminalizing possession of cannabis on Black people.
“I’m keeping my promise that no one, no one should be in jail for barely using or possessing marijuana,” he said.