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It’s a busy day on the campaign trail as the candidates and their surrogates fan out across the country to make their final pitches to voters in battleground states.
President Trump is voting Saturday morning in West Palm Beach and then has a trio of appearances in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. Vice President Pence is headlining two rallies in Florida.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden returns to his native Pennsylvania for events in Bucks County and Luzerne County, two areas crucial to winning the important state. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has a speech in Cleveland, former president Barack Obama has a drive-in rally in Miami and singer Cher is holding a Biden event in Las Vegas.
Back in Washington, the Senate is debating the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court with a final vote expected on Monday.
Trump and Biden have both battled life-threatening illnesses at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a facility they entered 32 years apart with uncertainty over whether they would return alive.
For Trump, his diagnosis with the novel coronavirus earlier this month was his most serious known brush with a fatal disease, and his rapidly dropping oxygen levels sparked grave concern among his top aides and doctors. For Biden, emergency surgery for two brain aneurysms in 1988 posed the risk of impaired cognitive capabilities, or worse. While he ultimately fully recovered, the situation was so dire at the time that a priest was brought in to deliver last rites.
Both episodes have become political fodder for opposing sides less than two weeks ahead of a presidential election in which the two septuagenarian candidates are competing for a chance to be the oldest sitting president in American history. More broadly, the health of each man has become a central component of an increasingly negative race in which questioning an opponent’s fitness for office has taken a personal turn.
Trump’s extraordinary directive allowing his administration to weed out career federal employees viewed as disloyal in a second term is the product of a four-year campaign by conservatives working from a little-known West Wing policy shop.
Soon after Trump took office, a young aide hired from the Heritage Foundation with bold ideas for reining in the sprawling bureaucracy of 2.1 million came up with a blueprint. Trump would hold employees accountable, sideline their labor unions and give the president more power to hire and fire them, much like political appointees.
The plan was a counterweight to the “deep state” Trump believed was out to disrupt his agenda.
The result this week threatens to be the most significant assault on the nonpartisan civil service in its 137-year history: a sweeping executive order that strips job protections from employees in policy roles across the government. Exactly which roles would be affected will be up to personnel officials at federal agencies, who were tasked on Friday with reviewing all of their jobs and deciding who would qualify.
In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump, with 54 percent of likely voters favoring him vs. 42 percent for Trump.
How to vote: Find out the rules in your state, and if you’re voting by mail, see how to make sure your ballot counts. The United States has already hit a record for the number of people who have already voted. Are you running into voting problems? Let us know.
Wondering if that thing you saw about voting is true? Check out news, analysis and fact checking about allegations involving the voting process here.
Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.
Battlegrounds: These are the 50 political states of America. Dive into Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Arizona, Georgia, Texas and Ohio, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.
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