WASHINGTON - Democratic candidate Joe Biden said on Friday (Nov 6) night that he was confident he would win the presidential election with a clear majority, although he stopped short of declaring victory in a speech that came as the race remained undeclared three nights after Election Day.
Mr Biden said he was on track to win over 300 electoral votes, more than the 270 needed to claim the White House, and noted that he had overtaken President Donald Trump in battleground states Pennsylvania and Georgia and doubled his lead in Nevada in the past 24 hours.
"We don't have a final declaration of victory yet but the numbers tell a clear and convincing story," Mr Biden said in brief remarks from the Chase Centre in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. "We're going to win this race."
The former vice-president has also won the popular vote, with 74.8 million votes to Mr Trump's 70.5 million and counting, a record in American history.
"Record numbers of Americans... chose change over more of the same. They have given us a mandate for action on Covid and the economy and climate change and systemic racism," said Mr Biden.
"While waiting for the final results, I want people to know we're not waiting to get the work done," he said.
Mr Biden offered his condolences to family members and loved ones of the nearly 240,000 Americans who had lost their lives to Covid-19 so far, and promised to put his plan to control the virus into action "on Day One" of his presidency.
"We can't save any of the lives lost," he said. "But we can save a lot of lives in the months ahead."
He also vowed that his economic plan would put America on a path to a strong economic recovery.
Call for unity
Mr Biden, who ran during a particularly rancorous election on a message of uniting a fractured and divided America, called for Americans to come together and start the process of healing.
Mr Biden, who vowed to represent the whole nation as president, said: "Strong disagreements are inevitable in a democracy, and strong disagreements are healthy. They're a sign of vigorous debate, of deeply held views.
"But we have to remember: The purpose of our politics isn't total, unrelenting, unending warfare. No. The purpose of our politics, the work of the nation, isn't to fan the flames of conflict - but to solve problems."
He added: "We may be opponents - but we are not enemies."
Throughout his speech, Mr Biden mentioned Mr Trump by name just once.
Mr Trump spent Friday railing on Twitter against his dwindling lead, making baseless claims that votes counted after Election Day were illegal and that instances of voter fraud were rampant. The Trump campaign has mounted legal challenges to slow or stop vote counting in key battleground states.
Before Mr Biden gave his speech, Mr Trump tweeted: "Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!"
He said in a later tweet: "I had such a big lead in all of these states late into election night, only to see the leads miraculously disappear as the days went by. Perhaps these leads will return as our legal proceedings move forward!"
By the time Mr Biden gave his speech, Americans - and millions around the world - had spent more than 72 hours watching and waiting for votes being tallied, a process that is taking longer this election due to the surge in mail-in ballots because of the pandemic.
"I know watching these vote tallies on TV move very slow... can be numbing," said Mr Biden with a slight chuckle.
"But never forget: the tallies aren't just numbers - they represent votes and voters. Men and women who exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard," he added.
Mr Biden urged people to patiently wait for every vote to be counted, saying it was part of the process of democracy.
"We are proving again what we have proved for 244 years in this country. Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don't care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen," he said.
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