Biden Promotes Student Loan Forgiveness As Midterms Close In

U.S. President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One upon departure from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., to campaign in New Mexico and California, November 3, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Joe Biden traveled to the western United States on Thursday as part of his final major campaign swing ahead of midterm elections that the White House seeks to turn into a referendum on Republicans, and Republicans into a vote on Biden.

Biden's three-day campaign swing started in New Mexico, where he spoke about canceling billions of dollars in student debt.

Polls show New Mexico Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham leading Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti, a former television weatherman, by around six percentage points.

The race echoes political battles nationwide.

Lujan Grisham, a member of a powerful New Mexico political family, has made maintaining access to abortion the centerpiece of her campaign. Ronchetti proposes banning the procedure after 15 weeks and has hammered Lujan Grisham on crime.

"Our student loan program is designed to give just a little bit more breathing room," Biden told students, educators and local Democratic politicians at an Albuquerque community college.

He heads to California on Thursday evening and Illinois on Friday before traveling to Pennsylvania on Saturday for a rally with former President Barack Obama. He will appear at a rally in Maryland on Monday ahead of Tuesday's congressional elections.

He plans to contrast his economic plan with a Republican push to roll back loan forgiveness, the White House said.

Biden, whose job approval percentage rating in the low 40s is a drag on Democratic candidates, is fighting to help his party hold off a strong challenge mounted by Republicans for control of the U.S. Congress.

Polls show Republicans are widely expected to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate as well, as voters worry about the state of the U.S. economy and inflation. Opposition parties historically fare better in midterm elections, providing a balance for new presidents in the second half of their terms.

Biden warned on Wednesday night that Republican loyalists to former President Donald Trump are a threat to democracy as they refuse to say they will accept the results of elections if they are defeated on Tuesday.

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