Joseph R. Biden Jr. released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, which show that he and his wife, Jill, had an adjusted gross income of $985,000 last year and paid federal income taxes of nearly $288,000.
Mr. Biden released his latest tax returns hours before the first general election debate, and two days after The New York Times reported that President Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and in 2017.
That was a tiny fraction of what the Bidens paid those years, according to tax returns they had previously made public. They paid $91,000 in federal income taxes in 2016, when they had an adjusted gross income of $396,000, and they paid $3.7 million in 2017, when their adjusted gross income was $11 million.
The following year, in 2018, they paid $1.5 million in federal income taxes and had an adjusted gross income of $4.6 million.
Mr. Biden’s release of his most recent tax return seemed timed to place even more focus on Mr. Trump’s taxes and keep him on the defensive about them going into the debate, which is being held Tuesday night in Cleveland. Mr. Biden’s plane landed at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland at 4:45 p.m., and, after a wave to the press he left the airport in a black Chevrolet Suburban.
In addition to nearly $288,000 in federal income taxes, the Bidens paid nearly $12,000 in other federal taxes, for a total of just under $300,000.
Mr. Biden has now released returns covering the past 22 years. His running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, also released her 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, which come in addition to 15 years of returns she released last year.
“This is a historic level of transparency meant to give the American people faith, once again, that their leaders will look out for them and not their own bottom line,” Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Mr. Biden, said on a call with reporters.
Mr. Trump did not release his tax returns when he ran for president as the Republican nominee in 2016, breaking with modern tradition, and has refused to do so since then.
Mr. Biden had previously criticized Mr. Trump for not releasing his tax returns. And this week, the Biden campaign quickly sought to capitalize on the revelations about Mr. Trump’s taxes, releasing a video showing the federal income taxes paid by workers like teachers and firefighters and launching a “Trump tax calculator” where people can determine how much more they paid in federal income taxes than the president.
The first presidential debate was still hours away, but the quadrennial debate about debate rules was already raging in full force, or perhaps full farce.
President Trump’s re-election campaign sought to cast doubt on the integrity of the debate even before it began, putting out a statement on Tuesday claiming that the Biden campaign had reversed its decision to allow a “pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces” and that his campaign had asked for “multiple breaks during the debate.”
The Biden campaign denied the accusations.
Mr. Trump’s staff “seems concerned that he will not do well tonight, and they’re already laying the groundwork for how they’re going to lie about why,” Kate Bedingfield, a Biden deputy campaign manager, said during a pre-debate call with reporters. “It is completely absurd. Of course he is not wearing an earpiece, and we never asked for breaks.”
Pressed on whether the campaign had ever agreed to a pre-debate inspection, Symone Sanders, a senior adviser, said the question was “absolutely ridiculous” and characterized the assertions by the Trump campaign as “false, crazy, random, ridiculous” but did not answer the question.
Ms. Bedingfield, seemingly trying to make a point about spreading disinformation, declared, “If we’re playing that game, then you know, the Trump team asked that Chris Wallace never mention the number of Covid deaths once during the debate.” She added, “You can consider that confirmed from the Biden campaign. See how easy that was to try to throw up a distraction? It is pathetic, it’s weak.” The Biden campaign declined to say if she was serious; the Trump campaign said the claim was untrue.
Allies of Joseph R. Biden Jr. are bracing for ugly personal attacks from Mr. Trump on the debate stage — and they know that Mr. Biden has a temper and is deeply protective of his family.
Their hope: that Mr. Biden can channel any fury at Mr. Trump’s provocations into righteous anger on behalf of American voters.
Mr. Biden — who once called a voter who questioned his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings a “damn liar” — has been known to lash out when under attack. Whether he can do so productively will be among his most important tests on Tuesday.
Ms. Sanders said that Mr. Biden would “be focused on speaking directly to the American people,” including about his plan to handle the coronavirus pandemic.
And she said Mr. Biden would not be fact-checking Mr. Trump during the debate.
