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Biden vs. Trump: Live Updates as Biden Heads to Florida

Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, visited a restaurant in Miami last week. Joseph R. Biden Jr. travels to Florida today.Credit…Saul Martinez for The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. is making his first trip to Florida of the general election on Tuesday as he seeks to rally Latino voters in the crucial battleground state.

Mr. Biden, whose itinerary includes a Hispanic Heritage Month stop in Kissimmee, outside Orlando, did not mince words about the purpose of his trip. “I will talk about how I am going to work like the devil to make sure I turn every Latino and Hispanic vote,” Mr. Biden told reporters after a speech in Delaware on Monday.

His visit comes days after his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, visited Miami, making a stop at an arepa joint, and as some Democrats have raised alarms about President Trump’s traction among some Hispanic voters.

Mr. Biden’s efforts in the state are getting a large financial boost, after the billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, announced plans to spend $100 million in Florida in the final 50 days to boost the Democratic nominee.

Already, Mr. Biden has been advertising heavily in the state, spending $6.2 million on television in the last week, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

For his part, Mr. Trump has aggressively sought to portray the election of Mr. Biden as a step toward socialism.

That message could resonate with Florida’s large Cuban-American population, which leans more conservative than other Hispanic groups. But Florida’s Latino population is both growing and diverse; it includes substantial numbers from several Central and South American countries as well as the Dominican Republic.

Asked about his support among Latino voters on Monday, Mr. Biden compared his numbers favorably to the president’s.

“Much higher than his,” Mr. Biden said. “But they’ve got to go higher.”

A Culinary Union member, Elsa Gutierrez, canvassed for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Las Vegas.Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

LAS VEGAS — For the past decade, Democrats in Nevada have notched one hard-fought victory after another. In 2010, Senator Harry Reid won his hotly contested re-election campaign, even as the party lost other battles all over the country. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the state, though with a smaller margin of victory than Democrats garnered in the previous two presidential contests. And in 2018, the Democrats managed to capture the governor’s office and the State Senate.

Nevada’s Democratic political machine was held up as a model for other states where neither party has consistently dominated. But it was a machine built for another era.

Its success relied on hundreds of people knocking on thousands of doors. Now, there are fewer than half as many people canvassing for Democratic voters as there were in September 2016. And some Democratic strategists warn that Nevada could be in 2020 what Wisconsin was in 2016 — a state that the Democrats assume is safely in their column but that slips away.

“I am saying every day: We are more vulnerable than you think we are,” said Annette Magnus, the executive director of Battle Born Progress, a liberal group that has struggled to raise money to get out the vote.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. maintains a slight edge over President Trump in the state, according to polling from The New York Times and Siena College: four percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error. But Democrats worry about falling short of the kind of enthusiastic turnout they need among Latinos and working-class voters.

Last week, the Cook Political Report changed its rating of the state from “likely Democrat” to “lean Democrat.” Mr. Trump, who held two rallies in Nevada over the weekend, has indicated he intends to fight for hard to take the state.

Here are the daily schedules of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for Tuesday, Sept. 15. All times are Eastern time.

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

1:30 p.m.: Hosts a discussion with veterans at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.

6:30 p.m.: Attends a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee, Fla.

President Trump

10:30 a.m.: Hosts officials from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates at the White House.

Afternoon: Holds a 90-minute town-hall-style meeting in Philadelphia with uncommitted Pennsylvania voters, to be broadcast at 9 p.m. on ABC News.

Kamala Harris

Afternoon: Meets with emergency service personnel for an assessment of the wildfires in Fresno, Calif.

Evening: Attends a community conversation in Las Vegas on the impact of Covid-19 on working Latino families.

Vice President Mike Pence

5:30 p.m.: Hosts a “Workers for Trump” event in Zanesville, Ohio.

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, spoke about climate change and the wildfires raging across the West outside the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, Del., on Monday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Scientific American has been in circulation since Abraham Lincoln was a humble lawyer in Springfield, Ill. But the magazine had not formally endorsed a presidential candidate until Tuesday, when it urged its readers to vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a scathing editorial that condemned President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and other science-related issues.

“The pandemic would strain any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of evidence and public health measures have been catastrophic,” the editorial said, pointing to the president’s misleading statements downplaying the virus’s severity, his early disparagement of mask-wearing, his chastising of governors who declined to reopen businesses in their states and his administration’s well-documented testing failures.

