Nov. 2 (UPI) — Former President Barack Obama tells crowd they have the power ‘to change America” at a get-out-the-vote rally in Atlanta on Monday to stump for his former vice president, Joe Biden, and other Democrats.
“I’ve got one word for you Atlanta tomorrow,” Obama said as he took the podium for the drive-in rally at Georgia State University’s football stadium.
“Tomorrow, after four years of failure, you have the power to change America. Tomorrow, you can put an end to the politics that tries to divide a nation just to win an election, that tries to stoke conspiracy theories and fear at a time we need confidence and hope.”
“Tomorrow is the most important election of our lifetimes, and you can deliver the change that we need, but you’re going to have to vote,” Obama added in the stump speech for presidential nominee Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Obama urged people to not wait any longer to drop off their ballot, and for those who have voted already he urged them to help their friends and families make a plan to vote at iwillvote.com.
The 44th president of the United States said that Biden was the last one in the room for eight years when he made big decisions during his presidency, and he made him a better president.
“He’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country,” Obama said regarding Biden. “And he and Kamala are going to be in the fight not for themselves, but for each and everyone of us.”
Georgia is now seen as a key presidential battleground.
“Right here, in Georgia, you’ve got an even bigger power to deliver the change that we need,” Obama said. “You can be a state that sends Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House.”
Obama said that he didn’t initially plan on going to Georgia until he thought about the potential for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to flip two Senate seats.
“You have two extraordinary candidates … who deserve your vote,” Obama said, referring to Ossoff and Warnock. “And let’s face it, you’ve also got two senators who badly need to be replaced.”
“Your two senators here in Georgia publicly were telling you that the virus would be no big deal, but behind closed doors they were making a bunch of moves in the stock market to try to make sure their portfolios were protected instead of making sure you were protected, man that’s shady,” Obama said.
Obama added that if the incumbent senators and President Donald Trump had taken the coronavirus more seriously instead of downplaying it in public, the damage could have been mitigated, but now COVID-19 cases are surging, and 230,000 people have died from the coronavirus across the country.
More than 100,000 small businesses have closed nationwide, and Georgia alone lost almost 200,000 jobs, Obama added.
Obama also criticized Trump for threatening to fire the nation’s top infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has navigated other outbreaks from HIV to Ebola, after the election.
Warnock appeared at the podium earlier, emphasizing how important Georgia was as a key presidential battleground.
“It’s just one day before the most important election of our lifetime and of all the places President Barack Obama could be he’s right here,” Warnack said.
Ossoff, who also took the podium before Obama, similarly emphasized the importance of Georgia as a battleground state.
“President Obama is here with us today because Georgia in the midst of this terrible crisis, the eyes of the nation are on us,” Ossoff said.
“The message today is simple,” Ossoff added. “The only way out of this mess … is to vote like we’ve never voted before.”
Obama’s trip underscores Democrats’ belief they have a good chance of taking Georgia’s 16 electoral votes and dealing a potentially decisive blow to President Donald Trump’s re-election hopes.
Among others those who spoke earlier in the drive-in rally were Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former state representative Stacey Abrams, who lost a gubernatorial bid in the midterms to Gov. Brian Kemp, current U.S. Rep. Lucey McBath, R-Ga. in the 6th District, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Ga. 7th District, Grammy-award winning R&B artist Monica, and college students.
Several polls showed Biden and Trump running neck-and-neck in the state. Trump campaigned Sunday in Rome, Ga., seeking to turn out his base of rural conservatives in northwest Georgia.
Ossoff and Warnock are also engaged in tight races that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. Polls showed Ossoff running even against incumbent Republican David Perdue.
Georgia’s other Senate seat, meanwhile, appeared headed to a Jan. 5 special run-off with Warnock facing either Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler or GOP challenger Rep. Doug Collins.