In Ohio on Monday, Trump supporters expressed their desire for President Trump to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court as soon as possible, citing abortion as a major reason.
Ahead of a campaign event in Vandalia, Ohio, Jamie Edwards of Columbus, Ohio told CBS News political unit associate producer Ellee Watson she wanted Mr. Trump to put another conservative justice on the court because she doesn’t want to see a nominee who supports abortion.
Andrea Butterbaugh, of Washington Courthouse, Ohio said, “As for the Supreme Court directly, the abortion issue is the greatest one for me.” Several voters said they wanted to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade, but there were also anti-abortion advocates like Juliet Tissot from Cincinnati who said they don’t believe the Supreme Court would go back and change precedent. It’s about moving forward.
Some felt that ensuring the presidential election could be decided was the main reason to confirm a ninth justice. Michael Schupert from Clayton, Ohio, said, “This will be a contentious election,” and he doesn’t want to have chaos ruling the country if the election goes to a Supreme Court with just eight justices.
Several women told CBS News that they would’ve preferred it if Mr. Trump committed to picking the most qualified person instead of specifying at the outset that he was going to pick a woman. Julie Lambert of Ohio, said, “I would much rather say, ‘You know, I’m looking at competency first’ and so forth. But there’s no reason it couldn’t be a competent woman. But to say, ‘I’m only going to pick a woman’ is really, I don’t know, you could even say that was sexist.”
And Leigha Wilkerson said naming a woman “is not necessary, but it’s good.” At the Vandalia rally, Mr. Trump held a call and response poll on whether supporters would prefer a man or a woman to fill the vacancy, and while there were no cheers for a man, the cheers for a woman were quieter than when Mr. Trump invoked Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s name, and when the audience engaged in “Lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Late today, Joe Biden announced during a virtual fundraiser that Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain, is endorsing his presidential campaign “because of what he [President Trump] talks about with my son and John’s who are heroes, who served their country. You know, he said they’re losers, they’re suckers.”
The Atlantic, followed by other news outlets, recently wrote about disparaging comments the president reportedly made about McCain and other military veterans and service members. CBS News has not independently confirmed the president’s comments.
CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe reports that Mrs. McCain’s endorsement isn’t entirely a surprise, given that she narrated a video tribute that aired during the Democratic National Convention speaking about her late husband’s friendship with Biden over the decades, beginning in the 1970s when McCain served as a military aide to then-Sen. Biden. Biden campaign aides didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Biden did not have any public appearances Tuesday, but vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris made her first visit to the battleground state of Michigan since joining the Democratic ticket in August. Harris’ last public trip to Michigan was to endorse the then-Democratic candidate Biden, just before the pandemic struck in early March.
While visiting the “Great Lake State,” Harris toured small businesses in Flint and participated in “Shop Talk,” a roundtable conversation with Black men in Detroit. Michigan is a crucial battleground state in the upcoming election. President Donald Trump won the state by 10,704 votes during the 2016 election. While in Flint, Harris was joined by fellow Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow and former WNBA player Deanna Nolan.
CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry reports that on Wednesday, Harris will turn back to her Senate duties and head to Capitol Hill for the first time since accepting the Democratic nomination for vice president. Harris is currently scheduled to attend a closed Senate Intelligence Committee Briefing at the U.S. Capitol complex in the afternoon according to her Senate Office.
As the U.S. surpasses a grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, President Trump continues to spread false claims about coronavirus’ nationwide impact, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reports.
At a campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, Monday, Mr. Trump told thousands situated in a largely mask-less audience that the virus “affects virtually nobody,” among young people. “Now we know it. It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. But they have other problems, that’s what it really effects, that’s it,” Mr. Trump said. “You know in some states, thousands of people [are infected] — nobody young,” he continued. “Below the age of 18, like nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows.”
While the risk of serious complications does increase with age, young people are not immune to the virus, CBS News digital reporter Caitlin O’Kane reports. Children as young as a few months old have died from COVID-19, as have many young adults. A growing number of younger patients have also experienced crippling battles with the virus, slow recoveries and “long-haul” symptoms that last for months.
The U.S. is home to the highest number of infections and deaths in the world, with more than 6.8 million confirmed cases as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Amid the pandemic, Ohio state guidelines permit gatherings of up to 10 people statewide. President Trump continues to flout state health restrictions by hosting large gatherings in political battlegrounds. According to the Lucas County Sheriff’s office, 5,020 people attended the president’s in-person campaign rally on Monday night.
Meanwhile, campaigning in New Hampshire, Vice President Pence said there will be “one more strong conservative on the highest court in the land.” Pence said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived “an inspiring life” and “paved the way for women in the law and America mourns” her passing. He added that on Saturday, “after we honor the life and memory of Justice Ginsburg,” President Trump will nominate “another principled conservative, a woman, to the Supreme Court of the United States.” As the crowd broke out into chants of “fill that seat,” Pence said “we’re going to do it in an Election Year. I promise you.”
