If you were still wondering what Barack Obama thinks of Donald Trump, his speech tonight cleared that up.
Greetings from Philadelphia, where Barack Obama landed at 3:41 and the motorcade was quickly on the move to the first stop. (Details to come on that.)
Pool was on the bus with the private terminal building blocking any view of the landing, but was able to see the silver SUV he’s in as it passed, before joining up with the motorcade.
Information from the campaign about today’s events below. Both events will be live-streamed on JoeBiden.com, but I will send notable highlights:
On Background from the Biden Campaign: Today, President Obama will make his first in-person campaign stop of the cycle in Philadelphia, where he will encourage Pennsylvanians to make their plans to vote at iwillvote.com/PA and cast their ballots for the Biden-Harris ticket. President Obama will also stop by a “Shop Talk” conversation with Black male leaders, to discuss the issues impacting their communities and how voting is one of the most important ways to effect change in Philadelphia and across the country.
Stop 1: Drop by “Shop Talk” conversation with Black male leaders in Philadelphia
President Obama will join a “Shop Talk” conversation hosted by Congressman Dwight Evans and local elected officials, where Philadelphia leaders will discuss issues facing Black men in the community and the importance of voting in this election.
The discussion is held at the Hank Gathers Youth Access Center in North Philly, an area still experiencing the impacts of 1930’s redlining and structural racism. Working families in North Philly continue to grapple with high rates of poverty, unemployment and gun violence — which have only worsened this year.
Background on “Shop Talk”: Biden for President launched the “Shop Talk” a program to organize Black men. Shop Talk roundtable discussions highlight the challenges impacting Black men across the country. The program launched on the heels of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, and has featured special guests including Biden for President National Co-Chair Congressman Cedric Richmond, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Bakari Sellers, Actor Terrence J, producer Jermaine Dupri, Magic Johnson, and AllHipHop.comCEO Chuck Creekmur.
Congressman Dwight Evans, US Representative, PA-03
Sharif Street, State Senator, SD-03
Isaiah Thomas, Philadelphia City Council, At-Large
Anthony Phillips, Executive Director of Youth Action
Idris Abdul-Zahir, Resident Imam, The Center for Human Excellence
Anton Moore, President and Founder of Unity in the Community
William Hart, Associate Director at Temple University’s Office of Community Relations
Tamir Harper, Co-Founder & Chief of UrbEd Inc
Juwan Bennett, Faculty Advisor at Temple University
Dawud Bey, Reentry Advocate and Entrepreneur
Darryl Shuler, Reentry Activist
Andrew Grannum, ordained minister and entrepreneur
Darryl Thomas, owner of “Philly Cuts” barbershop and community leader
Tayyib Smith, Senior Principal, Little Giant Creative
About the Biden-Harris Plans for Black Men:
After four years, it’s clear: Black Americans, especially Black men, risk losing everything in Trump’s America. Systemic racism and racial violence relegates too many Black men to second class citizenship that risks becoming permanent depending on the outcome of this election. And President Trump has failed to get the pandemic under control, while Black Americans continue to have the highest COVID-19 death rate and highest unemployment rate in the country. In fact, the Obama-Biden Administration reduced the number of unemployed Black men by nearly half a million — and President Trump has more than reversed all of the gains. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are offering a different choice for Black Americans. Joe and Kamala will empower Black men by:
Helping Black men build wealth and pass down opportunities through generations – including by creating millions of good-paying jobs and giving Black men a real shot to own a home, start a small business, and send a child to college debt-free.
Reducing prison and jail populations and reforming policing, while increasing safety at the same time, and putting us on a path that begins to cure the staggering racial disparities in our criminal justice system.
Tackling health inequities and expanding access to affordable health care, including protecting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act.
Easing the burden of crippling student debt and expanding education and training opportunities for Black men.
Protecting the voting rights of Black men.
Targeting investments in clean energy, transportation, affordable housing, clean water, and remediation and reduction of legacy pollution to Black communities and other disadvantaged communities.
Stop 2: Drive-in GOTV Rally with President Obama
President Obama will hold a drive-in rally encouraging Philadelphians and voters across Pennsylvania to turn out for the Biden-Harris ticket. President Obama will encourage voters to make their plans to vote at iwillvote.com/PAand vote early.
In Philadelphia, voters have more voting options than ever this year. For the first time, Philadelphia voters can vote early in person through October 27 at multiple satellite offices across the city, greatly expanding the options for Philadelphia voters to cast their ballots for Joe Biden. Voters can also vote by mail, drop off their mail-in ballots at official dropboxes across the city, or vote in person on Election Day. Across the Commonwealth, over 2.7 million people have been approved to vote by mail. Monday was Pennsylvania’s voter registration deadline and a record high of over 9 million Pennsylvanians are registered.
In 2008, the Obama-Biden ticket won 83% of the vote in Philadelphia, including 57 voting divisions where the Republican ticket received zero votes. Over 220,000 more voters turned out in Pennsylvania in 2008 than four years prior, fueled by increases in African American, Latino and young voter turnout in the state’s most populous counties, including Philadelphia. In 2012, the Obama-Biden ticket received 85% of the vote in Philadelphia, including receiving over 99% of the vote in 59 voting divisions across the city.
