Obama Fires Up Democrats In Milwaukee, Urges People To Vote
Republicans were in the political spotlight in Wisconsin earlier this week when President Donald Trump held one of his Make America Great Again rallies in Mosinee. On Friday, it was the Democrats' turn, as former President Barack Obama headlined a spirited rally at North Division High School in Milwaukee.
Obama wove a number of topics into his speech, returning frequently to this message:
"You gotta vote. Right here in Wisconsin, you can early vote right now. Just go to Vote.org. Find out where you can cast your vote today, and then go cast it for Tammy [Baldwin] and Tony [Evers] and Randy [Bryce] and Dan [Kohl] and the entire Democratic ticket."
The former president also talked about factors that dominated his eight years in the White House, including getting the Affordable Care Act passed and approving measures meant to help dig the country out of the Great Recession.
He blasted Republicans currently in office for how they've handled those issues. For instance, on the subject of health care, Obama pointed out that some in the GOP have sought to dismantle one of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
"Now that it's election season, these same Republicans are running millions of dollars' worth of ads around the country, saying 'we're going to protect pre-existing conditions.' Your governor's been running one of those ads, while his administration is literally suing the government to take away pre-existing condition protections," Obama said.
"When folks talk right now about 'oh the economy is doing so well,' where do you think that started? Come on! Tell the truth!" former President Barack Obama said.
Obama also says Republicans have been quick to pat themselves on the back for the strong economy. But he says that's something they should be credited to his time in office. That comment drew some of the loudest and longest applause.
"It's been growing ever since, by the way," he said. "So, when folks talk right now about 'oh the economy is doing so well,' where do you think that started? Come on! Tell the truth!"
The former president told the crowd that yes, he'd like them to support Democratic candidates and their policies. But he says there's even more than that at stake, in this election.
"There's something at stake in this election that goes beyond party. What is at stake is a politics that is decent and honest and lawful and tries to do right by people, that's worthy of this country we love," Obama said.
Obama again stressed the importance of voting, saying "the biggest threat to our democracy is our own indifference."
That was a theme that candidate for lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes touched on. He was among the long line of top Democrats who spoke before Obama took the stage.
"This election is far too important to sit on the sidelines, and I say that not just because I'm on the ballot. I say that because we live in a world where Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America. I say that because we're frustrated with what's going on in the White House. We are frustrated about what's going on in Congress. We are frustrated by what's going on in our Supreme Court. We need to vote like we're frustrated," Barnes said.
Milwaukee U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore commented that she's so frustrated, she has the "Scott Kevin Walker Blues." She and a singer led the crowd in a song with that name, stealing the show. The lyrics included "If we want Scott Walker to leave us, we have to vote for Tony Evers."
The visits to Wisconsin by Obama, Trump and other big political players this week and next come as Election Day draws near. It's only 11 days from today, on Tuesday, Nov. 6.