“At every stage, Trump has rejected the unmistakable lesson that controlling the disease, not downplaying it, is the path to economic reopening and recovery,” added the editorial, which was bylined by the magazine’s editors and primarily written by Josh Fischman, a senior editor.

The editorial also criticized other actions taken by the Trump administration, such as repeatedly trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act without submitting an alternative, eliminating regulations designed to protect the environment and proposing drastic cuts in scientific research. It appears in the October issue, which went online Tuesday and will hit subscribers’ mailboxes this week.

The editorial also made an affirmative case for Mr. Trump’s opponent. “Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control Covid-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making,” it said.

Scientific American, founded in 1845 and published by Springer Nature, has opined on political matters before. In the 1950s, the magazine was an outspoken opponent of the hydrogen bomb, prompting the Atomic Energy Commission to censor one issue (and burn 3,000 copies of it). In the 2000s, the editors waded into the stem-cell research debate. And in 2016, they warned of Mr. Trump’s “disregard, if not outright contempt,” for science in an editorial that nonetheless stopped short of explicitly endorsing his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

As the magazine’s editors discussed its election coverage earlier this summer, they determined that the endorsement was necessary, said Laura Helmuth, who became editor in chief in March.

“He’s been so much worse than we warned,” Ms. Helmuth said of Mr. Trump in an interview. “The evidence was there already that he rejected expertise, that he embraced conspiracy, theories, that he wasn’t interested in getting the right answers — just interested in projecting his own ideas. And then his administration has been just a disaster for science at every level.

“We could have gone on for pages and pages and pages,” she added.

Ms. Helmuth said the editors strove to make the editorial about President Trump rather than partisanship.

“We never use the world ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat,’” she said. “We think and hope there are many who voted Republican in the past who this time will reject Trump.”

VOTING RIGHTS UPDATE

A judge in Ohio ruled Tuesday that counties could deploy multiple drop boxes for absentee ballots in November, a victory for Democrats in a traditional battleground state President Trump won easily in 2016.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Ohio, a Republican who supports President Trump, had attempted to limit to one the number of ballot boxes at each county office, leading to a lawsuit from the Ohio Democratic Party, which argued that the practice would disenfranchise voters in the state’s 88 counties.

On Monday, Mr. LaRose moved to block the installation of six drop boxes at libraries in Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland and a substantial percentage of the state’s Black voters; Tuesday’s decision likely clears the way for their placement.

Drop boxes have become flash points in battles between Republicans and Democrats in several states because they provide voters with an option for casting absentee ballots without having to rely on mail delivery.

Judge Richard Frye of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court ruled that state law did not preclude the installation of multiple drop boxes per county and that Mr. LaRose’s order was “arbitrary and unreasonable” in the midst of a pandemic.

Local boards of election are allowed to “tailor ballot drop box locations or conceivably other secure options to the needs of their individual county,” the judge wrote.

It was not immediately clear if Mr. LaRose would appeal.

Kirt and Dimna Meyer search through the rubble of their home in Phoenix, Ore., on Monday with their sons. “Everything was here,” Dimna said. “We had just paid off the house and now we lost everything.”Credit…Alisha Jucevic for The New York Times

Rush Limbaugh told millions of radio listeners to set aside any suggestion that climate change was the culprit for the frightening spate of wildfires ravaging California and the Pacific Northwest.

“Man-made global warming is not a scientific certainty; it cannot be proven, nor has it ever been,” Mr. Limbaugh declared, disregarding the mountains of empirical evidence to the contrary, before pivoting to a popular right-wing talking point: that policies meant to curtail climate change are, in fact, an assault on freedom.

“Environmentalist wackos” — Mr. Limbaugh’s phrase — “want man to be responsible for it because they want to control your behavior,” the conservative host said on the show, adding they “want to convince you that your lifestyle choices are the reason why all these fires are firing up out on the Left Coast.”

Hours later, that message leapt to prime-time on Fox News, where the host Tucker Carlson said those who blamed the fires on climate change were merely reciting “a partisan talking point.”

Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Carlson are two of the most prominent commentators in the right-wing media sphere, where a rich history of climate denialism has merged with Trump-era cultural warfare to generate a deep skepticism of the notion that climate change is a factor in the fires devastating the West Coast.

Like President Trump, conservative media stars dismiss climate change — which scientists say is the primary cause of the conflagration — and point to the poor management of forestland by local (and, conveniently, Democratic) officials. Fringe right-wing websites, like The Gateway Pundit, have blamed left-wing arsonists, fueling false rumors that authorities say are impeding rescue efforts.

