“The Democratic Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we lead with conviction, principle, and bold, new ideas,” Obama said in a statement sent to reporters.
Former President Barack Obama endorsed Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday in her New York congressional race.
The former president did not include Ocasio-Cortez in his first round of endorsements in the congressional midterms but included her in his second round of over 250 additional endorsements announced on Monday.
“Our incredible array of candidates up and down the ticket, all across the country, make up a movement of citizens who are younger, more diverse, more female than ever before,” Obama said. “They’re Americans who aren’t just running against something, but for something.”
Ocasio-Cortez shocked the political establishment after she defeated an entrenched House Democrat voicing a political platform of socialism. The former president also endorsed Democratic socialist candidate Andrew Gillum, who is running for Governor of Florida.
Obama also endorsed current Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida for re-election, as well as Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and Sen. Tina Smith in Minnesota. He also endorsed Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is running for Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat after the Arizona Republican announced his retirement.
However, not all dems were on board with Obama as he announced back in September of his first rounds of endorsements
Obama has kept a low political profile since leaving office, but sources familiar with his plans say he will soon hit the campaign trail to help Democrats in their quest to take back the House, protect vulnerable Senate incumbents and win state legislative races.
The former president will kick off his push by delivering a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday. In the weeks ahead, Obama will also campaign in California, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a person familiar with his schedule said.
Not all Democrats want Obama’s help.
Democratic candidates running in states that President Trump won by double digits in 2016 would prefer that the former president stay far away.
Some Democrats in pro-Trump states, such as Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), say they hope Obama will campaign for them.
Others, such as Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), want to keep the race locked on the battle between themselves and their state rivals, fearing a high-profile surrogate like Obama could distract from the strategy.
“We’re not going to use any surrogates. Surrogates are fine but we don’t need them. The race is myself and Matt Rosendale and that’s the way we want to keep it,” Tester told The Hill, referring to his GOP challenger.
Asked if she thought Obama might show up in North Dakota, Heitkamp said: “Nope, no.”
“He threatened to campaign against me once so I don’t think he’s coming out there,” she said.
While the former president remains extremely popular with the Democratic base, especially among African-American voters, Democrats fear his entrance into some battleground states could inadvertently rev up conservatives and pro-Trump voters.
“Trump wants nothing more than a foil. He knows he can activate the other side,” said a source familiar with Obama’s thinking.
The former president is “going to be involved this fall in a very Obamaesque, smart way,” the source added.
Democrats say that one way Obama can have a big impact on races is by urging infrequent voters to show up to the polls in November, something that will be a major theme of the former president’s speech on Friday.
“He will echo his call to reject the rising strain of authoritarian politics and policies. And he will preview arguments he’ll make this fall, specifically that Americans must not fall victim to our own apathy by refusing to do the most fundamental thing demanded of us as citizens: vote,” said Obama communications director Katie Hill.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), said the party welcomes Obama’s help but noted it’s up to individual candidates whether to invite him to their states.
We welcome his participation in these races as a DSCC. Every Senate candidate will decide in conversation with President Obama whether it makes sense for him to come to their states,” Van Hollen said on CSPAN’s “Newsmakers” program last month.
Van Hollen noted that Obama held a joint fundraiser for the DSCC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last year.
Obama also held a fundraiser in May for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is running in a state Trump won by 19 points.
Still, the former president has held off on endorsing Democratic senators running in states won by Trump, even though he has backed Democratic candidates down the ballot in some of those states.
For example, while he endorsed Richard Cordray, Betty Sutton and Steve Dettelbach, the Democratic candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in Ohio, respectively — as well as two U.S. House candidates and a slew of state House candidates in the Buckeye State — he did not endorse Brown, the incumbent U.S. senator.
Asked why his name was missing from Obama’s endorsement list, Brown said, “I don’t have any idea” but added, “I make nothing of that.”
The Democratic senator noted that Obama is likely to make additional endorsements and said he would welcome his support.
