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Trump to campaign in Pittsburgh as Biden earns Cindy McCain's endorsement

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Trump to campaign in Pittsburgh as Biden earns Cindy McCain's endorsement



U.S. President Donald Trump reacts while campaigning at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, U.S., September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner


(Reuters) - President Donald Trump headed for an evening campaign rally in the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, as Democratic rival Joe Biden stayed off the trail to attend two virtual fundraisers with only weeks before the Nov. 3 election.


The contenders have clashed over Trump's intention to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left behind by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died from cancer on Friday. Trump said he would reveal his pick on Saturday in the hopes of scheduling a Senate confirmation vote ahead of the election, despite fierce criticism from Biden and congressional Democrats.


The prospect of a brutal political struggle to replace Ginsburg as Republicans look to cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the court injected a new air of uncertainty into a White House campaign that Biden has led steadily in opinion polls.


During an online fundraiser on Tuesday, Biden confirmed that Cindy McCain, the widow of Republican U.S. Senator John McCain, would formally endorse him because of Trump's reported comments that U.S. soldiers who died in combat were "losers" and "suckers."


Trump has denied making the comments. He and John McCain, a longtime friend of Biden's despite their ideological differences, clashed repeatedly, with Trump disparaging McCain's military service and years spent as a prisoner of war. McCain died in 2018.


Cindy McCain was among several Republican public figures who appeared on Biden's behalf during the Democratic National Convention last month.


Biden has built a major financial advantage for the campaign's final stretch after a big fundraising haul in August. The campaign and its party allies will report having $466 million in cash at the end of August, while Trump's war chest stood at $325 million, according to officials from both sides.


Biden will return to the campaign trail on Wednesday with his first trip as the Democratic nominee to North Carolina, another key state.


A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday showed Trump and Biden even in the state.


Voters in about a half-dozen states have already begun casting early in-person ballots, and election experts expect a surge of early and mail-in voting this year as people try to reduce their risk of exposure to the coronavirus.


The pandemic has helped fuel a slew of lawsuits across dozens of states over efforts to ease voting restrictions in light of the pandemic. On Tuesday, North Carolina election officials agreed to count absentee ballots received up to nine days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.


Courts in several other key states, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, have also extended absentee ballot deadlines despite Republican opposition.


(Reporting by John Whitesides, Trevor Hunnicutt, Lawrence Delevingne and Joseph Ax; Editing by Peter Cooney)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-09-23
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