PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — President Joe Biden said Thursday the “rest of the world is looking” at who will control Congress after the upcoming midterm elections, warning that Republican victories would jeopardize the nation’s standing abroad as he attempts to to give a boost to Democrat John Fetterman of Pennsylvania campaigning for the Senate.
At a fundraiser in Philadelphia, Biden sounded the alarm about what he saw as the urgency of the moment, saying Republicans were trying to roll back access to abortion and increase the price of prescription drugs. He echoed comments from some GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, casting doubt on the US obligation to help Ukraine repel Russian invasion of its territory.
“They said if they win, they probably won’t fund Ukraine,” Biden said. “These guys don’t get it. It’s much bigger than Ukraine. It’s Eastern Europe. It’s NATO.
He added: “The rest of the world is also looking at this election. Both the good guys and the bad guys out there – to see what will happen. We have to win. John has to win.”
Biden’s comments came at the end of a day-long state visit where a Democratic win would greatly improve the party’s chances of holding the Senate. Fetterman is Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, for an vacant seat, which is vacated by Senator Pat Toomey, also a Republican.
Biden called Oz “a perfect example” of what he called “MAGA Republicans,” referring to former President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.” Trump backed Oz’s candidacy and gave him a crucial boost in the GOP primary earlier this year.
Fetterman, who is recovering from a stroke he suffered just days before the Democratic primary, said he’s doing much better but conceded some lingering effects. “Sometimes I miss a word or I end up mixing two words together.”
He was critical of his rival, saying “Dr. Oz never lets me forget that I had a stroke.” But he added: “In January I’ll be feeling a lot better. But Dr. Oz will still be a cheater.”
Earlier Thursday, Biden presented his administration’s efforts to revitalize the country’s roads and toured ongoing repairs to the Fern Hollow Bridge. It became a symbol of the nation’s aging infrastructure after it collapsed into a canyon just hours before Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh last January.
Administration officials say the repair work, which is expected to be completed by December, was accelerated by the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill that Biden signed into law late last year. Biden deviated from his planned itinerary last January to visit the site of the bridge that had just collapsed.
On Thursday, he returned to the bridge to make it a symbol of success for the White House and Democrats, who view the bipartisan law as one of several achievements in the first two years of Biden’s presidency.
“When you see these projects in your neighborhood and cranes go up, shovels in the ground, I want you to feel what I feel: pride,” Biden said, speaking alongside a large, yellow crane at the edge of Fern Hollow’s new span . “Proud of what we can achieve when we work together.”
Fetterman was there when Biden visited the Pittsburgh Bridge. Biden thanked Fetterman — currently the state’s lieutenant governor — for running and told his wife Gisele, “You’re going to be a great, great woman in the Senate.”
“This bill is about more than rebuilding our infrastructure, it’s about rebuilding the middle class — something John knows a lot about and talks a lot about,” Biden said during his speech.
The Fettermans later accompanied Biden to a Primanti Bros. sandwich shop in nearby Moon Township, where the president paid for several bags of takeout and, in a brief exchange with reporters, expressed his confidence that Democrats would retain control of the Senate .
“It’s not over until it’s over,” Biden said of his party’s Senate prospects.
Biden gave the Fettermans a ride on Air Force One to Philadelphia, where he was the keynote speaker at the fundraiser to replenish coffers drained at one of the year’s most expensive races.
Introducing Biden, Fetterman emphasized his commitment to protecting abortion rights, saying, “I would always be the voice you can count on.”
“Please send Dr. Oz back to New Jersey,” he added, mocking the former television personality’s longtime residency in the neighboring state. “And send me to DC to be that 51st voice.”
As he tours the country, Biden repeatedly emphasizes the impact of infrastructure legislation on roads, aircraft terminals and seaports. Of approximately $1 trillion in spending, approximately $40 billion is earmarked for bridges.
The Biden administration has sought to increase the pace of building infrastructure projects and hosted a summit at the White House last week to help state and local government officials streamline their processes.
The pressure to speed up the permitting, planning and construction process came as high inflation drove up costs and caused delays. The Department of Commerce has launched an initiative to coordinate the installation of water mains and broadband and power lines to avoid multiple ripping up of roads. The Department of Transport set up an internal center to advise on best practices for construction.
Republicans took up the inflation problem on Thursday. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., said the cost of repairing a bridge is now 30% to 40% higher than it was two years ago – so the bill’s excess infrastructure funding has been of no use.
“Every Pennsylvanian I know, Republican and Democrat, is asking the same question: If more than $1 trillion has been committed for infrastructure and transportation projects, roads and bridges, where is that? We don’t really see it,” Meuser said in a press call arranged by the Republican National Committee. “Our roads are in bad shape.”
Earlier Thursday, before boarding his helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House, Biden challenged a reporter who suggested few Democratic candidates had held events with him ahead of the midterm elections.
“That’s not true,” Biden replied. “There were 15. Count, child, count.” He later told reporters in Moon Township that he had received several requests from Democratic candidates for the election campaign, but he didn’t have the details yet.
In a recent poll released by AARP, Fetterman leads Oz by 48 to 46 percent, but Fetterman’s lead is shrinking.
Oz has gained 4 points since June and that means the race is now within error.
This poll is the result of a poll of more than 1,300 Pennsylvania voters, polled by a Republican and a Democratic entity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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https://6abc.com/joe-biden-philadelphia-john-fetterman-fundraiser-mehmet-oz-pittbsurgh-bridge/12349852/ Election 2022: Biden campaigns for Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman in Philadelphia, says ‘world is looking’