“Let’s go make it happen – I love you Philadelphia!” Obama said. And the car horns at the Covid-safe rally went wild.
The former president famous for bringing a message of hope, tried to bring some of that feeling back after a blistering speech highlighting the dangers of Donald Trump. “I am asking you to remember what this country can be,” Obama said.
A Fox News poll released today shows Biden leading by 5 points in Pennsylvania. But in 2016, polls found Hillary Clinton was leading in some cases by double digits – but Trump won. Pollsters have adjusted their methods since, but the Biden campaign has been cautious – this rally in Pennsylvania is one of the ways they’re hoping to make sure that 5% lead in polls translates to a win post Election day.
Obama asks supporters to imagine Thanksgiving in a post-Trump America: “You’re not going to have to argue every day. It won’t be so exhausting,” he said.
Trump’s tweets, and his nods to QAnon, are not something we’d tolerated from family “except from a crazy uncle,” he said. “There are consequences to these actions. They embolden other people to be cruel and divisive and racist. And It frays the fabric of our society.”
The president’s actions “distract us” from what his administration is doing: dismantling environmental protections, gutting labor protections, and eroding the public education system.
“We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook,” Obama said. “They probably used it to – I prop up a wobbly table somewhere.”
Indeed, the Obama administration created a 70-page document titled, “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.” Developed in 2016, the “playbook” noted that “novel coronaviruses” were among pathogens to watch for, and shared lessons learned during the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
“Can you imagine if I had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for re-election?” Obama said, bringing up New York Times reporting that Donald Trump has a bank account in China. “You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would have called me Beijing Barry.”
The Times reporting also. found that Trump federal income taxes the year he won the presidency
Obama continued: “I think I might have paid more taxes” working at a Baskin Robbins when he was 15. “How is that possible?”
Obama makes his first rally appearance in Pennsylvania
“You guys delivered for me twice, and I am back here tonight to ask you to deliver the White House for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Obama said.
Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008 and 2012, but Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton in the state four years ago.
There are just 13 days “till the most important election of our lifetimes,” Obama said, urging voters to cast their ballots. ‘What we do these next thirteen days will matter for decades to come.”
Meanwhile, it seems Trump supporters in North Carolina were asked to avoid QAnon clothing.
The president refused to disavow QAnon during an NBC town hall last week. “I don’t know about QAnon,” he insisted.
“What I do hear about it, they are very strongly against pedophilia,” Trump said.
The president has previously described the rightwing conspiracy group as Donald Trump, it’s “people who love our country”. Supporters of the baseless, antisemetic theory believe that Trump is waging a secret war against a cabal of “deep state” characters, including Democrats and liberal celebrities, who are engaged in human trafficking.
Trump has retweeted a QAnon Twitter account that claimed, baselessly, that Joe Biden ordered a navy Seal team killed.
Joe Biden is leading by an average of 5 points in Pennsylvania – but Trump won the state by less than one point in 2016.
Here’s how the candidates are polling in swing states:
Obama stopped by a voter mobilization center in Philly to give volunteers a pep talk.
Through a bullhorn, Obama told volunteers: “We’re in the midst of a pandemic, and we’ve got to make sure that doing everything safely – which is the only reason I’m not hugging and squeezing this cutie pie,” he said, as a small child scooted toward him.
“For this community to see all of you making the effort, that’s the spirit that’s ultimately going to make a difference in this election in the next 12 days,” he said, thanking everyone for their work.
Today so far
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Barack Obama campaigned for Joe Biden in Philadelphia, as polls show Biden pulling ahead in the key swing state of Pennsylvania. The former president is currently participating in a discussion with black male community leaders, and he will hold a drive-in rally later tonight.
- Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee reportedly plan to boycott tomorrow’s vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court. The Democrats’ boycott will likely please their base, but it will not stop Barrett from being confirmed by the Republican-controlled panel. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell currently plans to hold a chamber-wide confirmation vote on Monday.
- The justice department has reached an $8 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug OxyContin, which has been partly blamed for the opioid epidemic. Despite the massive financial penalty, some lawmakers criticized the agreement, saying the federal government failed to hold company executives accountable.
- Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions, a move that is likely to attract criticism from the pope’s conservative opponents. In an interview for a new documentary, Francis said, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
- Rudy Giuliani will make an embarrassing appearance in the new “Borat” film. In Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie, the president’s personal lawyer is captured reaching into his pants and apparently touching his genitals while reclining on a bed in the presence of an actor posing as a TV journalist.
Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
At his Philadelphia campaign event, Barack Obama emphasized the need for young voters to make it to the polls to ensure a better future for the country.
“The answer for young people, when I talk to them, is not that voting makes everything perfect, it’s that it makes things better,” Obama said at the socially distanced event with local black male leaders in the city.
“I’ll confess, when I was 20 years old I wasn’t all that woke, because I had other stuff that I was interested in. We won’t go into details,” Obama joked.
The former president argued the best way to reach young black male voters was to “advertise it’s the cool thing and the right thing to vote.”