WASHINGTON — No longer reluctant to speak out, former President Barack Obama delivered a closing argument for Democrats that seeks a firm check on President Donald Trump’s policies in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Obama and Trump offered competing visions for the country in a split screen of campaigning on Sunday, seeking to galvanize voter turnout in the fight to control Congress and governors’ mansions.
Obama rallied Democrats in Gary, Indiana, on behalf of Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, who faces a stiff challenge from Republican businessman Mike Braun. Later in the day, the former president campaigned in his hometown of Chicago for businessman J.B. Pritzker, Democrats’ nominee for Illinois governor.
Obama has taken on a more public role this fall after refraining from offering a full-blown counterpoint to Trump’s policies, which have sought to dismantle Obama’s legacy. Without invoking his name, Obama has accused Trump of lying and “fear-mongering” and warned Democrats not to be distracted.
Trump has punched back, accusing Obama of leaving behind a trail of broken promises on trade, the economic recovery and a promise during his presidency that patients could keep their doctors under his health care law.
Trump headlined Sunday rallies in Macon, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, supporting Republican Brian Kemp, who is running for Georgia governor, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is seeking an open Senate seat in Tennessee.
A look at campaign activities on Sunday:
Obama in Indiana
Obama praised Donnelly during a rally in northwest Indiana as someone who’s honest and direct, telling voters, “You don’t want a ‘yes’ man.”
Obama’s appearance in Gary was sandwiched between Trump’s trips to Indiana on Friday and Monday to help Braun.
Donnelly has often sounded far more like Trump than Obama on issues. He angered some Democrats by embracing some of Trump’s priorities, including a border wall with Mexico. But he has supported the Affordable Care Act, the health care overhaul signed into law by Obama.
The former president told thousands of cheering supporters that he and Donnelly don’t always agree. But he said it was more important to elect a senator who will put what’s best for his state over his party.
Trump in Georgia
Rallying his faithful in Macon, Georgia, Trump praised Kemp as a “strong man” and “strong personality” and said Kemp would become a great governor for Georgia.
The president assailed Kemp’s Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, as “one of the most extreme far-left politicians in the entire country.”
The Georgia race has garnered attention from a list of high-profile backers, including Oprah Winfrey, who campaigned for Abrams last week. Abrams is attempting to become the nation’s first black female governor.
Trump said Winfrey was a friend of his until he ran for president but he is now urging Georgia voters to listen to his endorsement instead of hers.
Bloomberg chips in
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pumping another $5 million in national advertising into the final two days before the midterm elections, urging voters to support Democrats because of his concern about “the direction of our nation.”
Bloomberg, the billionaire independent who is considering a 2020 presidential campaign as a Democrat, appears in the 2-minute ad airing Sunday during CBS’s “60 Minutes.” It will also air Monday on cable and broadcast networks.