Obama to Democrats: Sulking, moping not an option

PITTSBURGH, United States (AP) — The Democratic Party’s most powerful voices warned Saturday that abortion, social security and democracy itself are at risk as they laboured to overcome fierce political headwinds — and an ill-timed misstep from President Joe Biden — over the final weekend of the 2022 midterm elections.

“Sulking and moping is not an option,” former President Barack Obama told several hundred voters on a blustery day in Pittsburgh. “On Tuesday, let’s make sure our country doesn’t get set back 50 years.”

Later in the day, Biden shared the stage with Obama in Philadelphia, the former running mates campaigning together for the first time since Biden took office.

“Your right to choose is on the ballot. Your right to vote is on the ballot. Social security and Medicare are on the ballot,” Biden charged.

Obama and Biden were the first presidents, but not last, to rally voters Saturday in Pennsylvania, a pivotal state as voters decide control of Congress and key statehouses. Polls across America will close on Tuesday, but more than 36 million people have already voted.

Trump finished the day courting voters in a working-class region in the south-western corner of Pennsylvania. And in neighbouring New York, former President Bill Clinton was also on the campaign trail.

Biden, Trump, Obama and Clinton — four of the six living presidents — were appearing with local candidates, but their words echoed across the country as the parties sent out their best to deliver a critical closing argument.

Not everyone, it seemed, was on message, however.

Even before arriving in Pennsylvania, Biden was dealing with a fresh political mess after upsetting some in his party for promoting plans to shut down fossil fuel plants in favour of green energy. While he made the comments in California the day before, the fossil fuel industry is a major employer in Pennsylvania.

Senator Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the president owed coal workers across the country an apology.

“Being cavalier about the loss of coal jobs for men and women in West Virginia and across the country who literally put their lives on the line to help build and power this country is offensive and disgusting,” Manchin said.

The White House said Biden’s words were “twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offence” and that he was “commenting on a fact of economics and technology”.

Democrats are deeply concerned about their narrow majorities in the House and Senate as voters sour on Biden’s leadership amid surging inflation, crime concerns and widespread pessimism about the direction of the country. History suggests that Democrats, as the party in power, will suffer significant losses in the midterms.

Clinton, 76, addressed increasing fears about rising crime as he stumped for New York Gov Kathy Hochul, whose re-election is at risk even in deep-blue New York. He blamed Republicans for focusing on the issue to score political points.

Generated by Feedzy