“It is not Joe Biden’s job in this debate to fact-check Donald Trump. That’s the moderator’s job. That’s the independent press’s job,” she said.
The Biden campaign also announced that his guests at the debate would include Kristin Urquiza, whose Trump-supporting father died of the coronavirus; Gurneé Green, a small-business owner from Ohio; and James Evanoff Jr., a member of the United Steel Workers union.
President Trump is planning to bring a woman he pardoned right after she spoke in support of him at the Republican National Convention and an Ultimate Fighting Champion performer as guests to the first debate, officials said.
Alice Johnson was pardoned by the president in late August. Colby Covington, the fighter, has been a strong Trump supporter for some time.
Mr. Trump’s adviser Jason Miller had teased an “intriguing” guest list on Twitter on Monday night, but the other guests are said to be a range of Trump advisers and family members. (In 2016, Mr. Trump’s “surprise guests” for the second debate against Hillary Clinton were women who had accused her husband of sexual misconduct.)
Mr. Trump traveled to the debate site with aides including his campaign manager, Bill Stepien; his political adviser, Mr. Miller; his White House adviser, Stephen Miller; the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows; and the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien. The president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, will also join the group at the debate.
Over the last few weeks, some of those advisers have worked with Mr. Trump in private sessions at the White House and at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., to engage in some level of debate preparation.
Mr. Trump often has trouble focusing on the task at hand, and aides have privately said they don’t think he’s heading into the debate having internalized what advisers have coached him to do.
Aides have tried to drill down on ways in which he can be on offense during the debate, as opposed to simply parrying things that Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic opponent, says. Two people familiar with the briefings said that aides had tried to impress upon the president that Mr. Biden was likely to call him a “liar” at the outset of the debate, and that they had urged him not to react.
Mr. Trump has made clear to advisers he plans to bring up Mr. Biden’s son Hunter repeatedly and to raise questions about his overseas work.
One issue that advisers have grappled with in the last two days is how Mr. Trump will handle questions about his taxes, after The New York Times reported that he had paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Aides expect Mr. Biden to highlight the issue during the debate, and the Bidens released their 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that they had paid $288,000 in federal income tax.
Some Trump aides have suggested that Mr. Trump highlight the number of jobs provided by his company, as well as revisit a line he’s used in the past, that he’s simply taking advantage of a lax tax code.
But senior campaign officials said Mr. Trump was in an upbeat mood and was not participating in any last-minute debate prep en route to Cleveland, because he was “ready to go.”
The false claim that Joseph R. Biden Jr. received questions to Tuesday night’s presidential debate in advance has been circulating on right-wing media sites.
A post on Twitter by the radio personality Todd Starnes was shared over 18,000 times and was used as the basis for stories on a number of right-wing sites, including Infowars and Gateway Pundit.
The debate, moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News, will be the first time that President Trump and Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, face off.
A representative for Fox News said the claim was “entirely false, and any assertion otherwise is patently absurd.”
Asked whether it had access to the questions before the debate, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, Andrew Bates, said, “No.”
On Tuesday, right-wing sites also shared the false claim that Mr. Biden was being outfitted with a hidden earpiece before the debate.
CLEVELAND — In a typical presidential year, anyone near the vicinity of a general election debate site would know it.
But in Cleveland on Tuesday, the sidewalks leading up to the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion — where Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Trump were to debate for the first time — were desolate in the hours leading up to the contest, save for members of law enforcement, a smattering of reporters and the occasional intrigued local.
There was no snaking security line. No packs of journalists roaming or high-profile surrogates holding court, at least in the late afternoon when this reporter finally found the debate location after searching for signs of the event along a traffic-clogged street near Case Western Reserve University, a debate sponsor along with the Cleveland Clinic.
The security barrier and heavy police presence signaled that something was going on, but the typical festive trappings of a debate or other major political event were hard to spot.
