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Biden speaks at Warm Springs, discusses ‘hope’ and ‘healing’ for country after tough year

One week before Election Day, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke in Warm Springs, about half an hour from LaGrange, about healing a nation that he said has been divided by numerous crises over the last few months.

Warm Springs became famous due to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who went there for polio treatments and built a cottage there, which later became known as the Little White House. Multiple times, Biden referenced Roosevelt during his speech.

“Warm Springs is a good place to talk about hope and healing,” Biden said. “This is where Franklin Roosevelt came ‘to use the therapeutic waters’ to rebuild himself. Stricken by the polio virus in 1921, he suffered from paralysis. Like so many other Americans in those pre-vaccine decades, FDR longed to live an independent life, a life that wasn’t defined by his illness. To him, and to so many others facing physical challenges, Warm Springs offered therapy for the body and for the soul. But it offered something else. FDR came looking for a cure, but it was the lessons he learned here that he used to lift a nation. Humility. Empathy. Courage. Optimism. This place represented a way forward. A way of restoration. Of resilience. Of healing.”

Biden’s speech at Warm Springs was the first of two he planned to give in Georgia, with the second coming Tuesday evening in Atlanta. Polls indicate that Georgia, a longtime Republican stronghold, has become a dead heat between Biden and Trump with seven days to go before Election Day.

At Warm Springs, Biden spoke specifically about the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the death of more than 225,000 Americans. He spoke about the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, noting the empty storefronts and parents struggling to pay their mortgage. And he talked about racial justice and the protesting that has taken place across the country this year.

“These are all historic, painful crises. The insidious virus. Economic anguish. Systemic discrimination. Any one of them could have rocked a nation. Yet, we’ve been hit by all three at once. But if we’re honest with ourselves, the pain striking at the heart of our country goes back not months, but years,” Biden said. “Our politics has for far too long been mean, bitter, and divisive. We’ve stopped seeing the dignity in one another. We’ve stopped showing each other respect. Too many among us spend more time shouting than listening.”

At that point, Biden appeared to acknowledge the line of Donald Trump supporters lined up among the road, who greeted him when he arrived at Warm Springs.

“You can hear it now in the distance,” Biden said, appearing to reference the shouting in the background.

According to press pool reports, along the route to Warm Springs, the number of Trump supporters far exceeded the number of Biden supporters. Trump won Meriwether County in 2016 with 58 percent of the vote.

Biden finished his speech by talking about issues he said his campaign will take on right away, if he’s elected.

He noted that on the first day of his presidency he will act to get COVID-19 under control.

He also referenced passing economic, healthcare and climate plans, as well as addressing “systemic racism” in the United States.

“I will work with Democrats and Republicans and I will work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do,” Biden said. “That’s the job of a president. It’s a duty of care for everyone.”

And again, in closing, Biden referenced the location of his speech — believing it showed that healing is possible.

“This place, Warm Springs, is a reminder that though broken, each of us can be healed,” Biden said. “That as a people and a country, we can overcome a devastating virus. That we can heal a suffering world. That yes, we can restore our soul and save our country.”

The Trump campaign sent out a response to Biden’s visit.

“With more than nine million direct voter contacts in Georgia alone, Trump Victory’s permanent, data-driven ground game cannot be matched by Joe Biden’s anemic efforts in the Peach State,” said Trump Spokesperson Savannah Viar. “After ignoring Georgia for months, a last-minute visit from Biden won’t make a dent in the advantage we’ve built thanks to our field army and frequent visits from President Trump and his family.”