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Where Are Presidential Candidates A Week Before Election Day?

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

While the presidential polls have been relatively fixed, the candidates themselves are on the move today. NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow is traveling with the Biden campaign. And I spoke with him in Georgia earlier at a drive-in rally, which explains the honking you're going to hear behind him.

Hi, Scott.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good afternoon.

SHAPIRO: Well, how different are the approaches that Joe Biden and Donald Trump are taking to this final week of campaigning?

DETROW: I think the differences are as wide as the two platforms they're running on, and it's in two key ways - first of all, pace. President Trump is on a manic pace, hitting three states today all over the country. Joe Biden, on the other hand, as we've talked about a lot, is being methodical, not traveling every single day. And he's keeping his events smaller because of coronavirus worries.

There is one other big difference, though, and that is offense versus defense. The president's really playing defense. Today he is in Nebraska, of all places, because he's fighting for that one electoral vote that the Omaha area congressional district awards. Biden, on the other hand, is in Georgia, a state that has not voted Democrat in the presidential level since 1992. But Democrats think this is the year they can finally flip things around there. Biden will be in Iowa later this week. That's another place that President Trump won big four years ago. It just shows how expanded his map is right now compared to the president's, who really has to have everything go right for him next week.

SHAPIRO: And Biden is not in the Atlanta area, which is a Democratic stronghold. He is in Warm Springs. Explain why he chose that place.

DETROW: So he was there earlier today. We're in Atlanta now. But earlier today...

SHAPIRO: Oh, OK.

DETROW: The first stop was Warm Springs, and it was symbolic. Biden has talked a lot about modeling his presidency on Franklin Roosevelt's. And usually, he's talking about passing big reforms in the face of a bad economy. But today it was more about tone and leadership. Warm Springs was a retreat for Roosevelt. He first went there in the 1920s as he tried to recover from polio. He didn't find a cure there like he thought he would. But Biden said today FDR learned a lot about resiliency.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE BIDEN: This place, Warm Springs, is a reminder that, though broken, each of us can be healed; that as a people and a country, we can overcome this devastating virus; that we can heal a suffering world.

DETROW: And this, of course, is that broad, unifying message that Biden has been focusing on in the closing days. His campaign thinks Americans are sick of partisanship, constant attacks. And they want something very different.

SHAPIRO: And as for President Trump, you mentioned he was in three states today in addition to Nebraska - Michigan and Wisconsin. Explain the strategy there.

DETROW: Those, of course, are two of the states that put him in the White House. He has to win them again. Today he was in Lansing, hitting on similar themes, really playing down the coronavirus.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Can't watch anything else. You turn it on - COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. Well, we have a spike in cases. Do you ever notice they don't use the word death? They use the word cases. Like, Barron Trump is a case. He has sniffles. He was sniffling. One Kleenex - that's all he needed.

DETROW: Of course, Ari, COVID cases are rising, especially in the Midwest, especially in places like Wisconsin. Hospitalization rates are up. And we do know that death rates spike after those initial waves. We've seen that several times already.

SHAPIRO: That is NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow covering the Biden campaign in its final week. He's in Atlanta.

Thanks, Scott.

DETROW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.