Obama to visit battleground states in final weeks of campaign

Former president has so far only spoken at virtual events for Democratic nominee Joe Biden

James Crump,Louise Hall
Wednesday 14 October 2020 20:09
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Former President Barack Obama will reportedly start campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in crucial battleground states next week.

Mr Obama will make solo appearances in Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin and other crucial battleground states over the next two weeks to encourage residents to vote for Mr Biden, according to CNN.

The events will all be socially distanced, but designed to attract local media attention, as the former president will encourage residents to vote early to avoid long queues on election day.

Former US first lady Michelle Obama is not planning on making any in-person appearances in the run up to the election, while the Democratic nominee and Mr Obama are unlikely to appear together until the last few days of the campaign.

The former president previously joined Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris for a pair of virtual fundraisers, but has yet to travel to any traditional battleground states to campaign for the Democratic nominee.

The absence comes in part due to Mr Biden’s own limited face to face campaign style in the name of safety amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday before travelling to Florida, Mr Biden teased that Mr Obama would soon hit the campaign trail.

“He’s doing enough for our campaign, he’ll be out on the trail, and he’s doing well,” Mr Biden said in New Castle, Delaware.

Mr Obama has continually projected messages of voter encouragement in the run up to the election, having advised Americans to make a plan to vote amid the pandemic.

On Tuesday he appeared in a video for the Democratic National Committee to tell Americans that “when it comes to voting this year having a plan has never been more important.”

The Biden campaign believes that the former president can help the Democratic Party appeal to younger voters, black men and Latino communities, according to CNN.

He appealed to younger voters in a clip earlier in September for ATTN urging young people not to fall victim to those trying to make them “cynical” of the election process and “trying to get you to believe that your vote doesn't matter.”

“Do not let them do that,” he said in the video. “Our democracy is a precious thing, and it's up to all of us to protect it."

In August, Mr Obama delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention condemning Donald Trump's presidency and praising the “character and experience” of his former vice president.

He said: “For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better president – and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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