Biden, sliding in the polls, pivoted back to attacking Trump by name in California.

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President Biden campaigns for Governor Gavin Newsom of California, who is facing a recall election. The president compared Mr Newsom’s main rival to former President Donald J. Trump clone.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/

President Biden on Monday adopted the political strategy of Governor Gavin Newsom in this week’s recall election during a visit to California – tying the leading Republican contender, right-wing talk radio host Larry Elder to Donald Trump.

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“You all know last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump,” Biden said at a rally in Long Beach, waving his blue blazer and tieless dress shirt to underline the sign of the cross. “Well, the dominant Republican running for governor this year is the closest thing to a Trump clone I’ve ever seen in your state.”

Earlier in Mr Biden’s tenure, when his approval ratings were high, he humorously referred to him as a “former man”, to avoid muttering the name of his predecessor. But now, after declining public acceptance following the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, the president has returned to the anti-Trump message that helped him get elected in 2020.

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It’s a message that Democratic congressional candidates are expected to hammer in the 2022 midterm — that they, for all their flaws, are the only ones who stand between the return of Trump and his acolytes.

“He is a clone of Donald Trump,” Mr Biden said of Mr Elder. “Can you imagine that he is the governor of this state? You can’t let that happen.”

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It didn’t take long for Mr. Trump to chime in; He issued a statement Tuesday criticizing Mr Newsom’s water management policies and returning to a familiar theme: The election is rigged.

At the same time, however, he predicted Newsom’s victory.

“What people don’t realize is that despite California being rigged (I call it the ‘swarming ballot’), I got 1.5 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016,” Trump said. “However, the place is so harsh that a man who can’t even bring water to his state, which I’ve got federal approval to do (that’s the hard part), will probably win.”

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