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The day after their final debate, Democratic nominee Joe Biden delivered a speech on Friday from his home state of Delaware in which he discussed his plan for combating the coronavirus and accused President Trump of not having one.

Trump traveled to Florida for a pair of “Make America Great Again” rallies to shore up support in his adopted home state, which is considered crucial to his reelection prospects.

Earlier Friday, the president announced that Sudan has agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

With 11 days until Election Day …
  • Vice President Pence cast an early ballot Friday in his home state of Indiana. Trump plans to vote early in Florida on Saturday, his campaign said.
  • Biden has surged ahead of Trump in donors — including in the states that matter most.
  • At least 47 million Americans have already voted, surpassing the total number of early ballots cast in 2016.
  • Trump tried to cast Biden as a ­scandal-plagued politician who has failed over decades in office, and Biden sought to portray Trump as a demagogue who abused immigrants and mishandled the pandemic, as the two counterpunched on a range of issues in their final debate Thursday.
  • Biden leads Trump by nine percentage points nationally, 52 percent to 43 percent, according to an average of national polls since Oct. 12. Biden’s margin in the battleground state of Michigan is 10 points. It’s eight points in Wisconsin, seven in Pennsylvania, five in Arizona and one in Florida.
10:30 p.m.
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Trump rally contains racially incendiary comments

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump slipped several racially insensitive remarks into a campaign speech at the Villages in Florida, many that date back to his early days as a politician.

Trump referenced “Barack Hussein Obama” three times in a row, giving extra emphasis to “Hussein.” He conflated low-income housing with crime, warned of “criminals and rapists and even murderers” immigrating across the border, and talked up his ban on travelers from Muslim countries to keep out “radical Islam."

Meanwhile, a man behind Trump’s shoulder repeatedly made a gesture with his hand that matches one used by white nationalists.

Trump also attacked Joe Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), and her politics, railing against the idea of her as the first female president.

“She will not be your first female president. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. “We’re not supposed to have a socialist — look, we’re not going to be a socialist nation. We’re not going to have a socialist president, especially a female socialist president.”

The president also claimed that the United States is “rounding the corner beautifully” on the coronavirus, even as the country set a record for the most new cases in one day.

“We’re not entering a dark winter,” Trump said. “We’re entering the final turn and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel” — a phrase most commonly associated with the U.S. government’s false optimism about the Vietnam War.

8:17 p.m.
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Biden campaign creates TrumpCovidPlan.com website that opens to a nonexistent page

By Colby Itkowitz

The Biden campaign purchased the domain name TrumpCovidPlan.com, which opens to a page that says “Not Found” in bold type.

Underneath is one sentence: “The Trump plan to defeat the Coronavirus and reopen safely does not exist.”

It then provides a link to “Learn More,” which opens to a graphic timeline of Trump’s tweets and public comments about the coronavirus, beginning in late January when he said: “We have it totally under control. … It’s going to be just fine.”

As the Biden campaign trolled Trump with the website, the Republican National Committee tweeted a list of some of Trump’s second-term priorities, including a permanent manned presence on the moon, the first manned mission to Mars, the “world’s greatest infrastructure system” and a “national high-speed wireless Internet network.”

Many Twitter users noted what was conspicuously missing from the list: Defeating the coronavirus.

7:47 p.m.
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Biden slams Trump on pandemic: ‘If this is success, what’s a failure look like?’

By Sean Sullivan

Joe Biden renewed his attacks on President Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and criticized him sharply for suggesting the country is “rounding the corner,” as coronavirus cases spike across the nation.

“If this is success, what’s a failure look like?” Biden asked in an afternoon speech. He spoke in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., a day after his final debate with Trump. The remarks were a move to frame the remainder of election squarely around the pandemic.

Biden did not take questions from reporters or address his debate comments about closing down the oil industry, which drew attacks from conservatives. On social media, Trump attacked Biden on energy issues.

The former vice president took Trump to task for his debate comments, which frequently undersold the extent to which the virus continues to spread. “He’s quit on America,” Biden said.

