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Democrat in one of nation’s most competitive races has unconventional campaign strategy: embrace Biden

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat who represents Ohio’s 9th Congressional District in the House, was on standby to welcome President Biden to Ohio on Wednesday as he arrived in the state to tout a federal initiative to protect pensions by preventing cuts of benefits for millions of workers and retirees.

The initiative, created under the president’s American Rescue Plan that passed through Congress last year, will allow roughly two to three million workers and retirees who faced pension cuts because of investment losses to obtain the benefits they were set to receive in their retirement.

Stepping off of Air Force One at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to mark his sixth visit to the state as president, Biden, accompanied at the event by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, embraced Kaptur and gave her a kiss on the hand.

In addition to Kaptur, Biden was greeted by other prominent Democrats in the state, including Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb.

SOME TOP DEMOCRATS KEEP THEIR DISTANCE AS BIDEN STOPS IN OHIO ON WEDNESDAY

Speaking shortly before Biden took the stage at a Cleveland high school, Kaptur said the pension initiative in the American Rescue Plan, which many consider to be a leading cause of the 40-year-high inflation rate, was a “promise” to voters and a part of the “American dream” because it “promises a retirement that is stable and secure.”

“I hope he’s listening in the back room,” Kaptur said. “President Biden, welcome back to Ohio. Welcome back!”

In regard to pension bills that were introduced in the House and Senate in 2015 and 2017, Kaptur claimed that former President Trump, who carried the Buckeye State in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, “didn’t do anything, did absolutely nothing” to protect pensions. “I’m offended when he steps foot in this state,” Kaptur said of Trump.

FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP ENDORSES OHIO’S JR MAJEWSKI FOR CONGRESS

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, during a House Appropriations Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on the department's FY2019 budget on March 15, 2018.

Kaptur, who cheered as Biden made his way to the stage, has made a career out of serving in Congress after taking office in 1983. Now the longest-serving woman in Congress, Kaptur defeated her competition in the Democratic primary election in May and aims to retain her seat in the House as she prepares to face off against Republican nominee J.R. Majewski, a Trump-endorsed candidate, in the state’s November general election.

“God love you, Marcy,” Biden said after taking the stage. “You are the best. She does it all — unions and foreign policy.”

Kaptur’s warmth for Biden comes as several Democrats running in races across the country, even in Ohio, have moved to distance themselves from him. Noticeably absent from Wednesday’s event in Ohio were Democratic Senate nominee Tim Ryan and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nan Whaley. Ryan and Whaley told Fox News Digital that they had scheduling conflicts. 

President Biden speaks about the economy and the final rule implementing the American Rescue Plans Special Financial Assistance program, protecting multiemployer pension plans, at Max S. Hayes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, July 6, 2022.

Speaking to Fox News Digital last month, Kaptur issued exuberant praise for Biden, insisting that she would support him should he decide to run for reelection in 2024 as she claimed Americans who are in their 80s and 90s are “doing more today than anyone could ever have imagined” because of his policies.

“A lot can happen in two years, but if President Biden is the nominee I will support him,” she said. “He is the individual who passed a huge infrastructure bill that helped a whole lot people in my part of the country. Most presidents are unable to accomplish something like that in two terms. So if and when he says he has decided to run for reelection, and it looks like he will be, I’ll vote for him. People in their 80s and 90s are doing more today than anyone could ever have imagined, and we as a country need to deal with this new paradigm. Medicare and Medicaid have worked.”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this article.

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