Certainly, there were pockets of protesters along several sidewalks: people wearing pro-Trump hats or carrying anti-abortion signs; conservatives who — according to their sign — had abandoned Trump; Black Lives Matter activists. A truck drove by bearing the images of Mr. Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate, and other drivers honked in support of a small group carrying Trump signs.
But most of the passers-by appeared to be medical professionals at the Cleveland Clinic, who went about their business just down the street from the debate site, their face masks a constant reminder of the extraordinary public health challenges the nation faces as the debate unfolds.
Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” anchor who is moderating tonight’s debate, declared over the weekend that his job “is to be as invisible as possible.” But his well-received turn as a moderator in 2016 hinged on the opposite.
It was Mr. Wallace’s subtle but firm presence that guided Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton to what was widely viewed as the candidates’ most substantive encounter of the 2016 campaign. Mixing humor with scolding, Mr. Wallace posed some sharp queries while taking pains to defuse chaotic moments.
“I’m not a potted plant here,” Mr. Wallace said at one point when the candidates’ bickering threatened to drown him out. “I do get to ask some questions.”
His most memorable moment came on a subject that is almost certain to crop up again on Tuesday: election integrity. Mr. Wallace repeatedly pressed Mr. Trump on whether he would accept the election results, a pledge that the Republican candidate refused to make. “I will keep you in suspense,” was Mr. Trump’s defiant reply.
The first Fox News anchor to take charge of a general election debate, Mr. Wallace faced skepticism from some Democrats, who were unimpressed with his questions about Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative paid speeches to banking firms. Republicans balked when Mr. Wallace bluntly asked Mr. Trump why “so many different women, from so many different circumstances,” had accused him of sexual misconduct.
Those who know Mr. Wallace say they expect him to be an equal-opportunity interrogator on Tuesday. One thing he is unlikely to do, however, is fact-check Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden in real-time. “I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad,” Mr. Wallace said while preparing for his first debate go-round in 2016. “It’s up to the other person to catch them on that.”
Scott Reed, the top political adviser at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said on Monday that he had resigned his post, citing what he described as a drift to the political left by the group in the wake of a string of endorsements of Democrats.
Mr. Reed, who was the campaign manager for former Senator Bob Dole when he was the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, also said there was a lack of commitment by the group to spend money to defend the Republican Senate majority ahead of the election on Nov. 3.
In an email, Michelle Russo, a spokeswoman for the group, insisted the chamber had taken action against Mr. Reed “for cause.”
“An internal review has revealed that Reed repeatedly breached confidentiality, distorted facts for his own benefit, withheld information from chamber leadership and leaked internal information to the press,” she said. “We have the documentation of his actions and it is irrefutable. Our decision is not based on a disagreement over political strategy but rather it is the result of Reed’s actions.”
She would not elaborate when asked. Mr. Reed responded that the group’s executive committee should conduct oversight of the organization, and that “a good place to start would be term limits for senior executives.”
Mr. Reed’s departure from the business-minded group, after spending eight years advising it on political decisions, is something of a seismic shift in the Washington establishment.
In recent weeks, the group endorsed nearly two dozen House Democrats, a move that perturbed President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Chamber officials said that the endorsements were among a slate that included just over 190 endorsements of Republican House candidates.
David Kochel, a former top adviser to Senator Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, said on Twitter that Mr. Reed had “built that place.” Mr. Reed has been described as crucial to ousting former Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who had been criticized as racist for his hard-line views on immigration and who had been a source of discomfort for Washington Republicans for years. The chamber endorsed Mr. King’s G.O.P. primary opponent, Randy Feenstra, who defeated Mr. King in June.
Mr. Reed’s departure comes as Mr. Trump’s own positions on immigration and trade have become sources of discomfort for its member organizations, which generally like free trade and would like to see comprehensive immigration reform.
Nearly 100,000 New York City voters received defective absentee ballots, election officials acknowledged on Tuesday, a massive glitch that raised doubts about the city’s ability to handle a pandemic-era presidential election with millions of mail-in ballots expected.