The Democrat outlined the steps he would take to combat the pandemic, including moving to implement face mask mandates, expanding testing capacities, and ensuring a vaccine, when ready, is distributed fairly. He said he would ask Congress to put a bill on his desk by the end of January to provide economic and public health resources.

“Imagine a day in the not too distant future when you can enjoy dinner with your friends and your family and maybe even go out to a movie,” Biden said.

6:56 p.m.
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Madison Cawthorn, GOP House candidate, calls racist smear a ‘syntax error’

By Colby Itkowitz

Madison Cawthorn, a House Republican candidate in North Carolina, created a website attacking his Democratic opponent that made a racist characterization of a watchdog reporter as someone who works “to ruin white males.”

The website, MoeTaxes.com, about Cawthorn’s Democratic opponent Moe Davis, alleged that local journalist Tom Fiedler was working with Davis allies, and described Fiedler as working for “non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males.”

Cawthorn, 25, a political upstart who beat the GOP establishment, Trump-endorsed candidate in a North Carolina primary election, issued a statement Friday correcting the language used on the website and claiming that it wasn’t intended to be about race but, rather, a commentary on the reporter’s politics.

Cawthorn described the language on the website as a “syntax error” that was “unclear and unfairly implied I was criticizing Cory Booker.”

6:46 p.m.
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Non-matching signatures can’t disqualify mail ballots in Pennsylvania, state high court rules

By Elise Viebeck

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Friday that election officials cannot reject a mail ballot if the voter’s signature does not match the one on file with the government, a victory for Democrats and voting rights advocates who have argued that arbitrary application of such rules tends to disenfranchise voters from underrepresented groups.

The unanimous decision also stated that mail ballots will not be rejected because of “third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons,” eliminating a way for politically motivated observers to challenge the validity of votes based on perceived signature mismatches.

“We conclude that the Election Code does not authorize or require county election boards to reject absentee or mail-in ballots during the canvassing process based on an analysis of a voter’s signature on the 'declaration’ contained on the official ballot return envelope for the absentee or mail-in ballot,” wrote Justice Debra Todd.

The judges concluded that had state lawmakers wanted election officials to use signature-matching to authenticate ballots, they would have outlined this requirement in statute.

President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee had intervened in the case to defend signature-matching in Pennsylvania, claiming in part that it was too late to alter the rules before Election Day.

Tobi Raji contributed.

6:09 p.m.
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Republicans hold narrow leads in Montana in races for Senate and president

By Colby Itkowitz

Montana, a reliably red state in presidential elections, voted for President Trump over Hillary Clinton by 20 points four years ago. But a new poll of likely voters suggest it’s a much closer race there this time around.

Trump leads Joe Biden among likely Montana voters 49 percent to 43 percent, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. The results indicate that Biden is making significant inroads with White, moderate voters who overwhelmingly voted for Trump in 2016.

The Montana Senate race, which is rated a toss-up by political prognosticators, appears to be just that. GOP incumbent Sen. Steve Daines holds a 3-percentage-point lead over sitting Democratic governor Steve Bullock, 49 percent to 46 percent. That lead is within the poll’s margin of error, meaning the race could be even tighter.

Notably, Montanans reelected Bullock for governor in 2016 while also overwhelmingly picking Trump.

5:53 p.m.
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Trump’s campaign cancels ads in key states for the last two weeks

By Anu Narayanswamy

Trump’s campaign canceled television ad buys worth $24.6 million slotted in 10 competitive states, while Biden’s campaign added $16.3 million worth of ads in 13 states leading up to Election Day, according to Advertising Analytics, a firm that collects data on political ads.

Trump’s campaign canceled ad buys in several states, pulling $8.4 million worth of ads in Florida and $4.3 million in Ohio. Biden’s campaign added $6.6 million in Florida and $5 million in Pennsylvania.

There’s also a stark difference in ad buys that are already slotted for the next two weeks. Biden has paid for ads worth $43.6 million; Trump is at $12.4 million, with no national advertising planned in the next two weeks.

Among super PACs, Preserve America added $12 million to their ad buys, taking their total spent on ads this election to $104 million. The super PAC was created this summer to help reelect Trump and received a last-minute injection of $75 million in donations from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam.