Under President Trump, international regard for the U.S. has steadily fallen, a survey found.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

America’s international standing under President Trump is at or near its lowest levels since the dawn of the millennium because of his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported Tuesday as it released a new poll.

Pew, which surveyed residents of 13 industrialized countries on four continents, found that only 15 percent believe that the United States has done a good job combating the virus.

In every country polled, respondents gave much higher marks to their home governments, the World Health Organization and China than to the U.S., despite Mr. Trump’s claims that this country is handling the crisis better than any other and his attempts to shift blame for the outbreak to the W.H.O. and Beijing.

“Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe,” the report’s authors concluded.

The country’s falling standing accelerates a downward trend that began when Mr. Trump took office in 2017 after campaigning on a platform of “America First” — foreign opinions and alliances be damned.

Before the Trump era, public opinion of the U.S. remained steadily north of 50 percent in most countries — with the exception of the early 2000s, when President George W. Bush waged an unpopular war in Iraq. In the new survey, the U.S.’s median approval rating among the 13 countries was 34 percent.

Opinion of the U.S. are tethered tightly to those about its president. Mr. Trump netted a median approval rating of 16 percent, with a low of 9 percent in Belgium and a high of only 25 percent in Japan.

Those who did admire Mr. Trump had some demographic similarities with those who approve of him at home. “Men, people with less education and those on the right of the ideological spectrum tend to have more confidence in Trump’s handling of world affairs than their counterparts,” the report’s authors wrote.

Pew surveyed 13,273 adults from June 10 to Aug. 3 in Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., Australia, Japan and South Korea.

President Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton had agreed to let officials review any book before publication to ensure it contained no classified information.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into whether President Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton unlawfully disclosed classified information when he published a memoir this summer, a case that the department opened after it failed to stop the book’s publication, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The department has convened a grand jury and subpoenaed for communications records from Simon & Schuster, which in June published Mr. Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” a highly unflattering account of his 17 months working in the Trump administration.

The investigation marks a significant escalation in the fraught publication of the book. The Trump administration had sought earlier to stop publication, accusing Mr. Bolton in a lawsuit of moving forward with publication without receiving final notice that a pre-publication review to scrub out classified information was complete. The director of national intelligence referred the matter to the Justice Department last month, two of the people said.

Mr. Bolton has denied that he published classified information. Representatives for the Justice Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council declined to comment.

Mr. Bolton’s account of his time working for Mr. Trump and his efforts to get the book published set off a furor, and the president has made clear, particularly on Twitter, that he wants his former aide prosecuted.

Lawyers for the National Security Council and the Justice Department expressed reservations about opening a criminal case, in part because Mr. Trump’s public statements made it seem like an overtly political act, according to two officials briefed on the discussions. Others noted that a federal judge this summer said that Mr. Bolton may have broken the law, and that the case had merit.

Michelle Wu with supporters after winning re-election last November.Credit…Katherine Taylor for The New York Times

Michelle Wu, a 35-year-old Taiwanese-American city councilor and progressive Democrat, announced on Tuesday that she would enter the 2021 Boston mayoral race, asserting a moment of change for a city that has been led by white men since its incorporation in 1822.

Ms. Wu is challenging Mayor Marty Walsh, who is expected to run for a third term and has won widespread approval for his handling of the coronavirus.

It is difficult to defeat a sitting mayor in Boston; the last time it happened was in 1949. But , Massachusetts politics has been jolted repeatedly in recent years by progressive candidates who built come-from-behind campaigns around climate change and social justice.

Ms. Wu, a policy wonk and former student of Senator Elizabeth Warren, has proposed sweeping solutions to issues like gentrification and social inequality.

She has recommended waiving all fees for public transportation, and abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency to give communities more influence over construction. Last year, she proposed a Boston Green New Deal, calling for the city to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Her announcement video — released in English, Spanish and Mandarin — describes a painful period when, after graduating from Harvard University, she had to quit her job and move home to Chicago to care for her mother, who was struggling with mental illness.

Juxtaposing footage of family life with Black Lives Matter protests, Ms. Wu appealed to voters “fighting a system that wasn’t built for us, doesn’t speak our languages, doesn’t hear our voices.”

City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who is Black, is also widely expected to enter the race.

