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Biden says Barrett's Catholic faith shouldn't be factor in her confirmation hearings

Biden leads in Pennsylvania, tied in Ohio
CBS News poll: Biden leads in Pennsylvania, even with Trump in Ohio 06:33

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is making his first general election campaign trip to Ohio, while President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, was at the Capitol for the first of four days of confirmation hearings.

He spoke in Toledo about his jobs and economic recovery plan and then will attend a get-out-the-vote event in Cincinnati.

On his way to Ohio, Biden told reporters Barrett's Catholic faith shouldn't be a factor in Democrat senators' questioning this week.

"I don't think there should be any questions about her faith," he said Monday morning.

But fear that Barrett could be a deciding vote in dismantling the nation's health care law is something he believes should be a topic of the hearings. In fact, Obamacare has been a major theme of questioning Monday — each of the Democratic senators has brought it up and highlighted constituents from their states whose lives have been changed by the law.

"This nominee has said she wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act," Biden said. "This president wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Let's keep our eye on the ball. This is about less than one month Americans are going to lose their health insurance."

With three weeks to go before Election Day, Ohio is a toss-up, according to the CBS News Battleground Tracker, which shows Mr. Trump with 50% support, compared to 49% for Biden.

In Toledo, Biden addressed United Auto Workers and reminded them that the Obama administration had believed in them when the U.S. auto industry was in bankruptcy.

"We stepped in and rescued the automobile industry — General Motors and Chrysler — saving one million jobs," he said. "And then what happened when Donald Trump came to office?"

He reminded them of what the president had told them in 2017 in Lordstown, Ohio: "'Don't move, don't sell your house,'" Biden said. "But Lordstown shut down on Trump's watch."

Biden said he recently met with a Lordstown elementary school teacher whose husband worked at the shuttered plant, which manufactured the now discontinued Cruze. He had to transfer "to a plant in Kentucky eight hours away to maintain his healthcare and pension," Biden said. "He drives 16 hours a weekend to see her and their two kids."

And he reminded them of the president's call for a boycott of Ohio-based Goodyear Tires. "Don't buy Goodyear Tires," the president tweeted earlier this year after he heard that the company banned apparel with political messages, including his campaign's Make America Great Again hats.
"He betrayed union workers at Goodyear when he called for a boycott of their tires based on a
personal grudge," Biden said. 

The Trump campaign responded to Biden's Ohio trip with mockery. Campaign manager Bill Stepien made fun of the former vice president Monday, claiming he had traveled to Ohio to speak to a handful of people. 

"Joe Biden, speaking of travel, is going to be in Ohio today speaking to literally several people on the ground — a state the president won in 2016 and is going to win again in November," Stepien said on a phone briefing with reporters. "We are quite happy to see Joe Biden wasting a valuable day on the campaign trail in a state that he won't win in three weeks."

The Trump campaign is not running local ads in Ohio, Trump 2020 senior adviser Jason Miller claimed on the call, because it is optimistic about the president's prospects in the must-win state and doesn't want to waste money in the last few weeks before Election Day.

Musadiq Bidar contributed to this report.

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