Former President Barack Obama stepped back into the spotlight on Wednesday when he joined the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign to speak on behalf of his former vice president.
Obama’s Fiery Speech: Obama took to the stage at a rally in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening to deliver a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump while simultaneously throwing his support behind the Biden and Harris campaign. The speech marked the first time that Obama has stumped for Biden during this heated election. As has been a hallmark of the Biden and Harris campaign events, the setting was a drive-in rally set in a sea of waving flags and honking car horns.Read More »
Obama also took the time in his speech to laud Biden’s choice of a running mate in Harris. Presumably knowing that it would get under his skin, Obama threw in plenty of jokes that mocked the president. Most notably, Obama mocked the president’s town hall last Thursday that finished well behind Biden’s competing event in the television ratings.
Busy Day in the City of Brotherly Love: In addition to the much-anticipated address at the Lincoln Financial Field, Obama hosted a round table meeting with voters at North Philadelphia’s Hank Gathers Youth Access Center earlier in the day. At this round table, the former president encouraged the attendees to get out and vote. Black men made up the majority of the attendees of this meeting. Obama used his relationship with this demographic to impart his advice that this election cannot be taken for granted, stating that it would change the direction of the nation and immediately improve their individual lives.
Why Philadelphia? It is not a coincidence that Obama delivered his first campaign speech for Biden in Philadelphia. Although Obama won the Keystone State during both of his presidential runs, Trump was able to capture the state during the 2016 election. With 20 electoral votes up for grabs, Pennsylvania will be a huge win for either candidate.
Recent polling shows Biden pulling away in the state. However, many polls are still within the margin of error, making it important for the Biden campaign to secure the state in the homestretch of the election. President Trump paid a visit to the state on Tuesday, speaking at a rally in Erie.
Back in the Game: The appearance by Obama was significant due to the fact that he has largely remained on the sidelines after leaving office a little less than four years ago. While Obama was a key speaker at the August Democratic National Convention (DNC), he was generally silent during the primary season.
It has been a tradition for former presidents to remain cordial toward the person who took over the Oval Office. However, after years of staying quiet on most matters related to the national political picture, Obama has found his voice and is not shy about being critical of the man who replaced him.
The Power of Obama: The Biden campaign is wise to lean on Obama during these crucial last days of the campaign. Arguably still the most powerful voice in the Democratic Party, the help of Obama is crucial in helping to rouse support with Black men, Latinos, and younger voters. At this stage in the election, the goal is not to change anyone’s mind. The only thing left to do now is to get out the vote. If Democrats mobilize and get to the polls, Biden will be nearly impossible to beat.
Knowing this truth, Obama closed out his speech with an impassioned plea to voters to do their part. Not only did he call on individual voters to cast their ballots, but he also implored them to make a plan and encourage others to do the same. The Biden campaign will keep Obama busy over the next 12 days as he continues to speak in key battleground states as the election draws to its climactic finish.
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