With the total number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S surpassing 200,000, Pence said “we’ve come to a heart-breaking moment, a heart-breaking milestone.” He said the families who have lost loved ones are in his thoughts but told the crowd because of President Trump’s “early action putting the health of America first,” hundreds of thousands of lives have also been saved. Looking ahead to the next four years, Pence said freedom and economic recovery are on the ballot.
CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar says Pence claimed Biden “presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression” and urged voters to support “a proven job creator” in President Trump. This was the first time since campaign rallies picked up in late June that Pence stumped in the Granite State. Later this week, the VP will campaign in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
BATTLEGROUNDS IN THE BATTLEGROUNDS
FLORIDA – INTERSTATE 4
In a state where there are 13.9 million registered voters, elections are won or lost in Florida sometimes by less than a percentage point. In 2012, President Barack Obama won the state by just 0.9%, and in 2016, President Trump won Florida by 1.2% – or 112,911 votes.
In this battleground state, infamous for election recounts, is another “battleground” region, where it’s been said presidents are picked. A collection of six of the state’s largest counties lie along Interstate 4 corridor, which stretches more than 100 miles through Central Florida, reports CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell.
In 2016, then-candidate Trump and Hillary Clinton each won three of the six counties in the I-4 corridor. Two of the I-4 corridor counties that Clinton clinched were Osceola and Orange Counties. Osceola County is the 17th largest county in the state, boasting more than 375,000 Floridians and a voter turnout rate of 72% in the 2016 general election.
Orange County is the 5th largest county in the state and Clinton won the area with 60.4% of the votes in 2016. Both counties have been suffered economically because of COVID-19, and in August, Osceola County had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 15.1%. Orange County, home to popular tourist destination Orlando, had the second highest unemployment rate at 11.6 % according to the Florida Department of Economic Development.
Willie Paredes, 54, is a restaurant owner in Orlando. He didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election but plans to vote for Joe Biden in November because he feels that Biden’s plans for the Hispanic community will help him to have a better future.
“I think everyone among Latinos, that’s what they’re looking for, someone that actually takes that kind of charge and makes it better, not just for us, but for our families in general,” said Paredes. “I can actually sense the fact that people want to vote now more than ever before. They’re being hurt in many ways and they don’t want that anymore. Enough is enough.”
CBS NEWS COVID CHRONICLES
FOLLOW-UP – MICHIGAN TOURISM
CBS News is chronicling what has changed for the lives of Americans in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster follows up with businesses tied to tourism in Michigan about what they experienced over the summer and how they’re preparing for winter.
In early July, Heidi Gesiakowski, a restaurant owner in the popular tourist destination of South Haven, Michigan, said keeping her business operating was like “walking into the middle of the war every single day.”
The critical summer season, when her business usually earns much of its revenue, was just beginning. “The reason why it felt so dark at the beginning of the season was because there were so many new policies to put in place, so much education for customers, staff, vendors, you know, every single day it was something new,” Gesiakowski said.
Since mid-June, Gesiakowski’s restaurant, Taste, has been able to operate at 50% occupancy for indoor seating. It also offers takeout, which has supplemented revenue that’s dropped because of the capacity regulation. Some days were even better than last year, but business is still down for the year. And now with the slower season approaching, she worries about what’s ahead if to-go orders drop and she can’t hold some of her usual offseason activities like parties and cooking classes. “I’m a little nervous about that because I don’t know what to expect,” Gesiakowski said. “We will make it, but not all restaurants will.”
Overall, the summer season was better than expected for many businesses tied to tourism in Michigan, although it was “certainly far from being good,” according to Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, the state’s tourism office. Some businesses haven’t survived, but as summer starts to fade into fall, Lorenz said worse times are ahead for businesses that made it through the busier months. “A lot of businesses are quite worried that they’ve been able to stay afloat for the summer, but it’s going to be very difficult for them to survive the fall and into the winter moving forward,” Lorenz said.
DID YOU HEAR THAT?
In one week, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will meet on the same stage in Cleveland for the first of three presidential debates this fall.
In a political year marked by so much that is abnormal, the debates should finally look like something recognizable. For this week’s episode of “The Debrief with Major Garrett,” CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett dives into the relatively short history of presidential debates and how they’ve changed since John F. Kennedy debated Richard Nixon in 1960 in a made-for-television event.
He speaks to Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chairman on the Commission of Presidential Debates, about how the moderators are chosen and what makes a good moderator. The episode also features interviews with aides who have helped candidates prepare and former moderators.
