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Biden accuses 'MAGA Republicans' of not supporting police, as he barnstorms battleground state of Pennsylvania

By Victor Reklaitis

President addresses crime while visiting Wilkes-Barre, where Trump plans to hold rally on Saturday

President Joe Biden on Tuesday talked up Democratic efforts to fight crime and argued Republicans aren't the law-and-order party, as he addressed a top issue in the upcoming midterm elections while visiting Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

"Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress: Don't tell me you support law enforcement, if you won't condemn what happened on the 6th," Biden said, referring to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Now it's sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI," Biden also said, referring to some of the reactions to the agency's search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home for classified documents.

Tuesday's trip is expected to be the first of Biden's three forays over six days to the battleground state of Pennsylvania, and it comes while Trump is planning a rally in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.

The president is due to go to Philadelphia on Thursday for a primetime speech on "how our rights and freedoms are still under attack," and he's scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Monday to "celebrate Labor Day and the dignity of American workers," according to the White House.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman, who is running to represent Pennsylvania against GOP candidate Mehmet Oz, hadn't been expected to join Biden on Tuesday, but they are due to appear together in Pittsburgh on Labor Day.

Some Democrats in tough races have made efforts to distance themselves from Biden, who faces low approval ratings as American have been frustrated with high inflation.

See:Tim Ryan, Democrats' Senate nominee in Ohio, skips Biden's events in the Cincinnati area

And read:Biden 'should have further targeted the relief': Democrats in tough Senate races distance themselves from his plan for student-loan forgiveness

The Democratic U.S. House member who represents the congressional district that includes Wilkes-Barre, Matt Cartwright, had been expected to appear with Biden on Tuesday. He's in a competitive race vs. Republican challenger Jim Bognet.

During his speech, Biden praised Fetterman as "a powerful voice for working people" and lauded Cartwright, saying the congressman knows how to deliver for his district.

The president mixed up the races in Pennsylvania near the end of his speech, saying voters should "elect that big old boy to be governor," referring to Fetterman, and select the state's Democratic attorney general, Josh Shapiro, for the Senate. Shapiro is the one running for governor, facing Republican Doug Mastriano.

Biden also reiterated his call for a ban on assault rifles and repeated his joke about how deer don't wear Kevlar vests.

In addition, Biden emphasized that he signed into law a bipartisan gun measure in June, saying it's the "most significant gun-safety law" in 30 years.

Gunmaker stocks Sturm Ruger (RGR) and Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI) closed lower on Tuesday, as the broad S&P 500 index also dropped. Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson are down about 23% and 24% this year, respectively, while the S&P has lost 16%.

George Mason University professor Brad Greenwood wrote earlier this year that investors "no longer seem to worry so much about the chances of tightening firearms regulation when assessing the long-term viability of gun manufacturers in the aftermath of mass shootings," as there has been "inaction on gun control" at the federal level and some states have loosened their regulations.

In response to the president's speech, the Republican Party tweeted that Fetterman "wants to release one-third of inmates, reduce sentences for murderers, and 'reimagine' policing."

Plus:Midterm elections: Republican edge over Democrats erodes in this one key indicator

-Victor Reklaitis


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

08-30-22 1652ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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