Biden and Trump rally in Georgia in 2024 rematch

  • Gary O'Donoghue and Sam Cabral
  • in Atlanta and Washington

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President Joe Biden made the accusation following Thursday's State of the Union address

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both held campaign rallies in the US state of Georgia as their general election showdown draws more attention.

The former president, 77, blasted Thursday's State of the Union address as an “angry, dark and hateful rant.”

An hour down the road, President Biden, 81, issued new endorsements while taking offense at his rival.

Both men are now within striking distance of winning their respective parties' nominations for president.

Mr Trump has so far amassed 1,076 delegates and is 139 away from the number needed for the Republican approval. Mr Biden has collected 1,859 delegates, 109 delegates short of the Democratic ticket needed.

Each man has a chance to get the job done in Tuesday's primaries, including Georgia.

Their shadow-boxing on Saturday came two days after Mr Biden strongly condemned his predecessor's rhetoric and record during his State of the Union address to Congress.

Speaking in the northwestern city of Rome, Mr Trump hammered his “very incompetent” opponent in what he described as “the most divisive, divisive and radical speech ever delivered by a president in that room”.

“Joe Biden shouldn't be yelling at America,” he argued.

“America Should be Screaming Anger at Joe Biden.”

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WATCH: We asked MAGA: Is there anything good about Biden?

He was also zeroed in on border security and last month's killing of Georgia college student Laken Riley, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant.

According to a Gallup poll released last month, immigration is now the top concern of American voters.

With photos of supporters attending Ms Riley and her family and friends, the former president vowed to “demand justice for Laken” and “seal the border”.

He blasted Mr Biden for backtracking on comments he made during the State of the Union in which he called the suspect “illegal”. The president lamented that MSNBC didn't use the Democrats' preferred term — undocumented — in the interview.

Mr Biden's controversial comment came during an exchange with Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Green, who rallied with Mr Trump on Saturday in Rome, where he lives and represents Congress.

Speaking to supporters in the capital Atlanta, an hour's drive away, Mr Biden told supporters: “It can tell you a lot about a person the way he interacts with him.”

image source, Good pictures

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Donald Trump campaigned Saturday in Rome, the hometown of Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green.

He attacked Mr Trump – who on Friday hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at his Florida home – for “loving dictators and dictatorial thugs around the world”.

Recasting November's general election as a “contest between competing powers in the battle for the soul of this nation”, the president reiterated his view that Mr Trump's “narrative of resentment, vengeance and revenge” was not in voters' interests.

Mr Biden's campaign for re-election came under attack after the flurry of the State of the Union, which was watched by more than 32 million Americans on television.

He visited the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Friday and will hold rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin next week, while members of his administration are also on a nationwide rampage.

In the coming weeks, “we will dramatically expand our volunteer engagement, scale our battlefield staff, launch our coalition teams, and invest in new paid media campaigns,” said campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.

One such ad — which will target voters in seven swing states over the next six weeks — launched Saturday and directly addresses concerns about his age.

“Look, I'm not a teenager, that's no secret,” it begins, adding that the veteran politician's experience has helped him “understand how to get things done for the American people.”

When he appeared in Atlanta on Saturday, Mr. Biden's crowd was small but enthusiastic, holding signs sent out by organizers with the phrase “We're on board.”

At the event, the campaign formally announced the endorsement of a trio of political action groups to spend $30m (£23.3m) to mobilize black, Latino and Asian voters for the Democratic Party.

The president hit several points from his punchline on Capitol Hill, delivering remarks with energy that seemed to complement his new style.

Sustaining that momentum over the next eight months will be challenging, but his latest intervention with Mr Trump came as no surprise in Georgia.

Based on their 2020 race results, the southern state is the narrowest in the country. Mr Biden won by less than 12,000 votes here.

Much of his victory came from the nine-in-ten black voters who supported him, but recent polls have given worrying signs that Mr Biden's candidacy lacks a distinct enthusiasm among many black voters.

Polls show Mr Trump ahead here, but he too has problems. One of the four criminal cases against him in Georgia could go to trial before the election, and he faces 13 felony charges he allegedly committed to overturn a 2020 loss in the state.

In short, Georgia is on the minds of these two and success in November will depend on its outcome.

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