June 11, 2020 / 7:38 PM / a month ago

Trump and Biden hit campaign trail to tout plans for economic recovery

PHILADELPHIA/ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, June 11 (Reuters) - P resident Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, headed to must-win election battlegrounds on Thursday, seeking to make their cases to voters about who is best positioned to help the economy recover from coronavirus shutdowns.

Trump was expected to host a roundtable in Dallas on the economic recovery. Recent opinion polls have shown him in a dead heat with Biden in Texas, which the Republican won by 9 percentage points in 2016.

Biden held a similar event in Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, a state his campaign regards as crucial in the Nov. 3 election. Trump’s narrow victory there over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 helped propel him to the White House.

Trump, who has made his economic stewardship a key pillar of his re-election campaign, has seen his support in polls drop after his much-criticized handling of the coronavirus pandemic and mass protests against police brutality and racism.

But polls have still shown him with an edge in voters’ minds as stronger than Biden on economic issues.

Biden rolled out a plan on Thursday to reopen the economy, calling for expanded coronavirus testing and protective equipment for people who go back to work, paid sick leave, small-business grants, fines for businesses that do not abide by safety standards, and hiring a workforce to test the spread of the disease.

Meeting with an eyeglass store owner and a union cleaning worker, Biden reiterated his criticism of Trump’s failure “to deal with this crisis.”

The U.S. economy is showing only early signs of recovery from a sharp downturn. Stocks slumped on Thursday as investors fretted over a new wave of coronavirus infections and a gloomy economic forecast from the Federal Reserve.

The jobless claims report from the Labor Department on Thursday showed the number of Americans seeking jobless benefits fell last week, but millions laid off because of COVID-19 continued to receive unemployment checks.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Philadelphia and Steve Holland aboard Air Force One; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

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