“For the first time, I guess in 30 years, I had stage fright,” former “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer told Major about moderating the third 2004 presidential debate. “What kind of helped settle down my nerves was I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute, those are the guys – the two people you’re about to question – those are the ones that ought to be nervous because this may decide which of them is going to be president.'”
ISSUES THAT MATTER
Roughly 1,400 student volunteers reached out to more than 100 college campuses Tuesday as a part of the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) New Voters Project’s initiative to reach thousands of students on National Voter Registration Day.
According to a press release sent out Tuesday, student volunteers and interns virtually organized on more than 100 college campuses to host campaign and educational events, building on efforts that have been underway for years. Sithara Menon, 21, is a senior biology student at UCLA and a student leader for Student PIRGs.
She told CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell that she withdrew from UCLA for a semester to help turn out the youth vote and is now helping students to register to vote at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Through peer-to-peer contacts, Menon said that after this initial registration push, her team will be following up to ensure that FSU students know about their voting options, voting deadlines, and what measures they’ll be voting for in November.
“While historically, students have turned out to vote at lower numbers, students have historically been at the forefront of movements to build a better future for our country,” said Menon. “Whether it’s civil rights, protecting the environment, or any other issue that young people care about…so the challenge is really to turn that interest and excitement about making a difference in the world, into the concrete action of voting and I believe that from what we’ve seen so far that’s definitely possible for this year.”
It was a first for a former First Lady. Michelle Obama made her Instagram Live debut Tuesday to promote a familiar refrain – vote. Through her non-partisan organization, When We All Vote, Obama launched her first-ever IG Live takeover featuring conversations with freshly-minted Emmy winner Zendaya, entertainer Jennifer Lopez, Oklahoma Thunder’s Chris Paul and Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA all-star Steph Curry.
A mix of activists and A-listers from Tracee Ellis Ross to DJ Khalid popped up throughout the day-long virtual event, dubbed “Get Registered and Ready” to mark National Voter Registration Day, reports CBS News correspondent Nikole Killion.
“You got to get up early, figure out where your polling place is, get there, take your mask, bring your lunch, do whatever you have to,” Obama advised during a chat with Zendaya. “Voting is easy, it is something we can do. Don’t listen to people who will say that somehow voting is rigged and your vote will get lost and it won’t be counted. That is not true!”
In a conversation with J.Lo, Obama discussed the impact of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the upcoming election. She called the late justice a “friend” and a “true champion.”
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Obama said, “Who is in the Oval Office matters because they will choose the person who will replace her and the Supreme Court determines the most impactful laws in the land – voting rights, equal rights, criminal justice, LGBTQ rights, abortion rights.” Lopez added: “She [RBG] gave us some great advice, about how we could help which was to be our best selves until we make sure that we’re doing all that we can in our way and voting is a big part of that.”
The ladies also dished briefly on their quarantine life. The singer-actress told Obama she’s homeschooling her 12-year-old twins during the pandemic but plans to send them back to school when it’s safe because “they miss their friends.”
Obama said, “My girls are studying from home too,” referring to daughters Malia and Sasha. “We’re itching to get back to campus but things are just confusing and uncertain. I’m just glad they’re staying put, even if they’re sick of me,” she joked. The live Instagram chats mark the latest digital initiative by When We All Vote. It’s one of a series of events the group is hosting as part of a “Week Of Action” to engage millions of eligible voters, with the goal of registeringg at least 100,000 people.
“There’ll be a little something for everybody,” teased Stephanie Young, managing director for communications, culture & partnerships. “Our mission is to really close the race and age gap and help really tap into Gen Z audiences as well and get them not only just motivated but anxious and excited about voting.”
A new poll conducted by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), indicates that the margins of victory in the upcoming presidential and senatorial races in Georgia could be very small between candidates.
As first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a survey of 1,150 likely Georgia voters found that President Trump and Joe Biden are tied at 47%, while the candidates in the state’s Senate races are within 2-4% of one another.
Republican incumbent Senator David Perdue is just two percentage points ahead of Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, with 47% and 45% respectively. And in the special election Senate race, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is just four points ahead of two of her competitors – Republican Congressman Doug Collins and Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock, with Loeffler coming in at 24% and Collins and Warnock tied at 20%.
Trey Hood is a professor of political science and director of the School of Public & International Affairs (SPIA) Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. Hood told Mitchell that the races are so close it’s hard to tell who’s ahead and who’s behind. Outside of the toplines, Hood said the poll also found that while the number of voters who cast their ballot by mail will likely be four to five times the usual rate, more than a majority of Georgians are going to either vote early in-person or in-person on Election Day – a fact that bodes this question posed by Hood: “Are we creating new absentee voters in the future or are they going to go back after the pandemic goes away, hopefully, and just keep voting in person?”
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