Fired up Barack Obama blitzes the campaign trail in final stretch before midterms

Former president seeks to reverse last-minute polling drops for Democrats in key states

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 30 October 2022 17:04 GMT
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Former President Barack Obama, still one of the Democrats’ most effective campaigners, hit the ground running this past week as he completed a whirlwind of appearances to boost his allies in key battleground states.

It’s a last-minute push aimed at reversing a sudden downward trend in the polls for a number of important candidates for Democrats including Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia and John Fetterman, the Senate seat-seeking lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

The former president was in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and has more stops ahead in Pennsylvania and Nevada. And at every stop, he recaptured the best of his campaign trail self in fired-up speeches to cheering crowds and withering diatribes against Republican opponents.

In Michigan, a grinning Mr Obama’s speech was punctuated by an enthusiastic marching band and its drumline in particular as he mocked flagging GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon for her focus on conspiracy theories about the 2020 election while incumbent Gov Gretchen Whitmer enjoys a comfortable lead, buoyed by her approval ratings in the state.

And in Wisconsin, the Barack Obama that progressives likely wish would emerge more often gave a emphatic defence of Social Security and the aging American workers who earned those benefits, while ripping apart incumbent Senator Ron Johnson.

“If he understands giving tax breaks for private planes more than he understands making sure that seniors who’ve worked all their lives are able to retire with dignity with respect, he’s not the person whose thinking about you and knows you and sees you, and he should not be your senator from Wisconsin,” roared the former president in a Bernie Sanders-esque condemnation of the GOP that left the crowd cheering and chanting.

Speaking of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator and two-time presidential candidate embarked on his own effort to help Democrats last week and was in the western US this week for a massive rally with Karen Bass, the progressive congresswoman seeking office as Los Angeles’s next mayor.

Mr Sanders is in the midst of his own blitz of key states, and is stopping in Florida, Wisconsin, Oregon, Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan before the elections wrap up in two weeks.

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