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Cruz's 2024 predictions to ABC, Biden touts jobs and other campaign trail takeaways

Road to '24 (ABC News Photo Illustration / Alex Gilbeaux)
Road to '24 (ABC News Photo Illustration / Alex Gilbeaux)

Cruz predicts a two-man GOP race, an August jobs report offers Biden a fresh talking point, and two 2024 candidates prepare to meet in Florida.

Here are some of Friday's takeaways from the campaign trail.

PHOTO: Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Turning Point Action conference, July 16, 2023, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Turning Point Action conference, July 16, 2023, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Ted Cruz to ABC News: The presidential primary is 'basically a two-man race' between Trump and DeSantis

In a phone interview with ABC News, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who is seeking reelection in Texas next year, said he watched the "lively debate" among GOP presidential hopefuls but thinks it will come down to two competitors, both of whom he calls friends: former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"I don't know what's gonna happen in the presidential race. There is a vigorous primary on the Republican side. I am staying out of it. I am good friends with Donald Trump. I'm good friends with Ron DeSantis. I think it is basically a two-man race. Whoever wins the nomination I expect to support enthusiastically," Cruz remarked on Thursday.

When asked his thoughts on Vivek Ramaswamy's choice to include him on his list of potential Supreme Court picks, he called the gesture "flattering," but said his priority remains in policymaking for Texans.

"I could have a greater impact for 30 million Texans remaining in the Senate and leading the fight against disastrous policies that are hurting Texans," Cruz said.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about the August jobs report in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 1, 2023, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about the August jobs report in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 1, 2023, in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Biden touts August jobs report

President Joe Biden on Friday trumpeted new August jobs numbers that showed the economy added 187,000 jobs last month (though he inaccurately stated it was 190,000 in his remarks).

"As we head into Labor Day, we ought to take a step back and take note of the fact that America's now in the strongest job creating periods in our history, the history of our country. It wasn't that long ago that America was losing jobs. In fact, my predecessor was one of only two presidents in history who entered his presidency, and left with fewer jobs than when he entered. Look, look at where we are now," Biden said in the Rose Garden.

Biden also misstated another data point: He said that unemployment has been below 14% for the last 19 months. While not technically incorrect, it's actually been below 4%.

Throughout, Biden tried to draw a contrast with the work of his administration and his predecessors -- notably not mentioning Trump by name despite multiple references to him as he made his "Bidenomics" pitch.

"It's about investing in America and investing in Americans. It's working. Key pillar of Bidenomics is empowering and educating workers who are the backbone of this country," Biden said of his economic plan.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Family Leadership Summit, July 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Family Leadership Summit, July 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP, FILE)

DeSantis won't meet with Biden as he tours hurricane damage

Gov. Ron DeSantis' press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, told ABC News in a statement Friday that the governor would not be meeting with Biden when he travels to Florida on Saturday to survey the damage done to the state by Hurricane Idalia.

Redfern cited that the president's security detail would disrupt the recovery efforts in the state as the reason DeSantis would not meet Biden.

"We don't have any plans for the Governor to meet with the President tomorrow," Redfern said to ABC News in a statement. "In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts."

The White House said it had coordinated with local, state and federal officials to ensure the president’s visit would not be disruptive.

"Their visit to Florida has been planned in close coordination with FEMA as well as state and local leaders to ensure there is no impact on response operations," White House spokesperson Emilie Simons said of the president and first lady's trip in a statement to ABC News.

Simons said the first couple, "look forward to meeting members of the community impacted by Hurricane Idalia and surveying impacts of the storm."

Earlier Friday, Biden told reporters that he was planning on meeting with DeSantis on Saturday.

The two set aside politics last year when Biden traveled to Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Ian -- but that was before DeSantis announced his 2024 campaign.

McCarthy heads to Maui

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will travel to Maui, Hawaii on Saturday to see the disaster areas impacted by the fires. He will be joined by a congressional bipartisan delegation.

"I'm headed to Hawaii to assess the damage, response, and recovery efforts on the ground from the fire in Maui. It's clear we need answers into how this tragic fire occurred and what could have been done to prevent it from happening," he tweeted.

The speaker will hold a press conference while in Hawaii on Saturday, during which he is almost certain to criticize the federal response.

GOP presidential candidates have dinged Biden for his response to the fires.

"You have these horrible fires in Hawaii. ... And Biden, what is he doing? He ends up on the beach and then he's asked about it and he says, 'Oh, no comment,'" DeSantis said in Georgia last month.

In Delaware, when a reporter asked Biden whether he would comment on the death toll in Maui, he replied, "No, no comment."

Labor Day weekend whereabouts

VIvek Ramaswamy will traverse the early primary state of New Hampshire throughout the holiday weekend, including making a speech at the Hopkinton Fair and appearing at town hall forums in Concord and Laconia, among other stops.

Former Vice President Mike Pence will also spend time in New Hampshire, attending the Labor Day parade in Milford, the Granite State Baptist Church Smokeoff in Concord and other events.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, Steve Laffey will join both Ramaswamy and Pence at the GOP Annual Labor Day Picnic in Salem on Monday.

Cruz's 2024 predictions to ABC, Biden touts jobs and other campaign trail takeaways originally appeared on abcnews.go.com