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Biden heads to New Jersey to sell his spending plans and boost Gov. Phil Murphy

Joe Biden on Monday tried to sell his Build Back Better plan to a classroom full of pre-schoolers, most of whom were too busy playing with their legos to notice the president of the United States.

‘Hey guys how are you?,’ he said as he walked in. Most of the kids didn’t look up from their play.

The president attempted to engage them but not always to success.

‘He’s got his head phones on,’ he said of one kid who was ignoring him.

He also tried to find common ground. 

‘I like legos,’ Biden told the kids as he made the rounds, stopping at various tables of four and five-year-olds and attempting to make chitchat.

During one stop, he distracted a little girl so that her tower of legos fell down as she tried to add more pieces.

‘I’m sorry. That was my fault. I made you look up,’ Biden told her. He bent down to help pick up the legos and hand them to her. ‘It’s okay.’    

He had more luck with four-year-old Landon, who showed him his shirt, which read ‘future president.’ 

‘Well look at that. Future president,’ Biden said.

And he also offered Landon some advice. 

‘Mr. President. You gotta talk to me about the presidency. You know when you’re president, you see all these people here,’ he said, pointing to the cameras and journalists. ‘They’re with you all the time. They get to ask you all kinds of questions and you got to figure out how you can avoid answering them sometimes.’

Biden didn’t seem bothered by the lack of attention. He made small talk with teachers and chuckled as he left the room. 

‘They’re into it,’ he said of the kids. 

President Joe Biden tried to sell his Build Back Better plan to a classroom full of pre-schoolers, most of whom were too busy playing with their legos to notice him

The pre-schoolers at East End elementary school in North Plainfield, N.J., stayed focused on their play during the presidential visit

The pre-schoolers at East End elementary school in North Plainfield, N.J., stayed focused on their play during the presidential visit

Four-year-old Landon shows President Biden his 'future president' shirt

Four-year-old Landon shows President Biden his ‘future president’ shirt

The kids were playing with legos and one girl's tower fell as the president talked to her

The kids were playing with legos and one girl’s tower fell as the president talked to her

Biden had a little more luck at his second classroom visit at the East End Elementary School in North Plainfield, N.J., where the kids gave him fist bumps

Biden had a little more luck at his second classroom visit at the East End Elementary School in North Plainfield, N.J., where the kids gave him fist bumps

President Biden picked up one girl before leaving the classroom

President Biden picked up one girl before leaving the classroom

President Biden joined the kids in their play to try and engage with them

President Biden joined the kids in their play to try and engage with them

The kids, who ranged from four to five years old, were really into the legos

The kids, who ranged from four to five years old, were really into the legos

He had a little more luck at his second classroom visit at the East End Elementary School in North Plainfield, N.J., where the kids gave him fist bumps.

When the teacher said the presiddent had to go, a little boy asked him to come back sometime.

‘Okay,’ he said.  

Biden also picked up a little girl with braids before saying his goodbyes to the students.

Biden is in New Jersey to tout his multi-trillion congressional agenda with a new bridge announcement and, along the way, he’ll boost Gov. Phi Murphy ahead of next week’s election.

Murphy was with him in the classroom visits. ‘He runs the state,’ Biden told the kids of the governor.

Before arriving in the Garden State, Biden said his talks about his spending plan with Senator Joe Manchin over the weekend ‘went well’ and he hopes to have a deal in place before he leaves for Europe on Thursday. 

‘It went well, a few more things to work out, but it went well,’ he said of negotiations.

And asked if it would be done Wednesday, the president replied: ‘With the grace of God and the good will of neighbor.’

‘It’d be very positive to get it done before the trip,’ he noted. 

He’ll push support for his plan in New Jersey while pushing a fellow Democrat for re-election. 

Murphy, in his first term as state governor, has pushed several initiatives that line with Biden’s priorities: increased income taxes on the wealthy, expanded voting rights and tightened the state’s gun laws.

Historical precedent favors his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli: the state hasn’t reelected a Democrat as governor in four decades and hasn’t elected a governor from the same party as the president in three decades. Murphy, if he prevails in the Nov. 2 contest, would be the first Democratic governor to win a second term since 1977. 

Murphy is leading in the polls ahead of Biden’s visit but that lead has dropped to six points from a high of 26 points earlier this year. Former President Barack Obama has already been in the state to campaign for him. 

President Biden joined the kids in their play

President Biden joined the kids in their play

One kid shows the president a drawing

One kid shows the president a drawing

Biden tried to interact with kids, most of whom were focused on their toys

Biden tried to interact with kids, most of whom were focused on their toys

Biden gives one girl a hug during his visit

Biden gives one girl a hug during his visit

The kids also gave President Biden a drawing

The kids also gave President Biden a drawing

Biden was promoting his Build Back Better plan, which calls for two years of free pre-K, during the stop

Biden was promoting his Build Back Better plan, which calls for two years of free pre-K, during the stop

Biden checks out one boy's lego sculpture

Biden checks out one boy’s lego sculpture

President Joe Biden heads to New Jersey on Monday to tout his multi-trillion congressional agenda

President Joe Biden heads to New Jersey on Monday to tout his multi-trillion congressional agenda

Biden won New Jersey by 15 points in the 2020 presidential election and the gubenatorial race, along with one in Virginia, will be seen a bellweather for Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm election.

Biden will announce construction of a new Portal Bridge, which connections NJ Transit and Amtrak trains to and from New York, according to NJ.com

Earlier this year the state’s transit system approved $1.6 billion to replace the bridge, which often became stuck with traffic, causing delays along Amtrak’s NorthEast cooridor and for local commuters. As many as 200,000 passengers a day cross the bridge. 

Federal funds are also going into the project. And Biden will use the stop to push his $1.9 trillion infrastructure bill and his budget package of social programs, which is in final negotiations between warring moderates and liberals in the Democratic Party. 

The president will also visit North Plainfield Elementary School District to tout a provision in his social spending package that would offer two years of free pre-K education.

In New Jersey, Biden will campaign for Gov. Phi Murphy ahead of next week's election

In New Jersey, Biden will campaign for Gov. Phi Murphy ahead of next week’s election

Biden will announce construction of a new Portal Bridge, which connections NJ Transit and Amtrak trains to and from New York

Biden will announce construction of a new Portal Bridge, which connections NJ Transit and Amtrak trains to and from New York

Biden had breakfast in Wilmington, Del., home on Sunday morning with moderate Senator Joe Manchin, a key player in passing his agenda, and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

The three discussed the provisions in the president’s social spending plan, including how to pay for it.

Manchin has pushed for a $1.5 trillion package – about half of the original $3.5 trillion price tag – but it could inch closer to $2 trillion as final details are ironed out.  

Manchin is agreeable to the White House’s approach to raise taxes on 1,000 billionaires and impose a 15 per cent minimum corporate tax rate to pay for the plan, the Associated Press reported.  

The breaking of bread did not break the impass to a deal however, leaving Biden with nothing to announce going into Monday’s New Jersey trip and Tuesday’s venture into Virigina to campaign for struggling Democratic gubenatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. 

Biden also wants the two pieces of legislation voted on before he leaves for Rome on Thursday where he’ll meet with Pope Francis on Friday and attend the G20 over the weekend.


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