Biden marks 100 days in office with rally in Georgia

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DULUTH, Georgia (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden traveled to Georgia for a drive-in rally Thursday as he marks his first 100 days in office and pitches his plans to spend trillions of dollars to rebuild the economy.

Biden touted measures taken by his administration since taking office, including COVID-19 vaccination efforts which surpassed his original goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days to approach 220 million doses as of Thursday.

“America is on the move again. We’re choosing hope over fear. Truth over lies. Light over darkness. We’re working, we’re working again, we’re dreaming again, we’re discovering again and we’re leading the world again,” Biden said.

Biden has additional campaign-style stops planned in Pennsylvania and Virginia in the coming days ahead of his 100th day in office Friday.

After limited time on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden is stepping up his travel schedule after his first address to a joint session of Congress.

During his speech to Congress, Biden appealed to Americans to support his “blue-collar blueprint” for change, saying his administration would invest a combined $4 trillion in families and infrastructure to rebuild the middle class.

Republican lawmakers in Congress so far have balked at the price tag of both the “families” plan and infrastructure package. Republicans last week unveiled a public works proposal with a much smaller price tag and a narrower definition of infrastructure than Biden’s. The price of the Republican proposal came in at $568 billion over five years, compared to the $2.3 trillion that Biden has called for spending over eight years.

The president met with President Jimmy Carter, a fellow Democrat and a close friend who at 96 is the longest-living president. First lady Jill Biden accompanied Biden to visit the Carters.

Biden met with Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, whose elections in the Republican-leaning state secured Democrats control of the Senate, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Biden carried Georgia in November’s presidential election, the first Democrat to do so in 28 years.

The visit was Biden’s second visit to the state since becoming president. His first visit was to promote his COVID-19 relief package, but those plans were derailed by a series of shootings at Atlanta-area spas that killed eight people, including six Asian women. 

Biden instead spent his visit meeting with community leaders and state lawmakers from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to discuss the events, which came amid an outbreak of anti-Asian violence nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

His second visit to the Peach State comes amid Georgia’s controversial new voting law that has turned the state into a nationwide battle over voting rights. Among the changes, the new law requires a photo ID to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.

Biden has forcefully opposed the restrictions, calling the law “Jim Crow in the 21st century” and “a blatant attack on the Constitution.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp responded to Biden’s comments saying “There is nothing ‘Jim Crow’ about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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