Bill Clinton understood the anguish of the American people. Barack Obama senses their trepidation.
Inflation, crime, and the economy are all causing concern. Rather than avoiding the reality, Obama tells voters that he understands.
“It’s both frustrating and frightening.” I understand. “I agree with Joe,” he said at a rally in Philadelphia on Saturday. “The question is, who will do something about it?”
Obama has spent the final days of the midterm campaign telling voters in battleground states that the despair they’re feeling about a variety of issues isn’t President Joe Biden’s fault, and it won’t be alleviated by electing more Republicans in Pennsylvania or anywhere else.
Democrats are using Obama’s celebrity and unique ability to tap into Americans’ emotions to boost turnout for their candidates.
Support from nostalgic left-wing voters, particularly Black voters and young people, could be decisive in states like Pennsylvania, where Obama and Biden reunited to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Senate candidate John Fetterman. Shapiro is the favorite to defeat Republican state senator Doug Mastriano.
Obama used humor to warn about the consequences for the country if too few Democrats vote, allowing Republicans to sweep the midterm elections.
“I’m sure there are some students here, right?” Obama told the Temple crowd. “You know your roommate who is a well-meaning, nice person, but they’re a little slack?”
“They’re the people who will leave things in your little mini fridge for far too long because they forgot about it. They occasionally miss class in the morning and afternoon. That person may say they’re voting, but they may not have voted yet “To laughter, the former president said.
On Saturday, Obama mocked Mastriano for posing in a Confederate uniform for an Army War College faculty photo.
Fetterman, who spoke just before Obama, praised the former president’s oratory abilities while also mentioning his own May stroke, which he claims caused auditory processing issues.
Fetterman’s performance in the Senate race’s sole debate last month fueled concerns about his recovery. He is neck and neck with his Republican opponent, celebrity doctor and former TV star Mehmet Oz.
Some Democratic voters may be concerned about Fetterman’s health, but they said on Saturday that electing him outweighed the alternative.
Many of the 7,500 people who attended the rally, according to Democratic officials, had already voted or had committed to voting for Fetterman. They claimed they were primarily there to see the former president.
Wistfulness for Obama persists nearly six years after his departure from the White House. His charisma, intelligence, and relatively scandal-free presidency, according to supporters, continue to resonate with disaffected voters.
According to Gallup, Obama finished his eight-year presidency with a 59% approval rating, an enviable position compared to Donald Trump’s 34% after one term.
But it wasn’t always so easy for Obama, who, like Biden now, had a 45% approval rating during his first midterm election. Democrats were “shellacked,” according to Obama at the time. In 2010, they lost six Senate seats and 63 House seats.
Crushing defeats for Democratic congressional candidates in 2014 spelled the end of Obama’s legislative agenda on immigration reform, gun control, and climate change initiatives.
The speech marked the end of Obama’s six-state swing, which included stops in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona.
Obama campaigned for Democrats in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on Saturday, wrapping up his remarks in the early evening just as Trump arrived in Latrobe, Pa., to campaign for Oz and Mastriano.
Biden had served as the opening act, speaking before Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, and Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, with Obama speaking last.
As voters screamed loudly over Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars,” the two presidents arrived together, waving and patting each other on the back. The pair eventually grasped hands with the Democratic candidates and each other, lifting them high in the air in a show of unity.