The problems were mostly confined to Brooklyn, where voters registered outrage and confusion after seeing that their ballots had mismatched names and addresses on the outer and inner mail-back envelopes.
The mislabeled ballots may further undermine confidence in the New York City Board of Elections, which mishandled the state’s primary election in June, and could buttress President Trump’s assertions that absentee voting is plagued with troubles.
Michael Ryan, the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, blamed the problem on the board’s vendor, Phoenix Graphics, a commercial printing company based in Rochester, N.Y., which was hired to mail out ballots in Brooklyn and Queens.
The foul-up was briefly addressed on Tuesday at a Board of Elections meeting, as Mr. Ryan, a Democrat, said the error was limited to “one print run.” He said the vendor would bear the cost of sending out new ballots to all potentially affected voters.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who does not control the board, called its most recent failure “appalling.”
“I don’t know how many times we’re going to see the same thing happen at the Board of Elections and be surprised,” he said.
On Monday, the Mr. Trump retweeted several articles about the problems in the city, including a New York Post report that some voters had received mail-in ballots marked for military use despite never having served in the armed forces.
City Board of Elections officials are encouraging voters to call a hotline to receive a new ballot. But phone lines already appear to be jammed: Two voters who called on Monday reported being 65th, and “80-something” in line.
Sal DeBiase, the president and chief executive at Phoenix Graphics, did not reply to multiple requests for comment. The company, which was also hired to print and send ballots in June’s primary elections, has worked with the city’s Board of Elections for years.
Election officials in New York City have already processed nearly 500,000 absentee ballot applications and began mailing ballots to voters last week.
Dr. Jill Biden was having none of it. CNN’s Jake Tapper was trying to ask about her husband’s “occasional gaffe” in a pre-debate interview when she cut him off. “Oh, you can’t even go there,” she said. “After Donald Trump, you cannot even say the word gaffe.”
“I can’t even say the word gaffe?” Mr. Tapper replied.
“Nope. Done. It’s gone,” Dr. Biden pushed back.
Mr. Tapper moved on. But for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his penchant to misspeak or utter an inopportune or politically incorrect phrase will be under particular scrutiny at Tuesday night’s debate, and he faces a Republican opponent in President Trump who has primed an entire conservative media ecosystem to amplify any missteps.
Mr. Trump, of course, has tested even the low standards of American politics with his penchant for repeatedly making false, distorted, misleading or unsubstantiated claims, which the Biden campaign hopes to call attention to. Nor is Mr. Trump immune from misspeaking: as when he recently appeared to pronounce Yosemite as “Yo Semites” at a bill signing.
But the Trump campaign is gearing up to amplify any Biden gaffes. He has made a few during the election cycle, like when Mr. Biden said that any Black voter having hard time deciding between him and Mr. Trump “ain’t Black.” That got a lot of attention in the mainstream media, too. But on Fox News and other conservative outlets, what would otherwise be fleeting moments like Mr. Biden not delivering the Pledge of Allegiance in full have been promoted as signs of cognitive decline.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, the former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, accused Mr. Biden of having “dementia” on Fox News, even as he himself mangled what he was accusing Mr. Biden of misspeaking about: “He can’t do the prologue to the, to the, to, ya, to the Constitution of the United States, or the Declaration of Independence. Any of them.”
Multiple conspiracy theories have been promoted ahead of the debate to offset a potentially strong showing by Mr. Biden. Mr. Trump has demanded that Mr. Biden undergo testing for performance-enhancing drugs, and Fox News anchors on Tuesday floated, without evidence, the notion of hidden listening devices for Mr. Biden. “We’re going to have to follow that through the day,” Fox’s Bret Baier said. Chris Wallace of Fox News is serving as the debate moderator.
It is true that Mr. Biden misspeaks and meanders, perhaps never as memorably as he did when a question about the legacy of slavery during a Democratic debate last year wound back around to record players.
Mr. Biden even once called himself a “gaffe machine.” But he said that was better than the incumbent alternative: “My God, what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can’t tell the truth.”
Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor moderating tonight’s debate, will center the debate around six topics: the Supreme Court, the coronavirus outbreak, the integrity of the election, the economy, “race and violence in our cities” and the two candidates’ political records.
Here’s a look at what polling tells us about where the public stands on some of those issues — and how President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. might be able to score points with undecided voters.
The Supreme Court vacancy and Roe v. Wade
Just before Mr. Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, polls showed that most voters preferred that the winner of the November election choose the next justice. But now that she has been chosen, the public’s attention turns to the high-stakes confirmation fight.
If Judge Barrett were to help overturn Roe v. Wade, as Mr. Trump said on Sunday she “certainly” could, that would go against the will of most Americans, who support keeping abortion legal. In a recent Times/Siena poll, voters said by more than two to one that they would be less likely to back Trump if he appointed a justice who would overturn Roe.
The coronavirus pandemic
Since May, the pandemic has been a political weak point for Mr. Trump — in part because most Americans have consistently disagreed with his focus on a speedy reopening. By a 15-point margin, respondents to the Times/Siena poll said they disapproved of how he had handled the virus.
At the debates, look for Mr. Biden to return to the virus often, hammering the president on what he sees as his greatest vulnerability.
If there is one area in which Mr. Trump retains some advantage, it is the economy. By a 12-point margin, respondents to the Times/Siena poll gave him positive marks on that front.
But where the economy intersects with the virus, things grow dicier for the president. Fifty-five percent of likely voters said he was at least partly responsible for the economic downturn, according to the Times/Siena poll
Amy Coney Barrett Meets With Top Republican Leaders
Judge Amy Coney Barrett met with Vice President Mike Pence and other Republican leaders on Tuesday as they hope to swiftly process Ms. Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
In Judge Amy Coney Barrett we have someone of great character, a great intellect, who has a judicial philosophy that will uphold the Constitution of the United States. President Trump discharged his duty under Article 2 to nominate Judge Barrett to the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States, and now we look forward, our entire team later, working with you, Republicans in the Senate, and we hope Democrats in the Senate as well, as you discharge your duty to advise and consent. We truly do believe that Judge Barrett represents the best of America personally in terms of her great intellect, her great background. And we have every confidence that as the American people learn more about Judge Amy Coney Barrett, they will be as inspired as President Trump was when he made her nomination. But we believe the Senate has an opportunity, Leader, for a fair and respectful consideration and hearing. We urge our Democratic colleagues in the Senate to take the opportunity to meet with Judge Barrett. And as the hearing goes forward, to provide the kind of respectful hearing that the American people expect. We look forward to a vote in the Senate in the near future and to fill the seat on the Supreme Court of the United States because the American people deserve a justice like Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The American people deserve nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett began meeting Tuesday privately with top Republican senators as Republicans embark on an extraordinarily swift process to try to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the Nov. 3 election.
Three days after President Trump announced Judge Barrett as his choice to sit on the nation’s highest court, she arrived on Capitol Hill with Vice President Mike Pence to begin privately meeting with Republican senators ahead of public hearings next month. The White House then formally nominated her to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg.
Judge Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor and an appeals court judge in Chicago, is expected to remain in the stately Mansfield room for most of Tuesday as senators, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, shuffle in to quiz her privately.
“We truly do believe that Judge Barrett represents the best of America personally, in terms of her great intellect, her great background, and we have every confidence that as the American people learn more about Judge Amy Coney Barrett, they will be as inspired as President Trump was when he made her nomination,” Mr. Pence said, ahead of a meeting with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader and a champion of Judge Barrett.
Judge Barrett, in a dark blue dress and a single strand of pearls, stood solemnly next to Mr. McConnell, who did not answer a question about whether the judge, if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, should recuse herself from any cases related to the election.
Mr. Pence urged Democratic senators to meet with Judge Barrett, though some have already declined the opportunity. Judge Barrett’s confirmation would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the court, and Democrats have criticized Republicans for moving at an unprecedented clip in an effort to confirm Judge Barrett before the election — especially after Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s efforts to fill an election-year vacancy on the court four years ago.
