COLLEGE PARK, GA – Former President Barack Obama repeatedly took aim at Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a key Senate showdown.
The former president, who returned to the campaign trail on behalf of his fellow Democrats with just a week and a half to go until Election Day, blasted Walker, a former college and professional football star and front-runner, as “a celebrity who wants to be a politician.”
Obama, still the most popular figure in the Democratic Party nearly six years after leaving the White House, is trying to pull off a last-minute political magic as Democrats desperately try to hang on to their razor-thin congressional majorities in the midterm elections. The former president is the head of rallies in five states holding key Senate and gubernatorial races.
“I’m here to ask you to vote,” the former president told an estimated 7,000 people packed into a stadium steps from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
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And pointing to the nearly 15,000 people who have already voted in early voting — a Georgia midterm record — Obama emphasized “you don’t have to wait until Nov. 8 to vote. You can vote now .”
The former president was on the podium for Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, the voting rights champion who is challenging GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in a runoff in their 2018 runoff. Polls show the conservative governor has an upper single-digit lead over Abrams.
And Obama was introduced to the stage by Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. preached once. The latest polls point to a margin of error race between Warnock and Walker.
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The former president noted that “Herschel Walker was a hell of a football player…one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.”
“Does that make him the best person to represent you in the United States Senate?” Obama asked the crowd, who responded with an emphatic “no.”
The former president charged that “in the case of Reverend Warnock’s opponent, there is very little evidence that he has shown interest, bothered to learn anything about, or shown any information in the interest of public service or volunteering, or helping people in any way.” At least we don’t know about it. And that makes you suspect.”
And pointing to both Walker and his close friend former President Donald Trump – who was best known as a TV personality and real estate mogul before he turned to politics and succeeded Obama in the White House – Obama claimed that “I think he who wants to be a politician and we’ve seen how that goes.”
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Obama, who has pushed back against repeated attacks by the GOP campaign in recent months accusing Democrats of being soft on crime, asked the audience “who will fight to keep you and your family safe?”
He described Warnock as someone “who worked with President Biden to pass the first major gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years,” and slammed Walker as “someone who carries around a fake badge and claims to be in law enforcement.”
Walker has been criticized for over-inflating his law enforcement credentials and was called out in his one-off debate with Warnock two weeks ago for flashing a badge of honor when the debate rules prohibited any props.
House before Obama appeared in Georgia, Walker hit out at the former president.
At a campaign rally earlier Friday, Walker pointed to Warnock, saying “he’s bringing Obama down.” Obama doesn’t even live here. So why is he bringing him here to do something for him. Obama pays no taxes here.”
“Get Obama out of here unless he wants to come here and he can also run for the Senate.” I would beat him too,” boasted Walker.
After his stop in Georgia, Obama will campaign in the midwestern 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 state of Pennsylvania on Nov. 5. Four of the states are holding Senate elections that will likely determine which party will control the majority of Congress. forward, and four hold high-profile gubernatorial contests.
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With Democrats facing historic headwinds — the party that wins the White House traditionally faces major setbacks in the ensuing midterm elections — and a rough political climate fueled by record inflation, rising crime and a border crisis and highlighted by President Biden’s takeover of is still underwater acceptance. , Obama’s role is to try to mobilize the base of the party.