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Presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke share talking points at DNC fundraiser in Atlanta

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Former VP Joe Biden is leading the pack of 2020 Dems by a wide margin. What does the former VP think of the field of Democrats.?
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ATLANTA — Former vice president Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke, both vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, discussed plans to fight voter suppression and spoke in support of abortion from the same stage on Thursday night.

The candidates appeared at the Democratic National Committee’s I Will Vote Gala fundraiser that included speeches from several influential Democrats from Georgia —including Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Rep. Lucy McBath. 

Many spoke to the importance of equal voting rights and registering as many voters as possible to help Democrats win key races across the country.

The event was the culmination of appearances by Democratic presidential hopefuls in Atlanta on Thursday. Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg spoke earlier at the DNC’s African American Leadership Council Summit.

Biden used the fundraiser to announce he would no longer support the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding law that blocks federal funding for abortion in most cases.  Biden’s opponents, including O’Rourke and Bill de Blasio, had criticized him for previously supporting the law. 

“Women’s rights and women’s health are under assault,” Biden said on Thursday. “It’s clear to me that these folks are going to stop at nothing to get rid of Roe (v. Wade). And it’s clear to me that we need to be just as strong to defend it.”

Biden also said he would fight for the protection of voting rights, equal access to education for black and poor children, and work to end environmental racism.

O’Rourke reiterated his support for abortion: “Every woman makes her own decision about her own body.”

An interactive guide: Who is running for president in 2020?

Also Thursday, O’Rourke announced a proposal to register 50 million new voters, prohibit Secretary of State offices from purging voter rolls, make Election Day a national holiday and provide paper receipts to voters to confirm that their vote was counted. 

“If we repair our democracy at this moment of maximum threat and peril for that very democracy … then we will fully honor the service and sacrifice of those that preceded us,” O’Rourke said. 

Georgia was the center of controversy last year, when Abrams, who lost her bid for governor, accused state officials of suppressing minority voters before and during the election.

Abrams on Thursday called on other Democrats to join her in the fight for fair elections

“We know voting is the most sacred responsibility we can hold,” Abrams said. “We cannot have our liberty … if we do not control the level of powers who make it real.”

The DNC’s I Will Vote program was launched last year with a goal of registering and educating voters. 

Angela McNair traveled from Erie, Pennsylvania, to attend the fundraiser for the second year. She said she enjoys hearing Democrats address the issues that affect many communities across the country, including voter suppression and racism. 

“The more we don’t think about it, the more other people have the opportunity to just step in and do what they want with us,” McNair said. “Because ignorance is bliss.”

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