Multiple polls show that a majority of voters believe whoever wins the general election should have the ability to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18.
“What I’m looking for and I think what she stands for is the rule of law,” Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who chaired the Judiciary Committee when Judge Barrett was confirmed to the circuit court in 2017. Mr. Grassley, who reversed himself after previously stating that if her were still chairman he would not hold hearings on a court vacancy just before an election “because that’s what I promised the people in 2016,” said before meeting with Judge Barrett that “I don’t think there’s any doubt about her stellar qualifications.”
The White House is expected to formally nominate Judge Barrett on Tuesday, and aides and lawmakers in both parties have already begun combing through Judge Barrett’s background, legal decisions and scholarly work. “It’s the start of a very long process, but went well,” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters. Mr. Meadows, along with Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, were also on Capitol Hill for Judge Barrett’s initial meeting with Mr. McConnell and Mr. Pence.
Opposition to her confirmation is also mounting. More than 1,500 alumni at Judge Barrett’s alma mater, Rhodes College, have signed an open letter opposing her nomination. “Many of us also were contemporaries of, friends of, and even sorority sisters of Amy Coney Barrett,” the letter reads. “However, despite the respect that many of us hold for her intellect, and even the friendship that many of us held or continue to hold with her, we are firmly and passionately opposed to her nomination.”
It edged out the last episode of “Seinfeld,” but fell short of recent Super Bowls and the “M.A.S.H.” finale.
Still, the opening bout in September 2016 between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton notched the biggest audience for a presidential debate since televised debates began in 1960. Roughly 84 million viewers tuned in live, and that was not counting online, mobile and C-SPAN viewers.
Network executives are expecting a giant audience for tonight’s meeting between Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., in part because it’s the first time the two candidates will meet face-to-face. But a record may not be in the cards. Nielsen ratings, which measure live TV viewers, are likely to dip from four years ago because so many Americans now watch events on the internet or via streaming services.
Before 2016, the previous record-holder for a presidential debate was the sole 1980 matchup of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, which drew 80.6 million viewers.
Mr. Trump is a proven TV draw: his three meetings with Mrs. Clinton in 2016 had a higher average viewership (74 million) than the debates in 2012 (64 million) and 2008 (57.4 million). In an age where the highest-rated shows on TV barely break the 10-million-viewer mark, presidential debates remain one of the last genuine mass-media events.
The first debate between President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes place Tuesday from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here are some of the many ways you can watch it:
The Times will livestream the debate, and our reporters will provide commentary and analysis.
The debate will be televised on channels including PBS, CNN, Fox News, CBS, ABC, C-SPAN, NBC and MSNBC.
Many of the same outlets, including ABC, CBS and C-SPAN, will stream the debate on YouTube.
Chris Wallace, the anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” will moderate the debate. He played that role in one of the 2016 debates between Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The moderator chooses the debate topics. For Tuesday night, Mr. Wallace chose Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, race and violence in cities and the integrity of the election. There will be 15 minutes to discuss each topic.
Future Forward, a relatively new Democratic super PAC, made waves this summer when it booked $20 million in television advertisements for the final five weeks of the election cycle. That number has since increased to $57 million, and the group aired its first ads of the fall sprint on Tuesday, including one that focused on the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Democratic Party has continued to hammer the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus, which has caused more than 200,000 deaths in the United States, this ad turns to a medical professional to offer an emotional description of their failure. It opens with a doctor speaking directly to the camera, his voice slightly on edge, as he recalls a young mother with the coronavirus asking, “Am I going to be OK?” The doctor says, “I could not give her the answer that I wanted to give her.”
Still speaking to the camera, the doctor says that there is no reason that the United States still does not have the coronavirus under control, an implicit indictment of President Trump.
The ad then shows Joseph R. Biden Jr. talking to scientists and wearing a mask, as the doctor makes the case for the former vice president’s ability to pull the country out of the pandemic, saying Mr. Biden “is not going to let his ego get in the way of fighting the disease.”
