“Democrats are not perfect. But right now…’: Former US President Barack Obama | world news

Former President Barack Obama resumed campaigning Friday in Georgia, using his first leg of a multi-state tour to frame the 2022 midterm elections as a referendum on democracy and to urge voters not to see Republicans as an answer to their economic problems.

It was a delicate balance, as the former president acknowledged the pain of inflation and tried to explain why President Joe Biden and Democrats shouldn’t take all the blame as they face the prospect. to lose narrow majorities in the House and Senate when the votes are counted. November 8. But Obama argued that Republicans who intend to make it harder for people to vote and — like former President Donald Trump — are willing to ignore the results, can’t trust Americans’ wallets either. .

“This fundamental foundation of our democracy is being challenged right now,” Obama told more than 5,000 voters gathered outside Atlanta. “Democrats are not perfect. I’m the first to admit it. … But right now, with a few notable exceptions, most GOPs and a whole bunch of those candidates don’t even claim the rules apply to them.”

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With Biden’s approval ratings in the 1940s, Democrats are hoping Obama’s emergence in the final weeks of the campaign will bolster the party’s slate in a tough domestic environment. He shared the stage on Friday with Senator Raphael Warnock, who faces a tough re-election fight against Republican Herschel Walker, and Stacey Abrams, who is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who narrowly defeated her there. is four years old.

Obama will travel to Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday, followed by stops next week in Nevada and Pennsylvania.

For Obama personally, the campaign blitz is an opportunity to do something he couldn’t do in two midterms during his presidency: help Democrats succeed in national midterms when they already hold the White House. For his party, this is an opportunity to capitalize on Obama’s rebound in popularity since his last midterm defeats in 2014. Their hope is that the former president can sell arguments that Biden, his former deputy President, had trouble picking up.

Biden was in Pennsylvania on Friday with Vice President Kamala Harris and plans to be in Georgia next week, potentially in a joint rally with Obama and Democratic candidates from across the state. But he was not welcomed as a substitute for many Democratic candidates across the country, including Warnock.

“Obama occupies a rare place in our politics today,” said David Axelrod, who has helped shape Obama’s campaigns since his days in the Illinois State Senate through two presidential elections. “He obviously has great appeal to Democrats. But he is also very popular with independent voters.

Obama tried to show that reach on Friday. The first black president was greeted as a hero by a majority black audience, and he offered plenty of lines of applause for Democrats. But he saved much of his argument, particularly on the economy, for moderates, independents and casual voters, including a defense of Biden, who Obama says is “fighting for you every day.” .

He called inflation a “legacy of the pandemic”, the resulting supply chain disruption and the effects of Ukraine’s war on world oil markets – a radical rejoinder to Republican attempts to lay sole blame on Democrats’ spending bills.

“What is their response? … They want to give tax cuts to the rich,” Obama said of the GOP. “It’s their answer to everything. When inflation is low, let’s cut taxes. When unemployment is high, lower taxes. If there was an asteroid heading towards Earth, they would all walk into a room and say, you know what we need? We need tax cuts for the rich. How will this help you? »

Biden has sought to make similar points and was buoyed this week with news of 2.6% economic growth in the third quarter after two straight quarters of negative growth.

Kevin E. Boling