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2 Months Out From The Election, Presidential Campaigns Hit The Trail


We're two months out from the election, and both candidates will be on the campaign trail today. Joe Biden will be in Kenosha, Wis. That city is still on edge after a police officer shot a Black man named Jacob Blake. There were protests over the shooting, and later, a teenager allegedly killed two protesters. And we say allegedly because he has been charged but not tried. President Trump will be in Latrobe, Pa., for a campaign event. And following all of this is NPR's White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Hey, Tam.


KING: Let's start with Joe Biden's visit to Kenosha. Here's what he said yesterday.


JOE BIDEN: What we're going to do is we've got to heal. We got to put things together, bring people together. And so my purpose in going will be to do just that - to be a positive influence on what's going on.

KING: Somewhat hazy language - what is Biden's plan while there?

KEITH: Biden told reporters yesterday that he plans to meet with community leaders and business people. The Biden campaign also told NPR that he intends to meet with the father of Jacob Blake - that's the Black man who was shot and wounded by police - and other members of the Blake family. President Trump didn't meet with any members of the Blake family when he visited Kenosha on Tuesday. He didn't even say Blake's name. His focus was on law enforcement and businesses that had been burned in protests that went south.

You know, it's a very raw situation, and some people didn't want either of them to go. Biden is justifying his trip, saying that there were people who told him that they wanted him there. Meanwhile, both campaigns are up on the air with ads around this theme of safety - President Trump saying that you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America; Biden saying people aren't safe in Donald Trump's America with the ongoing pandemic and the president's tendency to throw fuel on the fires of division.

KING: Those ads you mentioned cost money, and I want to ask you about that because both campaigns raised a lot of cash in August.

KEITH: Indeed. We know for sure that the Biden campaign raised $365 million along with the Democratic Party. That is record-shattering. For context, they raised about 140 million in July. The Trump campaign hasn't released their numbers yet, but they say they raised 76 million during the Republican convention alone. They've already - both campaigns - booked well over $100 million in ads for the fall. That's according to Ad Analytics.

KING: I want to ask you, lastly, about something that I know pulled your attention yesterday. President Trump was on the trail. And he said something - he seemed to encourage his supporters to vote twice. Let's listen to that.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They'll go out, and they'll vote. And they're going to have to go and check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates, then they won't be able to do that. So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system's as good as they say it is, then, obviously, they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote. So that's the way it is.

KING: Voting twice is illegal, correct?

KEITH: Yes. If someone were to actually vote twice, that is illegal. This interview was with WCET Television on the tarmac in Wilmington. And President Trump's comments were very convoluted. But to be clear, in North Carolina, the best way to check whether an absentee ballot has been received is by visiting the State Board of Elections website, not by trying to vote a second time.

A White House official got back to me and said that the idea that President Trump is encouraging people to vote twice is, quote, "yet another example of the media taking him out of context."

KING: NPR's Tamara Keith. Thanks, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.