WP Obama delivers blazing critique of Trump in 2020 campaign trail debut

October 22, 2020
David Nakamura  

Speaking at a drive-in rally for Joe Biden in South Philadelphia, Obama attacked Trump on a wide range of issues — including his personal tax payments, embrace of conspiracy theories, handling of the economy and efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act — as he implored Democrats to avoid complacency and turn out at the polls.

“We’ve got to turn out like never before. We cannot leave any doubt in this election,” Obama said, warning that Trump has suggested he won’t accept the results if he loses.

Though polls have showed Biden holding a steady lead in Pennsylvania, Obama cautioned: “I don’t care about the polls. There were a bunch of polls last time, and it didn’t work out. . . . Not this time. Not this election.”

With less than two weeks left before Election Day, Obama’s appearance in a state Trump won in 2016 highlighted the importance of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, which both campaigns have viewed as a must-win on a path to the White House. A day earlier, Trump delivered remarks at a rally in Erie, Pa., in one of three western counties that had voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but backed Trump four years ago.

A little more than an hour after Obama spoke, Trump briefly went after his predecessor during a campaign rally in North Carolina, claiming that it was “good news” that Obama is out on the campaign trail.

“It’s good. There was nobody that campaigned harder for crooked Hillary Clinton than Obama, right?” Trump said. “He was all over the place. . . . I think the only one more unhappy than crooked Hillary that night was Barack Hussein Obama.”

Obama has been an important surrogate for Biden, delivering a prime-time endorsement address during the Democratic National Convention in August, headlining virtual fundraisers and rallying supporters in get-out-the-vote video messages and other media appearances. In recent days, he joined vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris and the actor Michael B. Jordan in an online fundraiser.

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