COLLEGE PARK, GA – Former President Barack Obama repeatedly took aim at Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia who is challenging Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in a crucial Senate battleground.
The former president, returning to the campaign trail on behalf of his fellow Democrats with just a week and a half to go until Election Day, criticized Walker, the former college and professional football star and first-time candidate, as ” famous for wanting to be a politician.”
Obama, who remains the most popular person in the Democratic Party nearly six years after he left the White House, is trying to perform some last-minute political magic as Democrats desperately try to hang on on their razor-thin congressional majorities in the mid-term elections. The former president is leading rallies in five states hosting key Senate and gubernatorial races.
“I’m here to ask you to vote,” the former president told about 7,000 people packed into an arena steps away from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
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And while pointing out the almost 15,000 people who have already cast their ballots early in the vote – a mid-term record in Georgia – Obama emphasized that “you don’t have to wait until November 8 to cast your vote. You can vote on this when.”
The former president was preceded at the podium by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, the voting rights campaigner who is challenging GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in a rematch of their contest in 2018. Polls indicate the conservative governor with a single-digit lead over Abrams.
And Obama was introduced to the stage by Warnock, the pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. The latest polls suggest it is a margin of error race between Warnock and Walker.
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The former president noted that “Herschel Walker is a heck of a football player .. one of the greatest runners of all time.”
“Does that make him the best person to represent you in the United States Senate?” Obama asked the crowd, which responded with a resounding “no.”
The former president accused “in the case of the Reverend’s opponent. Warnock, there is very little evidence that he took any interest, bothered to learn anything about, or displayed any kind of knowledge towards public service, or voluntary work, or helping people in any way. At least we don’t really know about it. And that makes you doubt.”
And pointing to Walker and his close friend, former President Donald Trump – who was best known as a reality TV celebrity and real estate mogul before turning to politics and succeeding Obama in the White House, Obama argued that “it seems for me it’s famous for who wants to be a politician, and we’ve seen how that goes.”
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Obama, pushing back against repeated GOP campaign trail attacks in recent months accusing Democrats of being silent on crime, asked the audience “who will fight to keep you and your family safe?”
He said Warnock was someone who “worked with President Biden to pass the first major gun safety legislation in almost 30 years,” and slammed Walker as “someone who carries a fake badge and says he’s in law enforcement law.”
Walker has been criticized for exaggerating his law enforcement credentials and was called out in his one-on-one debate with Warnock two weeks ago for flashing an honorary police badge when debate rules prohibited any props.
House before Obama’s appearance in Georgia, Walker jabbed at the former president.
At a campaign rally earlier on Friday, Walker pointed to Warnock and said “he’s bringing Obama down. Obama doesn’t even live here. So why is he bringing him down here to do something to him. Obama pays no taxes here.”
“Get Obama out of here unless he wants to come here and he can run for Senate too. We’ll beat him too,” boasted Walker.
Following his stop in Georgia, Obama is campaigning in the Midwestern swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday. The former two-term president heads to the purple state of Nevada on Tuesday, and the crucial northeastern battleground of Pennsylvania on November. on, and four are holding high-profile gubernatorial contests.
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With Democrats facing a historic headwind – the party that traditionally wins the White House faces major setbacks in the upcoming midterm elections – and a tough political climate fueled by record inflation, rising crime and border crisis and which has been exacerbated by President Biden’s rebounding but submerged approval ratings. , Obama’s mission is to try to energize the party’s base.