In Georgia, Biden Meets Former President Carter Ahead of Rally for Economic Plans


President Joe Biden marked his 100th day in office with a trip to Georgia on Thursday to visit former President Jimmy Carter and promote his plans to spend trillions of dollars to rebuild the U.S. economy.

After arriving in Georgia, the Democratic president and first lady Jill Biden drove to the Carter home in the small town of Plains, about 150 miles (240 km) south of Atlanta.

They met privately with Carter, who served as Democratic president from 1977 to 1981, and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter. Biden is close friends and political allies with Carter, who at 96 is the longest-living U.S. president. Both couples are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

After limited time on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden is stepping up his travel schedule after his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. He will have a drive-in rally near Atlanta later on Thursday and additional campaign-style stops are planned in Pennsylvania and Virginia in coming days.

During his speech to Congress, Biden appealed to Americans to support his “blue-collar blueprint” for change, saying his administration would invest a combined $4 trillion in families and infrastructure to rebuild the middle class.

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Biden said his plans would add millions of well-paying jobs and trillions of dollars to economic output in coming years, while helping to reverse decades of systemic racism.

Former President Donald Trump, whom Biden defeated in last November’s election, expressed concern about the tax increases on corporations that Biden wants to pay for his plans.

Trump, who warned during the campaign of a “Biden depression,” predicted in a phone interview with Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” that higher taxes would prompt some companies to relocate abroad.

Georgia’s Democratic Party said Biden would appear at a “Getting America Back on Track” rally in Duluth, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Atlanta.

Biden is also expected to meet with Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, whose elections in the Republican-leaning state secured Democrats control of the Senate, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Biden carried Georgia in November’s presidential election, the first Democrat to do so in 28 years.

Georgia has become a hot spot in a nationwide battle over voting rights.

Over 100 U.S. corporations as well as civil rights activists and sports leagues have spoken out against voting rights curbs passed by Georgia’s Republican state legislature.

Biden has forcefully opposed the restrictions passed in Georgia, calling them “sick” and “un-American.”

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Similar measures are under consideration in other Republican-controlled states, where backers have used Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election to push for changes they say are needed to improve election integrity.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Writing by Cynthia Osterman; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)

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