“I’d love for him to come to Ohio and help us with voter turnout for Cordray and for me,” he said.
Democratic sources say Obama will campaign with Casey in Pennsylvania, even though the former president also didn’t include him on the list of candidates from the Keystone State he endorsed last month.
Obama announced his support for two House candidates in Pennsylvania, Madeleine Dean and Susan Wild, and three state House candidates, but not Casey.
Trump carried both Ohio and Pennsylvania over Hillary Clinton in 2016. He won Ohio by 8 points and Pennsylvania by less than 1 point.
When Obama made his first round of endorsements in August, he stayed away from Democratic Senate candidates with the exception of Rep. Jacky Rosen (D), who is running to unseat Sen. Dean Heller (R) in Nevada — the only Senate battleground that Trump lost.
Obama’s endorsement in state and local races is less likely to hurt Democratic candidates because those contests are often less partisan than federal races. The GOP strategy in Senate races in red states is to tie the centrist Democratic incumbents to party leaders in Washington.
One Democratic strategist said the lack of endorsements from Obama falls under the ‘do no harm’ category.
“Both of those senators are doing well their respective states and they don’t exactly need Obama’s seal of approval. In fact, it might do more harm than good,” the strategist said. “Obama is still popular with certain folks in those states but he’s not exactly popular with some others.”
But Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist, said he doesn’t think it has to do with unpopularity but a focus on races that need his support.
“There are others who have tougher races than Sherrod’s and Casey’s,” he said. “Those races are shaping up to be easier than some others … And they have robust war chests so they don’t really need Barack Obama’s endorsement.”
Rocha said he wouldn’t expect Obama to endorse senators like Tester and Heitkamp. “Places like that, they’re probably not advocating to get that endorsement.”
A person familiar with Obama’s thinking cautioned against reading too much into his endorsements, noting that he will come out with another round before Election Day.
Casey expects to receive Obama’s support and to campaign with him in the next few weeks.
“We look forward to campaigning with him, we hope, in the fall. I hope to. I don’t know what the schedule will be,” he said.
Casey said he thinks Obama would help Democrats up and down the ballot if he campaigns in Pennsylvania and noted that Obama has made it a priority to focus on local races in order to give Democrats more leverage in future congressional redistricting.
Patrick Rodenbush, communications director for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said Obama has been very helpful in trying to give Democrats more influence over future congressional district maps.
“He helped us with fundraising since we were launched in 2017,” he noted. “He cut a video for us in July about the stakes of redistricting and why these elections in November matter.”
“He’s going to hit the road in September. We expect he’ll talk about the issue of redistricting when he’s out on the trail,” he added.
Obama also headlined fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee in September of last year and this past June.
Trending Now on Right Wing News
Newly Released Emails Confirm FBI Tried To Work Deal With State Dept To Minimize Hillary Email Scandal
The insanity never seems to end and once again the great Judicial Watch is doing Congress’ oversight job! It’s time arrests start happening.
Newly released FBI emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request confirm that James Comey’s FBI attempted to work out a quid pro quo deal with the Obama State Department to help cover up the Hillary Clinton private email server scandal just weeks before the 2016 election.
Back in October 15, 2016, Fox News first reported on the deal but full confirmation did not come until this week when the government watchdog group Judicial Watch released FBI communication related to the deal.
“FBI interview summaries and notes, provided late Friday to the House Government Oversight and Intelligence Committees, contain allegations of a ‘quid pro quo’ between a senior State Department executive and FBI agents during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, two congressional sources told Fox News,” Herridge and Browne reported in 2016. “This is a flashing red light of potential criminality,” Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) told Fox News at the time. “In return for altering the classification, the possibility of additional slots for the FBI at missions overseas was discussed,” he said.
