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Biden makes rare appearance with Democrat for Fetterman’s Senate race against Oz

(PITTSBURGH, Penn.) — With the clock ticking toward next month’s midterm elections, President Joe Biden on Thursday traveled to battleground Pennsylvania to tout his infrastructure law and stump for Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman.

Biden’s first stop was in Pittsburgh to visit Fern Hollow Bridge — which collapsed earlier this year when Biden was visiting the state. Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, joined him there.

“You all told me about the emergency workers and pull the survivors to safety,” Biden said at the bridge site. “There were heroes that day, and a complete catastrophe was avoided. But it never should have come to this.”

Biden gave remarks on the progress in the rebuilding of the bridge, which he said will now be done in a single year thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — one of the major legislative victories his administration’s been highlighting ahead of the Nov. 8 midterms.

Later Thursday, Biden is going to Philadelphia for a fundraiser in support of Fetterman, who’s running against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Stepping off Air Force One in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Biden shook hands with Fetterman on the tarmac, telling him: “You’re gonna win.”

The event is a somewhat rare appearance for Biden with a Democratic candidate this cycle. Some other hopefuls in the party have kept their distance from the president as he faces low approval ratings, and a handful have gone so far as to say Biden shouldn’t run for office again in 2024.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released last month found Biden’s approval rating underwater: 39% of Americans approved of his job performance while 53% disapproved.

Fetterman, when asked earlier this month if Biden should run again, said that should be a “decision made by Joe Biden.”

“It’s not a matter of anyone’s choice other than his, and I respect any choice he decides,” Fetterman said on the podcast “On with Kara Swisher.” Fetterman added that he believes Biden would beat Donald Trump in a rematch, if both were to seek office again.

ABC News White House Correspondent MaryAlice Parks questioned Biden about his appearances on the campaign trail as he departed the White House on Thursday morning.

“Mr. President, John Fetterman is gonna appear with you today in Pennsylvania … but there haven’t been that many candidates campaigning with you,” Parks said.

“That’s not true. There have been 15, count, kid, count.” Biden interrupted.

“OK, and are there gonna be even more?” Parks pressed further.

“Yeah,” Biden replied.

The Pennsylvania Senate race between Fetterman and Oz is one that could determine which party controls the chamber next year, and Democrats see the contest as one of their best chances to pick up a seat and preserve or expand their bare majority. (Incumbent Republican Pat Toomey is retiring.)

The latest FiveThirtyEight forecast shows Democrats slightly favored to keep control of the Senate, while Republicans are favored to win back control of the House.

FiveThirtyEight’s polling average for the Pennsylvania Senate race shows Fetterman leading by 5%, though his lead has tightened over the past several weeks.

ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Molly Nagle contributed to this report.

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