(Headline USA) President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden went on offense over the weekend, as both campaigned in states they are trying to flip during the Nov. 3 election that is just over two weeks away.
Trump began his Sunday in Nevada, making a rare visit to church before a fundraiser and an evening rally in Carson City. Once considered a battleground, Nevada has not swung for a Republican presidential contender since 2004.
The rally drew thousands of supporters who sat elbow to elbow, cheering Trump and booing Biden and the press. The president, as he often does, warned that a Biden election would lead to further coronavirus lockdowns and at one point appeared to mock Biden for saying he would listen to scientists.
“He’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression,” Trump said.
Biden, a Catholic, attended Mass in Delaware before campaigning in North Carolina, where a Democrat has not won in a presidential race since Barack Obama in 2008.
Both candidates are trying to make inroads in states that could help secure a path to victory.
Earlier in the day, Trump sat in the front row at the nondenominational International Church of Las Vegas.
Trump spoke briefly, saying “I love going to churches” and that it was “a great honor” to attend the service.
The message was far different in both style and substance later in the day, when Biden attended a virtual discussion with African American faith leaders from around the country.
Biden held up a rosary, which he said he carries in his pocket every day, and described it as “what the Irish call a prisoner’s rosary” since it was small enough to be smuggled into prisons.
“I happen to be a Roman Catholic,” Biden said. “I don’t pray for God to protect me. I pray to God to give me strength to see what other people are dealing with.”
Earlier, at a drive-in rally in Durham, North Carolina, Biden focused heavily on promoting criminal justice changes to combat “systemic racism” and promised to help build wealth in the black community.
He noted that Trump had said at one of his rallies that the country had turned the corner on the pandemic.
“As my grandfather would say, this guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner. Turning the corner? Things are getting worse,” Biden said.
In addition to public polling that indicates Biden has an edge, the former vice president enjoys another considerable advantage over Trump: money.
Trump raked in $12 million during a fundraiser Sunday afternoon at the Newport Beach home of top GOP donor and tech mogul Palmer Luckey, which also featured a performance by the Beach Boys.
But over the past four months, Biden has raised over $1 billion, a massive amount of money that has eclipsed Trump’s once-overwhelming cash advantage.
That’s become apparent in advertising, where Biden and his Democratic allies are on pace to spend twice as much as Trump and the Republicans in the closing days of the race, according to data from the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG.
Though Trump has pulled back from advertising in Midwestern states that secured his 2016 win, he’s invested heavily elsewhere, including North Carolina, where he is on pace to slightly outspend Biden in the days ahead.
In Nevada, which Trump came close to winning in 2016, Democrats are set to outspend Trump in the closing days by a more than 3-to-1 ratio.
Trump’s visit to the state is part of an aggressive schedule of campaign events.
Trump’s Carson City rally was held at an airport with a golden scrub brush-covered hill providing a dramatic backdrop. He relived fond moments from his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, revisited his long-running feud with NFL players and went on an extended rant about water management policy, which he blamed for people having to “flush their toilet 15 times.”
He also added to his litany of hyperbolic attacks against Biden, claiming that, if Biden were elected, he would mandate new lockdown measures that would make Carson City “a ghost town” and “the Christmas season will be cancelled.”
As he surveyed his crowd, Trump expressed disbelief that he could possibly be tied to Biden in the state.
“How the hell can we be tied?” he asked. “What’s going on? … We get these massive crowds. He gets nobody…. It doesn’t make sense!”
Biden has held very small and virtual events in recent months, blaming the pandemic from which more than 99 percent of people survive.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.