Joe Biden urged unity in a brief address Friday evening in Delaware, calling for an end to the "partisan warfare" that has characterized American politics in recent years. Before he spoke, the Democratic nominee had pulled ahead of President Trump in the critical battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania, and he still maintained a lead in Arizona and Nevada.
"The purpose of our politics isn't to wage total and unrelenting war. It's to solve problems," Biden said. "We may be opponents, but we're not enemies. We're Americans."
Although news outlets have not yet called the race for Biden, he expressed confidence that he would ultimately be victorious.
"The numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: We're going to win this race," Biden said, noting that his vote share in Georgia and Pennsylvania had expanded significantly over the past 24 hours. He also touted the fact that he has won over 74 million votes so far, more than any presidential candidate in history.
"One of the things I'm especially proud of is how well we've done across America," Biden said, boasting his leads in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which each voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. "We've rebuilt the 'blue wall' in the middle of the country that crumbled just four years ago."
Biden also urged patience as the vote count proceeds slowly in several states. He implicitly pushed back against the president, who has criticized the legal vote-counting process. Mr. Trump's campaign has also launched several so far unsuccessful lawsuits in states where they say votes are disputed.
"Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don't care how hard people try and stop it. I will not let it happen," Biden said.
Biden also talked about his priorities if elected, saying the American voters have "given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism."
"I want people to know that we're not waiting to get the work done," he said, saying that he and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris held meetings with public health and economic experts yesterday. Biden also emphasized that he would continue to work to address the coronavirus pandemic if elected president.
"We want everyone to know on day one we are going to put our plan to control this virus into action. We can't save any of the lives that have been lost, but we can save a lot of lives in the months ahead," Biden said. He has previously called for a national testing regimen and a nationwide mandate requiring facial coverings in public.
Biden's speech came after aides spent Friday making preliminary plans for him to speak on the presumption that he would be projected to have won over 270 electoral votes, the number needed to clinch the presidency. CBS News projects Biden currently has 253 electoral votes. If Biden wins Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, that would bring him to 273. Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes, would bring his total to 269. Biden is also likely to win Arizona and Nevada, CBS News reports.
Ed O'Keefe, Tim Perry, Bo Erickson and Nikole Killion contributed to this report.
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