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Joe Biden used President Trump's denials about intelligence on reported Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan to question the president's mental ability during a campaign appearance on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "He talks about cognitive capability. He doesn't seem to be cognitively aware of what's going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues — and then forgets it — or he doesn't think it's necessary that he need to know it."

  • "So the idea that somehow he didn't know or isn't being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty if that's the case. And if he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that's a dereliction of duty," the former vice president added.
  • "I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive ability with the cognitive ability of the man I am running against."

Why it matters: Biden is trying to turn the tables on the president, who has taunted Biden about misspeaking on the campaign trail.

  • The attack comes as the Trump campaign plans to pivot its messaging to focus on the claim that Biden's mental faculties are diminished, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported.
  • A growing number of Trump's advisers say their best shot is to convince voters that Biden won't really run the show if elected.

The big picture: Biden took questions from reporters on a range of topics — from coronavirus to his future running mate.

  • On his running mate: He said the selection has moved into the "hard vet" phase and noted that "a number of women of color" were under consideration.
  • On whether he's been tested for coronavirus: He said he hasn't because he hasn't shown any symptoms, but will be "relatively soon."
  • On statues: Biden said "the government has a responsibility to protect" statues of George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
  • On his polling lead: "It’s much too early. We have a lot more work to do."

Go deeper

Poll shows Biden with 12-point lead in Pennsylvania

Supporters outside the Amtrak station in Latrobe, Pa., for Biden. Photo: Jeff Swensen/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Joe Biden now has a 12-point lead over President Trump in Pennsylvania, according to a Monmouth University poll out Tuesday, which also found that a majority of voters in the battleground state think Biden better understands their daily concerns.

Why it matters: It's more bad news for Trump, whose re-election efforts have hinged on winning Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes. Biden's current lead is a significant improvement from his four-point lead in last month's Monmouth poll.

Biden calls for unity at Gettysburg

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden on Tuesday traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, home to the Civil War battlefield where Abraham Lincoln once called for national unity, to ask Americans to come together to defeat racial injustice and the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Pennsylvania, a swing state that was crucial to President Trump's 2016 win, could deliver the election to Biden next month. A new Monmouth University poll out Tuesday shows Biden expanding his lead over Trump in the state.

Biden: I think if Trump still has COVID, "we shouldn't have a debate"

Joe Biden speaking in Hagerstown, Maryland, Oct. 6. Photo: Brendan Smualowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden said Tuesday when asked about facing President Trump in the second presidential debate on Oct. 15, "I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate."

Why it matters: Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus last week. Though he was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening and his physician said he's not experiencing symptoms, a person can be contagious up to 10 days after the symptoms resolve, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.