WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama delivered a rousing campaign speech on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, his first full-fledged drive-in rally event for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and fellow runner Sen. Kamala Harris.
"I ask you to remember what this country can be. What it is like when we treat one another with respect and dignity. What is it like when our elected officials actually behave responsibly," Obama said during a passionate 30- minute speech at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I ask you to believe in Joe's ability and Kamala's ability to bring this country out of these dark times and help us rebuild it better," he said.
Obama didn't strike and attacked his successor, President Donald Trump, at the beginning of his speech on recent reports that the president had a previously unreported bank account in China.
"We know he continues to do business with China because he has a secret Chinese bank account! How is that possible?" Obama said in disbelief. "Can you imagine that I had a secret Chinese bank account when I ran for re-election?"
The line was especially relevant given the Trump campaign's month-long efforts to portray Biden as overly sympathetic to China and his recent efforts to label Biden as financially entangled with Chinese corporations, even though there were no signs of financial ties.
Trump also blames Beijing for the coronavirus pandemic that killed 220,000 Americans this year. However, Obama put Trump on responsibility for America's oversized infection and death rates, which are among the highest in developed countries.
"Presidents up for re-election usually ask if the country is doing better than it was four years ago. I'll tell you one thing. Four years ago you would be lagging behind here at Lincoln Field instead of watching this speech from your cars." " "Obama said, citing the drive-in rally that has become a feature of the Biden campaign during the pandemic.
Trump continues to hold large open-air rallies, bringing thousands of people with few masks or safety precautions together at close range. Below is a photo of Trump's campaign rally on October 12th in Sanford, Florida.
United States President Donald Trump tosses a face mask off the stage during a campaign rally for the first time since coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Sanford, Florida on October 12, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
"The only people who are really better off than they were four years ago are the billionaires who received (Trump) tax cuts," Obama said before launching a broadside against the president because Trump reportedly only sells $ 750 a year Personal income had paid tax for several consecutive years.
The former president saved his worst attacks on Trump's character and on Trump's norm-shaking leadership style.
If Biden and Harris are elected, Obama said, "We won't have a president who goes out of his way to insult someone who doesn't support him or threaten him with jail."
"This is not normal behavior for the president. We wouldn't tolerate it from a school principal. We wouldn't tolerate it from a coach or colleague … why are people apologizing for it?" Well, it's just him. & # 39; No, these actions have consequences, "he said.
Obama seemed to be really enjoying himself on stage, occasionally giggling at his lines before returning to his classic campaign speech.
"Our democracy will not work if the people who are supposed to be our leaders lie to us every day," he said. "These ideas of truthfulness, democracy, citizenship and responsibility are not republican or democratic principles … They are American values, human values. And we need to reclaim them."
Earlier the day before Obama's rally, the Trump campaign issued a statement beating Obama and Biden. "Joe Biden is clearly not up to the tough campaigns for the president, so he calls on Barack Obama as reinforcement," the campaign said.
Biden spent the day preparing for his second and final debate with Trump on Thursday night.
The second half of Obama's remarks was devoted to the Democratic Assembly to emerge and vote. "We can't just imagine a better future. We have to fight for it. We have to leave the other side behind. We have to overtake the other side. We have to vote like never before."
The President concluded his speech by referring to both of his historic and successful presidential campaigns.
"Are you cheered? Are you ready to go? Are you cheered? Are you ready to go?" The crowd cheered and hundreds of cars honked simultaneously. "Let's make it happen!" he said.
Former US President Barack Obama waves while wearing a "Vote" mask as he fights on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden on October 21, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
Obama has made few campaign-style speeches so far this year to divert attention from Biden, but also to avoid diluting his own strong political brand by spreading too thinly.
With only 13 days to go until election day, the Biden campaign has shown that Obama will hold more rallies than on Wednesday evening before the campaign ends.
Obama's argument against voter apathy is one he made earlier, particularly at the funeral of the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis last summer.
Obama's words, cast in Philadelphia on Wednesday, strongly recalled one of the Democratic Party's major strategic failures in 2016: its inability to prevent a Philadelphia and Pittsburgh voter shortage that ultimately helped Trump win the state's 20 electoral votes deliver.
Trump won Keystone State in 2016 by less than 45,000 votes, or less than three quarters of a percent. Post-election analysis revealed a significant drop in turnout among black voters in and around Philadelphia compared to the 2012 and 2008 elections that Obama won.
Obama spoke when several new polls on Wednesday showed Biden was 2 to 10 points ahead of the top in Pennsylvania, a state considered a must-see by both the Biden and Trump campaigns.
Pennsylvania is home to a diverse electorate, and Democratic candidates generally expect poor results in the rural west of the state, where voters predominantly support Republicans for Congress and for President.
The reason Democratic presidential candidates won Pennsylvania for two decades through 2016 is because of the sheer number of Democratic voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that outnumbered the total number of Republicans in other parts of the state.