The doctor says, “There is no excuse for why we don’t have this under control at this point,” and it is true that the United States continues to post higher death and case rates than most major developed countries, as it has for much of the pandemic. But the virus has shown surges in other countries, most notably in Europe, and officials are struggling to contain the second wave of cases.
Where It’s Running
On broadcast television in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
It seems like every week, a new development threatens to upend the election. But Democratic groups and candidates have shown a persistence on two subjects — health care and the pandemic — and this new ad from Future Forward is further evidence that those topics are likely to be dominant messages for the rest of the campaign.
John Lewis’s tenure representing Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District spanned 33 years. His successor, at the most, can lay claim to the office for 97 days.
Still, seven candidates are running in a special election on Tuesday to serve out the remainder of Mr. Lewis’s term representing a district that covers parts of Atlanta and spreads into the suburbs.
Mr. Lewis, a pioneering figure in the civil rights movement who was regarded by colleagues as the “conscience of Congress,” died on July 17 of pancreatic cancer after holding his House seat for 17 terms.
The contenders in Tuesday’s election, with a mixed-party ballot, include five Democrats, one independent and a Libertarian. None of the candidates are on the November ballot that will decide who will be sworn into office in January for a full two-year term.
The process to replace Mr. Lewis was set in motion within hours of his death, as Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican, called for a special election and as Democratic Party officials had to rush to find a replacement for the general election in November. The state party quickly opened up applications for possible candidates, drawing 131 submissions over a weekend.
Nikema Williams, a state senator, was selected to take Mr. Lewis’s place in a Congressional race that has been one of the most reliable for Democrats. (Mr. Lewis won at least 70 percent of the vote in all but one of his re-election bids.)
Ms. Williams, who opted against running in the special election, will face the Republican nominee, Angela Stanton-King, an author and reality-television personality. Ms. Stanton-King had been pardoned by President Trump this year of her conviction for her role in a stolen-car ring.
Among those running on Tuesday are Barrington Martin II, a special-education teacher who mounted a failed primary challenge to Mr. Lewis in June, and Robert M. Franklin Jr., a scholar of theology and the former president of Morehouse College in Atlanta who was among the finalists considered for the November ballot.
The other candidates are Kwanza Hall, a Democrat and former Atlanta city councilman; Steven Muhammad, a minister and activist running as an independent; Chase Oliver, a Libertarian; Mable Thomas, a Democratic state legislator known as “Able Mable”; and Keisha Sean Waites, a former Democratic state representative.
If no single candidate claims a majority of the votes on Tuesday, the top two contenders will advance to a runoff on Dec. 1 to finish out a term that ends on Jan. 3.
In a stark new warning to voters of color, former President Barack Obama said that President Trump and his supporters were trying to suppress them from participating in the election and urged them to cast their ballots early.
Mr. Obama spoke of voter disenfranchisement in a video released by the Biden campaign to PBS, which posted it on its website on Tuesday ahead of the first presidential debate.
The minute-long video was targeted at followers of “The Shade Room,” a popular Black news site and social media platform.
“Right now, from the White House on down, folks are working to keep people from voting, especially communities of color,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s because there’s a lot at stake in this election, not just our pandemic response or racial justice, but our democracy itself.”
Mr. Obama’s comments came a day after Britain’s Channel 4 News reported that the Trump campaign had identified 3.5 million Black voters that it wanted to discourage from voting in 2016 and had used Facebook to target them as part of a “deterrence” scheme.
The report cited a cache of information from Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct political data firm that drew scrutiny for its work for the Trump campaign.
A Trump campaign spokesman dismissed the report as “fake news” in a statement to several media outlets on Monday and said that Mr. Trump had forged “a relationship of trust with African-American voters.”
Mr. Obama said that Black voters can’t afford to be complacent.
“We can’t leave anything to chance,” he said. “Make your plan to vote early. Now is the time to fight for what we believe in.”