photo credit: Andrew Harnik / AP
The Center Square [By Bruce Walker]-
Former President Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who served as his vice president from 2009 to January 2017, reunited for a Flint drive-in rally Saturday afternoon in an effort to seal Tuesday’s presidential election in Biden’s favor.
Both men also attempted to rally attendees to the reelection effort of U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, who is engaged in a tight contest with Republican challenger John James. Attendees watched the men speak from their vehicles, occasionally honking their horns to display their support.
Michigan is regarded as a key battleground state in 2020. The state voted by fewer than 11,000 votes in favor of President Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Up for grabs is the state’s 16 electoral votes.
Obama warmed up the crowd in a speech in which he didn’t mince words about Trump, a man the former president characterized as more interested in garnering personal attention than in leading the country.
“Joe Biden is my brother,” Obama said, prior to claiming his vice president made him a better president. At one point, Obama wondered out loud if his perception of Trump’s “obsession” with popularity stemmed from a childhood “trauma” in which “nobody came to his birthday party as a kid.”
Obama took issue with Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, asserting 140,000 U.S. fatalities would have been averted had the Trump administration dealt with the COVID-19 virus outbreak in a manner similar to Canada. The former president also took umbrage with Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which is the signature achievement of the Obama and Biden administration.
For his part, Biden echoed many of the same points made by his former boss. He said the Obama-Biden administration lasted eight years without a single scandal, failing to mention, for example, the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation and the Internal Revenue Service scandal in which tax-exempt applications for conservative groups were either slow-walked or denied completely.
Biden also claimed Trump had called fallen U.S. soldiers “suckers” and “losers,” echoing an unfounded allegation published in early September. Trump has vehemently denied he uttered those words, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was with the president on the trip to France when Trump supposedly made the disparaging remarks, also refuted the claim first reported by Jeffery Goldberg in the Atlantic magazine.
Biden also repeated the New York Times story about alleged bounties placed by Russian officials on U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, claiming Trump had done nothing to address the supposed issue. Gen. Frank MacKenzie, the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, told NBC News in mid-September an ongoing investigation has yet to provide proof to validate the NYT story.
The former vice president and senator also mentioned the military valor of his son Beau Biden, awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. The younger Biden was also a former Delaware attorney general before his death in 2015 from cancer.
Biden did not mention his other son, Hunter, nor the controversy surrounding alleged influence peddling in Ukraine and China, money laundering and other claims arising from emails and photos discovered on a laptop reportedly once belonging to the younger Biden.