President Biden to deliver prime-time speech in Philadelphia on 'battle' for democracy

The speech will be delivered Thursday outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the White House said.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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Pres. Biden will deliver a prime-time address "on the continued battle for the soul of the nation" Thursday outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA -- President Joe Biden will deliver a prime-time address "on the continued battle for the soul of the nation" Thursday outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the White House announced Monday.

Billed as a major address just over two months before the midterm elections, Biden, the White House said, will discuss how the nation's standing in the world and its democracy are at stake.

"He will talk about the progress we have made as a nation to protect our democracy, but how our rights and freedoms are still under attack," the White House said. "And he will make clear who is fighting for those rights, fighting for those freedoms, and fighting for our democracy."

Biden has increasingly sought to portray the November elections as a choice for voters between "ultra-MAGA Republicans" - a reference to former President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan - and Democrats. He told supporters last week that they had "to vote to literally save democracy once again" - and labeled some Republican ideology as "semi-fascism.

"Philadelphia is the birthplace of our democracy. And at a time where it is under strain and attack, it makes sense that the head of our country would come here to the birthplace of our democracy to give a speech about the importance of protecting it," said Al Schmidt, Committee of Seventy.

Biden was in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Tuesday to promote his administration's crime-prevention efforts and to continue to pressure Congress to revive a long-expired federal ban on assault-style weapons. Democrats and Republicans worked together in a rare effort to pass gun safety legislation earlier this year after massacres in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. They were the first significant firearm restrictions approved by Congress in nearly three decades, but Biden has repeatedly said more needs to be done.

"We beat the NRA. We took them on and beat the NRA straight up. You have no idea how intimidating they are to elected officials," an animated Biden said. "We're not stopping here. I'm determined to ban assault weapons in this country! Determined. I did it once before. And I'll do it again."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.