5:48 p.m.
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Pence in Ohio seizes on Biden’s comments about the oil industry

By John Wagner

During a campaign stop Friday in Ohio, Vice President Pence seized on comments by former vice president Joe Biden in Thursday night’s debate about closing down the oil industry.

“Did you see it? Joe Biden said the oil industry pollutes and has to be replaced,” Pence told a crowd in Swanton, Ohio. “The truth of the matter is, America’s strength and power comes in part from our vast natural resources.”

During the debate, when asked by President Trump whether he would “close down the oil industry,” Biden responded, “Yes, I would transition.”

Biden later clarified to reporters he would stop giving government subsidies to the oil industry rather than close it down entirely.

Pence also argued that Biden wants to end fracking, even though Biden has said that is not the case.

“They want to end fracking, no matter what they’re saying now,” Pence said.

Earlier in his remarks, Pence declared that Trump had won the debate “hands down."

“I saw Joe was looking at his watch — I figured he was trying to figure out how soon this thing’s going to be over,” Pence said.

5:07 p.m.
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It’s true that Obama built the cages at the border. But Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy had no precedent.

By Nick Miroff

The phrase “kids in cages” has become a catchall for the Trump administration’s approach to immigration enforcement in recent years, to the president’s evident frustration. As he pointed out during Thursday night’s presidential debate, he didn’t build the “cages” — the Obama administration did.

When moderator Kristen Welker asked about the president’s “zero tolerance” policy in 2018 and the separation of thousands of migrant parents from their children, Trump immediately tried to skirt responsibility by blaming former president Barack Obama.

“They built cages,” he said, referring to the Obama administration. “You know, they used to say I built the cages. And then they had a picture in a certain newspaper and it was a picture of these horrible cages and they said, look at these cages, President Trump built them. And then it was determined they were built in 2014. That was him. They built cages.”

Biden responded by stating, correctly, that the Obama administration did not systematically separate parents from their children at the border, a practice that generated such backlash that the first lady and Trump’s daughter Ivanka joined the groundswell of people who pressured him to end it.

The two claims at the core of the exchange — that Obama built the cages and Trump did something unprecedented with them — were not wrong. But the wider context and history were missing.

4:59 p.m.
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McConnell prepares to finalize Senate confirmation of Barrett to Supreme Court

By Seung Min Kim

Senate Republicans and Democrats are poised to continue their bitter feud over the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Friday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) prepares to take steps to finalize her installation to the Supreme Court by Monday evening.

McConnell will go to the floor later Friday afternoon to formally set up a pair of votes to confirm Barrett, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, as Trump’s third pick to the Supreme Court. The significant judicial victory for Republicans will come just over a week before the Nov. 3 elections, in which the GOP is struggling to retain control of both the White House and the Senate.

But Democrats are expected to engage in a number of dilatory procedural tactics Friday, as they have all week, to protest Barrett and what they described as a rushed confirmation process. Democrats insist that the winner of the presidential election next month should fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18.

4:56 p.m.
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Trump, RNC announce $26 million in donations around Thursday night’s debate

By John Wagner

Trump’s campaign announced Friday that it, the Republican National Committee and joint fundraising committees raised $26 million around the final presidential debate, an infusion of cash in a race in which Biden has had the advantage heading into the home stretch.

The RNC said that the figure represented the reelection effort’s largest digital fundraising day and eclipsed donations that came in around the previous debate.

The Biden campaign did not announce figures for debate-related fundraising and did not immediately respond to a request for a comparison.

As of Oct. 15, the end of the latest reporting period, Biden held $331.2 million in cash along with the Democratic National Committee and two affiliated fundraising committees that raise money for the campaign and the national party. Trump held $223.6 million, combined between all of the accounts — about two-thirds of the cash on the Democratic side.

The Trump campaign burned through all of the cash it raised during the first weeks of October, pouring money into campaign advertisements.

