- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 31, 2020

Former President Barack Obama reunited Saturday with his loyal sidekick Joseph R. Biden on the trail for the first time as part of a final get-out-the-vote campaign blitz for Mr. Biden‘s own presidential bid, warning Michigan voters three days out from Election Day that President Trump is more interested in "feeding his ego" than making sure families are safe from the coronavirus.

Free of the constraints of the office, Mr. Obama has embraced the role of attack dog, relishing the chance to blast away at Mr. Trump, whose rise to power came after he cast the Obama presidency as an utter failure and promoted false "birther" conspiracy theories about the nation’s first Black president.

Speaking in Flint and then Detroit, Mr. Obama returned the favor by casting Mr. Trump as a lying, racially-charged mess.

The nation’s 44th president said his successor’s fixation with crowd sizes is baffling and said his decision to hold campaign rallies amid the coronavirus underscores his shortcomings as a person and as commander in chief.

"Does he have nothing better to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party as a kid? Was he traumatized?" Mr. Obama said at a drive-in rally in Flint. "What’s with crowds?"

Mr. Obama said, "Did Fox News not give him enough attention?"

"You know what our country is going through a pandemic that is not what you are supposed to be worried about," he said. "And that is the difference between Joe Biden and Trump right there. Trump cares about feeding his ego, Joe cares about keeping you and your family safe."

Mr. Obama said Mr. Biden is "decent to his core" and said he will "treat everyone with dignity and everyone with respect."

Music legend Stevie Wonder, who is from Saginaw, appeared with the former White House duo in Detroit.

Mr. Biden said voters have "three days to put an end to a presidency that has divided the nation and "fanned the flames of hate."

"When America is heard I believe the message is going to be loud and clear: it is time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home," Mr. Biden said in Detroit. "We are done with the chaos, with the anger, with the hate, with the failure, with the irresponsibility."

Mr. Obama is slated to be in Florida and Georgia on Monday.

On Saturday, Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump "likes to portray himself as a tough guy" even though global leaders have treated him as a joke.

"Donald Trump is not strong, he’s weak," he said.

The general consensus is that Mr. Biden must drive up his margins of victory in and around Detroit, a majority-Black city, to flip Michigan back into the blue column in the 2020 presidential race.

Meanwhile Mr. Trump held four rallies Saturday in Pennsylvania, another battleground state.

Back in Michigan, Mr. Obama said the stakes are high in the race for the White House, warning voters their jobs, and their health care is on the ballot, along with the federal government’s ongoing response to the coronavirus.

"Remember when Republicans were saying [to] let Detroit go bankrupt? You remember that?" Mr. Obama said, alluding to an op-ed 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney penned four years earlier for The New York Times. "Now they might as well be saying, ‘Let America get COVID.’"

Mr. Obama said Mr. Biden will bring decency and character back to the White House.

"Listen, Michigan, Joe Biden is my brother, I love Joe Biden, and he will be a great president," Mr. Obama said. "He has the character and experience to make us a better country."

Michigan’s battleground status has been cemented this election cycle. The state also features a key Senate race between Democratic Sen. Gary Peters and Republican challenger John James.

Mr. Trump in 2016 became the first Republican since 1988 to carry the state after Hillary Clinton struggled to energize Black voters in Detroit, making it impossible for her to offset the surge of support Mr. Trump received in the small cities and towns and more rural parts of the state.

Mr. Trump carried the state by fewer than 11,000 votes on his way to blasting through the so-called Blue Wall states that also includes Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Democrats are pleading with voters not to be complacent. They are confident a higher voter turnout will work in their favor.

"The road to the White House goes through the great state of Michigan," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.

"Are we going to stick and have four more years of callous leadership or leadership that is cruel, that is incompetent. that has led to 230,000 American deaths, tens of millions unemployed during this pandemic?" Ms. Whitmer said. "Or are we in Michigan going to vote for two people who have decency, see humanity in others, have integrity and experience in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?"

Mr. Biden is running strong in Michigan, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls that show him with a 6-point lead over Mr. Trump.

Despite the polling lead, there is a sense of urgency this go-round in the Democratic ranks that they cannot take anything for granted or underestimate Mr. Trump‘s ability to rally his base.

Democrats, though, are optimistic that Black voters will not sit this one out, banking on the notion that they have been turned off by Trump‘s polarizing rhetoric and his response to the coronavirus, which has hit minority communities harder than others.

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