Trump Is Tied With Biden in...New Hampshire?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Biden went to New Hampshire on Tuesday. He spoke to a group of veterans and their families at the Westwood Park YMCA. 

Biden told the audience that too many service members struggled to get the treatment they needed after returning home from the Vietnam War. They had to prove they were ill and that their illness came from their military service, he said.

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Joe Biden did not serve in Vietnam. He took multiple student deferments.

Biden recalled his time advocating for veterans during his time in the Senate. He also spoke about the PACT Act. He signed that in 2022. It expands access to Veterans Affairs health care and benefits for those exposed to Agent Orange, burn pits, and other toxic substances. 

The PACT Act requires the VA to assume some respiratory illnesses and cancers were caused by exposure to toxic substances without having to prove a link. 

“In America, we leave no veteran behind,” he said, making the case that his administration thoroughly supports service members.

The campaign event to promote the PACT Act and celebrate the 1M claims granted under the law had a goal to carry the message to voters that he supports veterans

“He cares about veterans. He’s always cared about veterans,” said William H. Shaheen, a Democratic National Committee member and veteran who is married to Senator Jeanne Shaheen and who traveled with Biden from the airport in Manchester to his speech and back.

“Look at the alternative,” he added. “When you have someone like Trump who calls the Marines that sacrificed their lives at Belleau Wood ‘suckers,’ for a veteran, that’s very offensive. It’s very offensive to me.”

US Army veteran Edmund J. McCabe Jr. of Dover, who attended Biden’s speech, said he wishes more veterans would support Biden because “he’s the one doing the most for them.” At the same time, McCabe said the PACT Act should not be reduced to a partisan talking point.

McCabe, who spent time serving near a burn pit in Balad, Iraq, said he signed up for the newly expanded benefits several months ago and has undergone five or six tests at no cost, mostly to check for potential respiratory problems. He encouraged others to do the same regardless of their political persuasion.

“Even if you aren’t really aware of what could be wrong with you, it’s better to register and have the tests done, especially if you were near the burn pits or the oil wells in Desert Storm,” he said.

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It's a nice thought that partisan politics shouldn't play a part in touting benefits for veterans but in today's world, it does. The reason Biden was in New Hampshire instead of one of the crucial swing states he has been campaigning in is because he is tied with Trump in the state right now. 

One former Republican strategist said it is a better idea for Biden to talk about something like VA benefits instead of how well he thinks the economy is doing because New Hampshire voters don't believe that. 

Biden did as he normally does when he speaks about veterans - he talked about his son Beau who died from brain cancer. Biden often mistakenly says that Beau died in Iraq but he did not. He died in a hospital in America. Biden thinks Beau's brain cancer was caused by exposure to burn pits, though Beau was a military lawyer, not a soldier on the ground. 

Biden carries the baggage of his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. His polling numbers began to fall after his deadline for withdrawal causing the deaths of 13 military service members during a terrorist attack at the airport in Kabul. Will speeches about the PACT Act help repair the damage that period did to his presidency? That is unclear. 

Democrats bypassed New Hampshire as the traditional first state primary this year. The campaign wanted South Carolina to go first because that is the state in 2020 that turned the primary around for Biden, thanks to Rep. James Clyburn's support. New Hampshire takes its place as first in the country seriously.

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New Hampshire has four electoral college votes. The state is thought of as a bellwether, though, for presidential elections. Democrats have won the state in seven of the past eight elections. Biden won New Hampshire in 2020 by eight points. The latest NHJournal/Praecones Analytica poll shows Biden to be tied with Trump. If this trend holds, Biden could become the first Democrat presidential candidate to lose New Hampshire since Al Gore in 2000. 

That is why Biden was in New Hampshire. Every move Biden makes is about his re-election campaign. It was Biden's second trip to New Hampshire in two months. His campaign is worried. 

Biden and Trump are tied at 36%. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has 14%. 12% choose none of the candidates.

This may show that New Hampshire is in play this year. 

“This helps to put President Biden’s visit this week into greater context, as that sound you hear is the 2024 battleground map expanding for Donald Trump, seemingly putting New Hampshire in play this fall,” said veteran New Hampshire GOP strategist Jim Merrill, who worked on the Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio presidential campaigns.

Trump indicates he is working a 50-state plan and campaigning as though other states that typically go to Democrats may shift his way in November. Biden is deeply unpopular. Voters are watching the lawfare being used against Trump to keep him off the campaign trail. All things considered, a perfect storm may be brewing for Trump. 

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After his time in New Hampshire, Biden went on to Boston for a fundraiser. 

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Jazz Shaw 10:00 PM | June 12, 2024
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