4:23 p.m.
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Harris says Biden was talking about ‘banning subsidies,’ not oil

By Chelsea Janes

Vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) landed in Atlanta for a day of campaigning there around 11:15 a.m., by which time pundits and social media junkies had spent many morning hours parsing through the language and potential political implications of Biden’s comments about transitioning away from oil at Thursday night’s debate.

So one of the first questions thrown her way by reporters on the tarmac was about Biden’s comments and whether he actually wants to end the oil industry, which he suggested he did with a quick yes to Trump’s question about whether he would shut that industry down.

“Let’s be really clear about this. Joe Biden is not going to ban fracking. He is going to deal with the oil subsidies,” Harris said, echoing a clarification Biden himself had issued at the airport after the debate.

“The president likes to put everything out of context. But let’s be clear: What Joe was talking about was banning subsidies, but he will not ban fracking.”

Fracking became an unlikely focus of Harris’s debate with Pence earlier this month, in part because Harris expressed support for banning fracking during her own presidential campaign. But since joining the ticket in August, Harris has been firmly behind Biden’s position, which consists of not allowing any new permits for fracking on federal lands.

While the oil conversation could affect voters in states, like Texas, largely thought to be a long shot for Democrats until recently, the fracking conversation takes on particular importance in Pennsylvania, a state both campaigns believe could be pivotal on Nov. 3. Biden is scheduled to visit the state Saturday, while Harris is scheduled to visit Cleveland.

3:58 p.m.
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Trump to vote Saturday in adopted home state of Florida; campaign says it is stepping up push in Minnesota

By John Wagner

Trump will cast an early vote Saturday in his adopted home state of Florida, his aides relayed to reporters Friday during a call in which they also said the campaign is ramping up efforts in Minnesota, a state Democrat Hillary Clinton won four years ago.

Trump, who is campaigning Friday in Florida, plans to spend the night at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and cast his ballot nearby the next morning, campaign manager Bill Stepien said.

Trump, a native New Yorker, changed his primary residence to Palm Beach in September 2019.

The Democratic ticket is also planning to put a spotlight on Florida on Saturday. Former president Barack Obama is scheduled to hold a drive-in rally in North Miami on behalf of Biden.

During the call with reporters, Stepien also mocked Biden for spending as much time in his home state of Delaware as he does. Biden plans to deliver a speech on the coronavirus Friday from his hometown of Wilmington.

“He’s continuing his full-court press to lock down the vote in Delaware,” Stepien said. “This could be a close race, and those three electoral votes could be really important.”

Stepien and other Trump campaign officials said they are stepping up their push in Minnesota, a state Clinton carried in 2016 and in which a recent SurveyMonkey-Tableau poll showed Biden leading Trump by 14 percentage points.

“We see a real opportunity in Minnesota,” Stepien said, noting that Vice President Pence will campaign in the state on Monday and that the campaign is buying an unspecified number of television ads there.

The Biden campaign announced Friday that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) will hold multiple events in the southern part of the state on Saturday on Biden’s behalf. It’s being billed as a “Joe’s in Your Corner” tour.

3:21 p.m.
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Slovenia’s prime minister endorses Trump, joining other right-wing world leaders

By Miriam Berger

The prime minister of Slovenia endorsed Trump in a tweet on Friday, adding the birthplace of first lady Melania Trump to a clique of countries led by right-wing leaders who have sided with the incumbent candidate.

“We respect the difficult, tragic personal life of Joe Biden and some of his political achievements years ago,” Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa tweeted, in a reference to the Democratic candidate and former vice president, who lost a wife and daughter in a car crash and a son to cancer. “But today, if elected, [Biden] would be one of the weakest presidents in history. When a free world desperately needs a STRONG #US as never before. Go, win, @realDonald Trump,” Jansa concluded.

He tagged the president’s Twitter handle and ended the tweet with images of an American and Slovenian flag.

Jansa’s announcement follows similar statements of support from two other populist leaders in the region: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have also endorsed Trump’s reelection. The U.S. intelligence community has warned of Russian interference in the election, following similar efforts in the 2016 election that included leaking hacked emails related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

So far, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not explicitly spoken in favor of one candidate over the other, the Associated Press reported. The Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in D.C. declined to comment.