Jill Biden rallied supporters Monday to vote for her husband, saying Joe Biden would put the country on track to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
“Pretty soon there’s going to be a nationwide strategy to end this pandemic,” she said from the parking lot of Daisy Cafe in Madison as a light rain fell.
Later, at a stop in Eagle in Waukesha County, she said it was essential to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, especially amid the pandemic.
“We haven’t given up, we just need leadership worthy of our nation. Worthy of all of you,” she said in Eagle.
In Madison, a crowd holding Biden signs listened to Jill Biden from across the street. They wore masks but stood closer together than health officials recommend.
Jill Biden urged Democrats to think about how they would feel the day after the election if they defeated President Donald Trump on Nov. 3.
“For the first time in a long time you take a deep breath and you feel hope,” she said. “That’s the Nov. 4 I want, and I know you do too. In this moment we have the power to decide what comes next.”
She talked about Joe Biden got through the loss of his first wife and daughter in a 1972 car crash.
“Over the years I’ve been continually inspired by his resilience and his optimism,” Jill Biden said. “Even in the face of so much destruction, he had this unshakeable faith in the future. And I think we need that resilience and hope now more than ever.”
She was introduced in Madison by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who asked people to make sure they vote and get others to vote.
“We know our energy has to be focused on a voter-turnout plan because they’re going to try to do everything they can to suppress the vote, as they always do,” he said. “But our response to that is even more organizing.”
Democrats have been pushing voters to cast absentee ballots, and Barnes noted they could also visit early-voting sites starting Oct. 20 or go to the polls on Nov. 3.
Jill Biden’s visit to Madison came two days after the city held a “Democracy in the Park” event where voters could return absentee ballots to poll workers at more than 200 locations. The event in the Democratic stronghold riled Republicans, who have raised questions about absentee voting even as they encourage their supporters to take up that practice.
More than 1 million Wisconsinites have requested absentee ballots, putting the state on track for a record level of absentee voting.
Trump Victory spokeswoman Anna Kelly downplayed Jill Biden’s visit and noted Trump would make his own stops in the state on Saturday.
“It took 674 days for the Biden campaign to find Wisconsin on a map,” she said in a statement. “Meanwhile, for the sixth time this year alone, President Trump will campaign in Wisconsin again on Saturday. President Trump has Wisconsin’s back, and as a result, Badger State voters will back him at the ballot box in November.”
Jill Biden was last in the state on Sept. 3, when she accompanied Joe Biden when he came to Kenosha and Wauwatosa.
Her first stop of the day Monday was in one of the most Democratic areas in Wisconsin. Her second was in one of the most Republican ones. Trump won more than two-thirds of the vote in Eagle in 2016.
Democrats hope to chip into those margins in Republican areas by focusing on health care, and Jill Biden and other speakers emphasized the importance of covering pre-existing conditions on Monday.
“During these uncertain times, it should be obvious Americans need access to health care now more than ever. But instead of expanding life-saving care, or working to reduce the price of prescription drugs, Donald Trump is in court trying to strip millions of their coverage in the middle of a global pandemic,” said Emily Siegrist, a clinical nurse instructor who is running for the state Assembly.
Also speaking in Eagle was former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, who recently endorsed Joe Biden after refraining from publicly backing partisan candidates for about 40 years.
“I could not remain silent,” Geske said Monday.
In all, more than 115,000 Wisconsinites have tested positive for the illness since the pandemic began, including more than 19,000 who have not yet recovered. Nearly 1,300 people in Wisconsin have died.
Contact Patrick Marley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.