- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 23, 2021

RICHMOND – Former President Barack Obama painted Republican Glenn Youngkin as being out-of-touch with the middle class, urging voters to turn out for Democrat Terry McAuliffe during a Richmond stump speech on Saturday.

Mr. Obama, who spoke in front of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s library, centered his speech around taking aim at Mr. Youngkin’s wealth and candidacy, without invoking the candidate’s name.

“As far as I can tell the big message of Terry’s opponent is that he’s a regular guy because he wears fleece and he’s accusing schools of brainwashing our kids,” Mr. Obama told a crowd of roughly 2,000.

Mr. Obama’s appearance comes just 10 days before Election Day, with early voting already underway in a close gubernatorial race in Virginia.

Mr. McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, is currently tied in polls with Mr. Youngkin.



The former president mocked Mr. Youngkin’s campaign, which touts the candidate’s work experience, ranging from being a dishwasher to the co-CEO of Carlyle Group, a private equity company.

“I’m glad that the guy can play basketball,” Mr. Obama joked. “I’m less convinced that the co-CEO of the largest private equity firm in the world spends his time washing dishes and going grocery shopping, but who knows. Maybe.”

Mr. Obama continued by alluding that Mr. Youngkin’s relatability to people was forced, comparing him to other wealthy politicians.

“You do notice that whenever a wealthy person runs for office, they always want to show you what a regular guy they are,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Youngkin, who has an estimated net worth of over $400 million, has poured much of his own money into his gubernatorial campaign. 

Mr. Obama’s own net worth is around $70 million, according to International Business Times.

The former president also attacked Mr. Youngkin on his anti-abortion views and proposals to enhance election laws to include measures like voter ID.

But, notably absent in Mr. Obama’s speech was the mention of former President Donald Trump, whom Mr. McAuliffe has sought to tie to Mr. Youngkin.

In his opener for Mr. Obama, the Democrat repeated his assertions that Mr. Youngkin is a carbon copy of Mr. Trump.

Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “I call him Donald Trump in khakis.”

Mr. Trump has not campaigned for Mr. Youngkin in Virginia, though he has endorsed the candidate and put out statements attacking Mr. McAuliffe.

Jaime Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, touched on Mr. Trump’s absence in Mr. Youngkin’s campaign.

“I’m surprised,” Mr. Harrison told reporters. “He’s endorsed him like six times, so you think he’d be here.”

Mr. Obama is the latest prominent Democrat to stump for Mr. McAuliffe, who also campaigned with Vice President Kamala Harris this week.

President Biden, who served as Mr. Obama’s vice president for two terms, will join Mr. McAuliffe in Arlington on Tuesday.

The president previously stumped for Mr. McAuliffe in July.

Others who joined Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign event on Saturday included Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott and A. Donald McEachin, and Gov. Ralph Northam. 

Attorney General Mark Herring, who is running for a third term, and Lt. Gov. candidate Hala Ayala also attended.

The Youngkin campaign held a bus tour nearby Mr. McAuliffe’s event.

A Monmouth University poll from this week had Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Youngkin tied at 46%.

The poll, conducted from Oct. 16-19, surveyed 1,005 registered voters and had an error margin of +/-3.1%.

Election Day is Nov. 2.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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