President Trump claimed on Tuesday that he wanted to assassinate President Bashar al-Assad of Syria early in his presidency, at the height of that country’s bloody civil war, but James N. Mattis, then the secretary of defense, stopped him.

“I would’ve rather taken him out. I had him all set,” Mr. Trump said during a morning appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “Mattis didn’t want to do it. Mattis was a highly overrated general.”

That assertion contradicts Mr. Trump’s own previous denials that he ever considered going after the Syrian strongman, whose regime has killed scores of thousands of civilians.

In 2018, Bob Woodward reported in his book “Fear” that Mr. Trump told Mr. Mattis the military should “f — king kill” Assad. But Mr. Trump called that account “fiction” after the book came out. “That was never even contemplated, nor would it be contemplated and it should not have been written about in the book,” he said.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Mr. Mattis, who has criticized the president since leaving office last year. Mr. Mattis declined to comment on Tuesday.

The president, who had suggested he did not plan to read “Rage,” Mr. Woodward’s new book on him, said Tuesday he managed to read the 480-page tome sometime Monday night, cramming it into a packed schedule that included a flight back from California.

“I actually got to read it last night,” he said. “I read it very quickly and it was very boring.” When asked if the book, based in part on 18 interviews with Mr. Trump, was accurate, he replied, “It’s fine.”

The president also suggested several times that he would sit for a weekly interview on the show. “I think we’re going to do this, we’ve agreed to do it once a week in the morning, and I look forward to it like the old days,” he said.

This was news to the co-host Steve Doocy. “I haven’t heard that,” he said. “That’s an exclusive right there!”

Later, Mr. Doocy took a somewhat firmer line. “You may want to do it every week, but Fox is not committed to that,” he said. “We’ll take it on a case-by-case basis, and Joe Biden as well is always welcome to join us for 47 minutes, like we just did with the president.”

Senator Chris Coons of Delaware is being challenged from the left in today’s primary.Credit…Pool photo by Erin Schaff

Shortly after the 2018 midterm elections, progressive groups looking at the 2020 Senate map alighted on one state where they had a chance to contest a safely Democratic seat against a centrist incumbent: Delaware.

But a bid to oust Senator Chris Coons never became a cause célèbre on the left. Liberal groups instead focused on House races, where they won key primary victories over veteran congressmen in Chicago, St. Louis and the Bronx.

And today Mr. Coons, a 10-year incumbent, is the clear favorite in a primary against a progressive challenger, Jessica Scarane. A poll found him leading by 40 percentage points, a margin sufficient to dissuade groups from spending money to help Ms. Scarane.

Still, Mr. Coons has used an enormous fund-raising advantage to blanket Delawareans with television ads, spending nearly $800,000, compared with Ms. Scarane’s $65,000. The only third-party organization to devote significant resources to the race has been the American Chemistry Council, which aired more than $200,000 in ads backing Mr. Coons.

Ms. Scarane, who moved to Delaware from New York 10 years ago, does not have the profile of other left-wing upstarts who have toppled incumbent centrist Democrats. Progressive organizations had first sought to recruit a woman of color to support in the race.

In down-ballot Delaware contests, Sarah McBride, a Democratic candidate for an open seat in the State Senate, is on track to become the nation’s highest-ranking openly transgender elected official.

Ms. McBride was the first transgender person to work at the White House when she served as an intern during President Barack Obama’s administration. There are currently four openly transgender elected officials serving in lower chambers of state legislatures in Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Hillary Clinton in February. She told Senator Kamala Harris at a Monday fund-raiser that Vice President Mike Pence would try to undermine her without bombast.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Hillary Clinton, speaking candidly during an online fund-raiser Monday, counseled Kamala Harris to “modulate” her responses during her upcoming debate with Vice President Mike Pence to avoid a sexist “double standard” that portrays strong female leaders as frightening.

Mrs. Clinton, who lost the 2016 election despite posting strong debate performances against Donald J. Trump, warned Ms. Harris that Mr. Pence would try to undermine her without bombast.

“Pence will somehow, subtly undercut Kamala — you know, he will try to say, ‘Well, that’s not the way it’s done,’” Mrs. Clinton said, adding that Mr. Pence would seek to use the debate, scheduled for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah, to “put her in the box of, you know, the inexperienced woman candidate.”

“She has to modulate her responses because we know there still is a double standard, alive and well when it comes to women in politics,” Mrs. Clinton added, “so she’s got to be firm and effective in rebutting any implication that comes from the other side — but do it in a way that doesn’t scare or alienate voters.”

