Nov. 5 (UPI) — President Joe Biden and his two predecessors, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, campaigned in Pennsylvania for their parties’ nominees for senator and governor.
In downtown Pittsburgh, Obama praised Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s values and then campaigned for him and gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro in Philadelpgia with Biden. Trump was at a regional airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in the western end of the state to stump for Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz as well as Doug Mastriano, who is running for governor .
Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, has a significant lead over Mastriano, a state senator.
Obama, Trump and Biden spent the final weekend before the midterm elections in Pennsylvania, where the race between Fetterman and Oz could determine control of the Senate over the next four years.
Fetterman at one time appeared to hold a commanding lead over celebrity physician Oz, but a stroke and an aggressive ad campaign by Republicans has put Oz in line for an upset.
Trump’s endorsement of Oz helped push the one-time talk show host just over the hump in the Republican Party primary,
Obama took aim at critics who have zeroed in on Fetterman’s health months after he had a stroke.
“John’s stroke did not change who he is, it didn’t change what he cares about, it didn’t change his values, his heart, his fight,” Obama told the crowd in Pittsburgh.
“It doesn’t change who he will represent when he gets to the United States Senate. He’ll represent you.”
Obama also threw jabs at Trump for his denial of the 2020 presidential election outcome.
He took issue with Republican efforts to make voting more difficult, saying that “democracy is on the ballot” on Tuesday.
“If you don’t get your way, don’t throw a tantrum; don’t pick up your ball and go home,” he said.
Trump again hinted that he’ll announce soon whether he’s running for another presidential term in 2024.
“I’d like to do it,” Trump said to cheers from the crowd. “But you know what? I really mean this – I want to have the focus tonight be on Dr. Oz and on Doug Mastriano.”
Trump spent most of the two-hour speech talking about himself, including his achievements as president.
Trump repeated his false claims he won the race in 2020 victories, including “I believe we won Pennsylvania twice.”
At the rally at Temple University, Biden said: “This crowd is so loud, I think they can hear us in Latrobe,” Biden told the crowd while making a reference to Trump’s planned speech. “They’re going to hear us on Tuesday.”
Biden said in his speech that Fetterman would help the Senate pass a federal ban on assault weapons while stating that Oz would support a national ban on abortions.
“John has character, integrity,” Biden said. “He’s going to be a hell of a good senator in the United States Senate.”
He also accused Republicans of “literally coming after Social Security and Medicare.”
“The good news is you have an outstanding president right now in the White House,” Obama said of Biden in his Philadelphia speech.
Obama also predicted that if Republicans gain control of Congress, they will impeach Biden.
“They’re not quite sure why, or what for,” Obama said.
The Democrat win in Pennsylvania would be a valuable pick-up to stem potential losses in other states as they fight to keep the Senate against strong GOP headwinds.
Republicans, who have hammered home the message that the Democrats are the blame for high inflation rates and rising crime, are hoping those messages to victory without exposing the ultra-conservative views of many of its candidates.
For example, economic issues have made Democratic Senate incumbents such as Catherine Masto Cortes in Nevada and Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire for fighting for their political lives with the GOP salivating to pick up in both states. Biden won both states in 2020.
In fact, the struggles the party in power typically face in midterms have forced Biden to campaign in traditional Democratic strongholds such as New Mexico, California and Illinois before traveling to Pennsylvania.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who was once seen as vulnerable in his re-election fight, appears to have surer footing going into the home stretch against his Democratic rival Mandela Barnes. Ditto, for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., where the latest polling also suggests that he will fend off a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Val Demings, despite Democrats pouring big money into the race.
In Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly is trying to win a full six-year term against conservative Blake Masters. Masters’ fate may be also be tied to the state governor’s race where, Trump-backed Kari Lake, a former television host, is leading Democrat Katie Hobbs in the latest polls.
Another former president, Bill Clinton, joined New York Gov. Kathy Hochul at a rally in Brooklyn, against Rep. Lee Zeldin.
“Why is this a close race? Because of inflation. When the cost of living goes up, it’s unsettling for people,” Clinton told the crowd. “But just take a moment and actually think. The Democrats, led by our governor, are actually doing something to lower costs and to improve public safety.”
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