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(NewsNation) — Hours before President Joe Biden’s planned prime-time speech about what he called a “battle for the soul of the nation,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delivered a message of his own seeking to keep Americans’ focus on record-high inflation and rising crime ahead of the midterm elections.

Speaking at a machine factory in Scranton, Pennsylvania, McCarthy took aim at Biden’s and Democrats’ legislative agenda, which he said has resulted in “pain and suffering at home” and “humiliation abroad.”

“In the past two years, Joe Biden has launched an assault on the soul of America, on its people, on its laws, on its most sacred values,” McCarthy said. “He has launched an assault on our democracy. His policies have severely wounded America’s soul.”

Biden, during his speech in Philadelphia, will try to draw a contrast between Republicans and Democrats, framing his party as defending fundamental American democracy and freedoms, while his opponents threaten that very democracy.

With the primary election season now largely over, Democrats and Republicans will spend the next two months delivering the dual messages to voters in a fight for control of Congress. While Republicans maintained a healthy lead in polling averages earlier this year, Democrats have gained ground since June when the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Early indications show that ruling has been a factor in increased enthusiasm among Democratic voters. But Republicans are hoping high prices at the gas pump and grocery stores and rising crime in cities across America will be the more decisive issue for voters in November.

“If you can find what you need at the store, it costs more — a lot more,” McCarthy said. “The historic spending binge by Joe Biden and his Democrat Congress has brought the greatest inflation crisis to this nation in generations.”

McCarthy also criticized Biden should apologize for likening the “MAGA philosophy” to “semi-fascism” at a Democratic fundraiser last week.

“President Biden has chosen to divide, demean and disparage his fellow Americans. That is not leadership,” McCarthy said. “When the president speaks tonight at Independence Hall, the first lines out of his mouth should be to apologize for slandering tens of millions of Americans as fascists.”

If Republicans take control of the House in November, McCarthy is in line to become Speaker of the House. He framed the election as a “choice between two philosophies”

“Republicans have a plan for a new direction that will get our country back on track,” he said. “We will work day and night, hour after hour, for you, the people.”