MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The fight for Florida keeps bringing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden back to the Sunshine State.
During a campaign stop in Broward Thursday, the former vice president spoke exclusively with CBS4’s Ty Russell on a variety of topics, ranging from Black voter turnout to socialism concerns.
The conversation kicked off with the COVID crisis, specifically how Black and Latino communities are disproportionately impacted by the virus.
“Well, first of all, let’s acknowledge the fact that you have if you are an African American, you are three times as likely to get COVID and three times as likely to die. And it’s about the same exact number for Hispanics as well. It’s wrong. And there’s a reason for that one is hard to get access to the hospitals,” he said. “Number two, it’s difficult. Many have pre-existing conditions, like your older folks, whether it is diabetes, it’s just much more dangerous. So we have to deal with it.”
Biden also pointed how he’s insisted that the CDC keep records to better track statistics in the communities disproportionately affected.
WATCH: Joe Biden’s Full Exclusive Interview With CBS4’s Ty Russell
As for how he would handle the crisis, Biden said he would lean on the experts and open access to testing.
“If I’m president of the United States, I’m laying out what every major serious immunologist in the world talks about. We have to be wearing masks, it’s not a mandate, it’s a sense of patriotic responsibility. It’s not about protecting us, but protecting the person next to you – your friend, your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, whoever you are with, on a regular basis,” he said. “Number two, we have to increase testing and tracing. I’m going to make sure that we have as much testing on a daily basis. We now have in seven days a week in the United States of America.”
The conversation then turned to the message from the Trump campaign painting Biden as a socialist who will adopt far-left policies.
“I’m the guy that ran against socialists, OK. I’m the guy that’s the moderate. Remember, you guys were all talking, you’d interview me and say, ‘Well, you’re a moderate, how can you win the nomination?’ It’s who I am,” he said.
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He then spoke to the Cuban-American community, who polls show have been responding to President Trump’s message.
“What’s made this state stronger, and our communities stronger, is the Cuban Americans who fled Castro a long time ago. If the policies of this president had been in place at the time, they wouldn’t be here. You have hundreds and thousands of Cubans on the border in Mexico, he won’t let in. He’s deporting Cuban Americans back to dictatorship. He’s denying them the whole idea for protective status here in the United States, along with Venezuelans,” he said. “This guy is the worst person to carry the banner of saying he wants to take on dictators and take on socialists, because everything he does is consistent with the kind of things they’re doing.”
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Russell followed up with a how he can assure Black communities that their votes will count and what his administration would do for them.
The former VP said it starts with listening to the unique voices of each community.
“Well, first of all, you meet the community where it is. Haitian community is different than the African-American community in Detroit. The Haitian community, the Caribbean-island communities, you know, the Jamaican community, they’re different. Understand the differences, which I do,” he said.
He then added that he’s already encouraged about the Black voter turnout and engagement this election.
“A half a million African Americans, Black folks, have already voted. For another quarter million out there, they’re turning out,” he said. “Look across the country, in Philadelphia and Delaware, they’re lining up, waiting 2,3,4,5,6, up to 7 hours to vote. This idea that they’re not the only engaged is simply not true.”
CBS4 News reached out to get an interview with President Trump while he was in Miami-Dade.
The campaign offered senior advisor Kayleigh McEnany.
The two talked over Zoom before she left with President Trump on Air Force One.
The first topic was the Trump campaign’s strategy for winning the Sunshine State.
“So let me start by saying we are seeing very positive signs in Florida. I’m here in Miami Dade County right now where we are ahead by six points in the early vote. That is historic for Republicans statewide. We’ve won 10 days of early voting. We know Democrats always have a lead in absentee voting, but we’ve eaten away at that lead up to the tune of two thirds,” she said. “But in terms of what we’re doing, we will consistently fight for the vote of Floridians and that means taking our case directly to the American people, which the President will be doing today in Tampa, Florida. We will be back in the state before the election, and we routinely stopped by the great state of Florida. There’s no denying that all paths run through the state of Florida.”
The conversation then shifted to the administration’s handling of the COVID crisis.
Russell asked if the president is reelected, what his plan to slow the spread of the virus is. McEnany focused on what President Trump had already done.
“So what the president did was first the China travel ban, which Joe Biden notably called xenophobic. The President got to work on therapeutics, making sure we had therapeutics available and identified to treat COVID-19,” she said. “He created the greatest testing system in the world. We do more tests than any other country, where we can identify COVID-19. And what we’ve seen with these therapeutics with our testing system, we’ve seen the fatality rate dropped by 85%.”
WATCH: Kayleigh McEnany’s Full Exclusive Interview With CBS4’s Ty Russell
When pressed again about a plan, McEnany said, “We encourage everyone to follow the CDC guidelines, which is to wear masks when you can’t socially distance, and to social distance everywhere possible.”
Russell then asked McEnany about the idea that a Biden administration would ring in an era of socialism.
She pointed to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, saying the she “has advocated for the Green New Deal and the Green New Deal is on Joe Biden’s website.”
“Ultimately, when you look, he has said, and we play video at our rallies, that you would ban fracking in the oil industry. These are all things that are plans of the radical left. And we believe that Joe Biden is a shell that the radical left is filling,” she said.
So how does she feel about the president’s chances?
“We’re feeling very strong, cautiously optimistic. It’s never over ‘til it’s over. But we feel that we are in a very good spot, and we are looking forward to Tuesday,” she said.