Monday’s online event, which attracted 100,000 viewers and raised an estimated $6 million in small donations, featured not only Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Harris but their two best-known celebrity doppelgängers, the former Saturday Night Live cast members Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.

At times, the discussion resembled an informal conversation between four friends, with Mrs. Clinton saying she has used the forced confinement of the pandemic to spend time with her grandchildren and to catch up on decades of sleep deprivation. Ms. Harris said that her family had been cooking a lot more, and binge-watching Marvel movies, at least before she was picked as Mr. Biden’s running mate.

At one point, Ms. Poehler’s microphone went dead, and the three other participants chatted among themselves as Mr. Biden’s team scrambled to figure out what had gone wrong.

“Somebody unmute Amy!” Mrs. Clinton said.

“I smell sabotage,” joked Ms. Rudolph.

“You never know what is really going on these days,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Maybe,” she added later, “it’s the Russians.”

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, has called challenges to his coronavirus restrictions “cowardly.”Credit…Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News, via Associated Press

President Trump enthusiastically hailed a federal judge’s decision striking down coronavirus restrictions in Pennsylvania that had been imposed by the state’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf.

Within an hour of the ruling being handed down on Monday, the president had retweeted no fewer than a dozen celebratory posts, including one that read “PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR TOM WOLF AN YOUR STUPID WIFE …..YOUR NOT GOING TO MURDER US !!! TRUMP 2020 … WE LOVE PENNSYLVANIA.”

The decision, which Pennsylvania officials intend to appeal, is at the center of the political dogfight in a once-reliable blue state Mr. Trump won in 2016. To repeat his victory, he must spike turnout in rural counties, where his culture-war message on masks and state restrictions has resonated with conservative voters.

Mr. Wolf has called the challenge to the rules “cowardly.” Pennsylvania has recorded more than 150,000 virus cases and nearly 8,000 deaths, and cases have been rising in recent weeks as students have returned to college campuses.

Mr. Trump’s Monday Twitter barrage came a day after he defied Nevada officials to stage an indoor rally near Las Vegas, and a day before his scheduled ABC town hall with undecided voters in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

Monday’s ruling, by District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee, held that orders limiting gatherings to 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors violated the First Amendment. The ruling also declared unconstitutional orders, which have already been lifted, closing “non-life-sustaining” businesses.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed in May by four counties in southwestern Pennsylvania: Butler, Fayette, Greene and Washington.

Recent polls show Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina trailing his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, one of the Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbents, tried to turn around his faltering re-election campaign on Monday night, clashing with Cal Cunningham, his Democratic challenger, in a televised debate that largely focused on the coronavirus pandemic.

The contest in a key swing state is one of a handful of races that could determine control of the Senate next year, and almost every recent public poll shows Mr. Tillis, a first-term incumbent who is mostly allied with President Trump, trailing Mr. Cunningham, a former state senator and Iraq war veteran.

Seeking to halt that momentum, Mr. Tillis repeatedly tried to chip away at Mr. Cunningham’s image as an inoffensive moderate, painting him instead as a craven, ladder-climbing liberal who would “say anything to get elected.”

Mr. Tillis implied Mr. Cunningham would defund the police, a position his rival rejected. He leaned heavily on his own status as an incumbent, highlighting bipartisan work done by Congress to provide relief to millions of Americans suffering from economic hardships caused by the coronavirus.

But Mr. Tillis’s biggest break came without much effort when Mr. Cunningham said he would be “hesitant” to take a vaccine approved by federal health authorities because of “extraordinary corruption in Washington” that he said was warping science in favor of commercial interests.

“Yes, I would be hesitant, but I am going to ask a lot of questions,” he said, adding that he thought other Americans felt the same way given “the way we have seen politics intervening in Washington.”

Mr. Cunningham later clarified his remark, saying he would take a vaccine if the F.D.A. approved it and politics was not involved, but Mr. Tillis pounced, chastising Mr. Cunningham as “irresponsible.” Republican groups quickly began circulating a clip of the exchange on social media.

“That statement puts lives at risk and it makes it more difficult to manage the crisis he pretends to say he is up to the task to manage,” Mr. Tillis said. He said he would trust a vaccine and the scientists behind it.

Still, at other points Mr. Tillis found himself on the defensive over his record as the two men sought to reintroduce themselves to North Carolina voters.

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