Fox News reported on Monday that over two years later, the allegation that the FBI and State Department floated a “quid pro quo” deal has now been confirmed, and it originated with the FBI:
The trove of documents turned over by the FBI, in response to a lawsuit by the transparency group Judicial Watch, also included discussions by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page concerning a potential quid pro quo between the State Department and the FBI — in which the FBI would agree to effectively hide the fact that a Clinton email was classified in exchange for more legal attache positions that would benefit the FBI abroad, and allow them to send more agents to countries where the FBI’s access is ordinarily restricted.
The quid pro quo would have involved the FBI providing some other public reason for withholding the Clinton email from disclosure amid a Freedom of Information Act request, besides its classification level. There are no indications the proposed arrangement ever took place.
And, in the face of mounting criticism aimed at the FBI, the documents revealed that Comey quoted the 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson by assuring his subordinates, “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
The FBI did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the released emails.
Read the full report via Fox News
WATCH: Trump Slams Pelosi On Wall, Kneeling NFL Players In Pre-Super Bowl Interview
In President Trump’s pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS News, he slammed Rep. Nancy Pelosi on the wall, as well as NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem. He was in fine form. He nailed Pelosi at the beginning of the interview and then took on the NFL and kneeling at the 15:40 mark. Trump also took extreme exception with those who are second-guessing his decision to pull American troops out of both Syria and Afghanistan.
In the interview, Trump also briefly discussed football. He said he would not push his son Barron to play the game, knowing the risk of long term brain injury. He also pointed out that soccer is becoming more popular as a sport.
But it’s his flaying of Pelosi that was riveting. President Trump referred to Nancy Pelosi as “very rigid” and intimated that he may sidestep Congress to get the wall built by declaring a national emergency. Rumor has it that an executive order is ready and awaiting his signature. At least Trump didn’t call Pelosi “frigid” although that certainly came to mind.
“I think that [Pelosi] was very rigid — which I would expect — but I think she is very bad for our country,” Trump told reporter Margaret Brennan. “She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point. I happen to think it’s very bad politics because basically, she wants open borders. She doesn’t mind human trafficking or she wouldn’t do this.”
“She can keep playing her games, but we will win. Because we have a much better issue. On a political basis, what she’s doing is — I actually think it’s bad politics, but much more importantly it’s very bad for our country,” he stated.
“You know, there have been plenty of national emergencies called,” Trump explained. “And this really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers.”
Trump wasn’t anywhere near done. She “doesn’t mind human trafficking,” Trump added, torching Pelosi very nicely.
From The Daily Wire:
“As for the kneeling NFL players, Trump believes the recent boost in NFL ratings proves he was right that anti-racism protests were souring Americans on professional football. Trump also believes he’s made progress handling some NFL players’ complaints. “A lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me,” he said, referring to his part in efforts to reform the criminal justice system and grant clemency to a number of federal prisoners serving long sentences for drug crimes.
“You have to respect our flag and our country. I want that as president and I’d want that as a citizen. And I have a very good relationship. I did them a big favor in negotiating the USMCA, which is basically the replacement to NAFTA, which is one of the worst trade deals ever made,” Trump said. “And Roger Goodell, this is a dispute that has gone on for years. Roger Goodell called me and he thanked me.”
“In a final interview, which aired just before the game, Trump touted his plan to withdraw American military forces from Syria and Afghanistan, noting that the United States’ commitment to the two countries won’t be dimmed by a change in troop presence.
“We’ll come back if we have to,” Trump said.
“We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. We can come back very quickly, and I’m not leaving,” Trump added, hammering in the possibility that American troops could easily re-deploy to the region. “We have a base in Iraq and the base is a fantastic edifice. I mean I was there recently, and I couldn’t believe the money that was spent on these massive runways. And these — I’ve rarely seen anything like it. And it’s there. And we’ll be there. And frankly, we’re hitting the caliphate from Iraq and as we slowly withdraw from Syria.”‘
This isn’t the first time President Trump has given an interview before the Super Bowl. He’s done it a number of times now. His State of the Union Address this week promises surprises but will also touch on these issues.