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ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                President Joe Biden greets supporters after speaking at the Washoe Democratic Party Office in Reno, Nev.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Joe Biden greets supporters after speaking at the Washoe Democratic Party Office in Reno, Nev.

RENO, Nev. >> President Joe Biden sought personally Tuesday to reengage voters in Nevada and Arizona who helped power his winning coalition in 2020 by drawing contrasts with Republican challenger Donald Trump on veterans, job creation, foreign policy and other issues.

Biden told supporters at a campaign office in Reno, Nevada, that he and Trump have a “different value set” and he criticized Trump for comments he’s made about veterans and others.

“I never heard a president say the things that he has said,” Biden said. He said millions of jobs disappeared during Trump’s presidency and that the Republican doesn’t understand foreign policy or U.S. national security needs.

Biden said Washoe County, where Reno is located, and Nevada are “really, really, really critical” for the November election. Nevada is among the roughly half-dozen battlegrounds that will determine the next president, and Washoe is the lone swing county in the state.

“We’re going to beat him again,” Biden said of Trump.

Afterward, Biden flew to Las Vegas to promote his administration’s housing policies, including new proposals to eliminate various fees to lower costs for homeowners and renters. He also called on the National Association of Realtors to follow through on a recent agreement to allow home buyers and sellers to negotiate commissions lower than the customary 5% to 6%.

Biden planned a second campaign appearance later Tuesday in Phoenix in a critical swing county paired with an event Wednesday to discuss his support of the computer chip manufacturing sector.

The Reno appearance coincided with the launch of Latinos con Biden-Harris (Spanish for Latinos with Biden-Harris). Campaign ads ran in English, Spanish and Spanglish, a blend of the two languages, as did two Spanish-language radio interviews with the president. Biden is also emphasizing his pro-union, pro-abortion rights message during the trip.

“The Latino community is critical to the value set we have,” Biden said on “El Bueno, la Mala y el Feo” (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”) on Univision Radio. “I plan on working like the devil to earn your support.”

In the interview, Biden turned questions about immigration into an indictment of Trump for calling migrants “animals” and saying immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the U.S. Biden also noted Trump’s pledge to carry out mass deportations if given another term.

“We have to stop this guy, we can’t let this happen,” Biden said. “We are a nation of immigrants.”

Biden’s push with Latino voters is part of the campaign’s broader efforts to lay the groundwork to reengage various constituencies that will be critical to his reelection bid. That effort is all the more crucial as key parts of Biden’s base, such as Black and Hispanic adults, have become increasingly disenchanted with his performance in office.

In an AP-NORC poll conducted in February, 38% of U.S. adults approved of how Biden was handling his job. Nearly 6 in 10 Black adults (58%) approved, compared to 36% of Hispanic adults. Black adults are more likely than white and Hispanic adults to approve of Biden, but that approval has dropped in the three years since Biden took office.

Biden’s reelection campaign, along with allied Democratic groups, has opened offices in Washoe County and in specific areas of Las Vegas that aides said will help the campaign with Black, Latino and Asian American voters. The president said Tuesday that his campaign will open more offices in the state, and Daniel Corona, the campaign’s deputy political coalitions director, said Biden’s reelection effort was hiring a political director to focus on rural parts of the state.

Bilingual campaign organizers are already in place in Arizona, and the campaign has opened an office in Maryvale, a major Latino community in Phoenix. The campaign has hired more than 40 staffers in Nevada and Arizona.

Campaign officials believe that tuned-out voters are starting to pay attention to the reality of a rematch between Biden and Trump now that they have clinched their respective nominations. They’re trying to boost coalition-building efforts in battleground states now that the matchup is set, using the energy coming out of Biden’s State of the Union address this month to jolt their campaign momentum.

Latinos con Biden-Harris will formally launch at Biden’s Phoenix stop and include other campaign events, such as volunteer trainings and house parties, in other battleground states including Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin later this week. The campaign already has similar groups geared toward women and college students.

“This isn’t stuff that you can just stand up. This is stuff that requires work,” Quentin Fulks, principal deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign, said in an interview. “It does require training. It does require making sure that your volunteers and supporters have what they need on the ground.”

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee dismissed dozens of staffers after new leaders closely aligned with Trump took over last week. Those let go include people who worked at the party’s community centers that helped build relationships with minority groups in some Democratic-leaning areas. The committee’s new leadership has since insisted that those centers will remain open.

Still, the Biden campaign and the broader Democratic Party are confronting their own struggles, despite their organizational advantages. On top of Biden’s weaker job performance numbers, Democrats are seeing less support from key voting blocs come election time: While Biden won 63% of Hispanic voters in 2020, that percentage shrunk to 57% for Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterms, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the national electorate.

Biden campaign officials say they are confident that once the contrast between the president’s agenda and Trump’s plans for a second term are presented to disillusioned members of Biden’s coalition, they will ultimately back the president.

Biden is scheduled to close the trip at a trio of fundraisers in Dallas and Houston.

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