President Obama will be introduced by Charles “Charlie Mack” Alston, entertainment industry and Philadelphia community leader, and his daughter, India Alston, who at 13 started a clothing line to raise funds and awareness for Black Lives Matter
Syreeta “Sincerely Syreeta” Martin, WURD radio host, journalist, and community leader
Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania
Josh Shapiro, PA Attorney General
Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia
Mary Gay Scalon, U.S. Representative, PA-05
Brendan Boyle, U.S. Representative, PA-02
Vincent Hughes, State Senator, SD-07
Joanna McClinton, State Representative, PA-191
Obama spent about 40 minutes at the first stop. He wore his mask throughout, sometimes fiddling with it to readjust as it moved on his face while he spoke. The theme throughout was the importance of voting and accepting that progress can be slow—at one point, he compared it to going to going to a personal trainer and trying to get in shape like The Rock. He also referenced his own beginnings as a community organizer multiple times.
It was live-streamed, but some quotes:
“It’s been a long history in America: You try to distract working people from coming together by highlighting racial differences or religious differences, so the people who got what they got can keep what they got.”
“One of the biggest tricks that perpetrated on the American people he this idea that the government is separate from you. The government is us. Of, by and for the people. Wasn’t always for all of us. But the way it’s designed, it’s based on who’s at the table.”
Asked by State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta about if he still believes in hope, Obama said,
Asked by @malcolmkenyatta about the status of HOPE, Obama says, “I’ve never lost hope over these last four years. I’ve been mad. I’ve been frustrated. But I haven’t lost hope, and the reason is because I never expected progress to move in a straight line.”
Afterward, Obama made a very brief stop at a canvassing event a few blocks away I’m North Philadelphia, in Carlisle Street. He was greeted by two young children whose parents encouraged them to get closer, but he kept his distance, waving at them. As one approached more, he gave an elbow bump.
“At the end of the day, people connect with people. And obviously, this is an extraordinary election, because we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing it safely, which is the only reason I’m not hugging and squeezing this cutie-pie,” he said, pointing to the little girl, “because I’m trying to model good hygiene. But nevertheless, folks seeing your effort out there is going to be inspiring.”
He stressed down-ballot races, including the Pennsylvania state legislature.
“You all look very good in your masks. Because of my ears, it actually accentuates how big they are,” Obama said, pulling at them, for the full Dumbo effect. “Makes me look like I could just take off.”
Obama closed by saying he is confident Biden will win and “we’re going to be able to restore the kind of spirit of hope and change and possibility we all believe in.”
We arrived at the drive-in rally site just before 5:30. Governor Tom Wolf was speaking as the motorcade pulled up.
It’s in the parking lot of the sports complex where the Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies play. The last time Obama was in this particular part of Philadelphia was when he spoke at the Democratic convention in 2016, which was at the arena on site. Obama should be up soon, and the event will be live-streamed, so please refer to that for most of the remarks.
Background from the campaign on the canvas stop:
On Background from the Biden Campaign:
President Obama is stopping at a Voter Activation Center (VAC) to thank volunteers and remind people about the importance of voting early. VACs are run by the Pennsylvania Democratic Coordinated Campaign and serve as a place for voters to get information, signs, and literature, and find out more about ways to volunteer with the campaign. Volunteers can sign up to take action at: mobilize.us/backtobluepa
There are multiple VACs across Pennsylvania, including three in Philadelphia:
South Philly: 1927 S. 7th Street, 1st Floor, 19148
Chinatown: 1100 Vine Street, Unit C5, 19107
Northwest: 7254 Limekiln Pike, 19138
There are three ways to vote in Pennsylvania this year.
Vote By Mail – Return your ballot as soon as possible by mail as or drop it off in person at your county elections office or other official drop-off location. Voters must use two envelopes – the smaller secrecy envelope and the larger return envelope – and must complete and sign the voter declaration on the back of the larger return envelope or their vote will not be counted.
Vote Early In Person – Go to an election office or satellite location in your county of residence and request a mail ballot and vote on the spot. Voting early in person ends on October 27th.
There multiple locations open to vote early in person or ballot drop-off in Philadelphia. Voters can go to iwillvote.com/PA to find the closest location.
Vote on Election Day – Go to your polling place on Nov. 3rd from 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
If you were still wondering what Barack Obama thinks of Donald Trump, his speech tonight cleared that up. The days when it was a question of if Obama would say Trump’s name are long gone. Among the former president’s complaints about the current president: he is corrupt, incompetent, mean spirited, ridiculous, petty, and that he has mismanaged the pandemic, divided Americans, bred racism and hate, disrespected the military.
He also made the case for Biden and Harris, repeatedly, that they would have a plan for the economy and the pandemic, and said they will bring character and leadership back to the government.
Obama spoke as the sunset, the sky going from pink to gray, framed by the clouds and the Lincoln Financial Field behind him. He stood by himself on stage, far from even the cars in the lot. His podium was sanitized before he spoke, and though he was without a mask for the speech, he put a VOTE mask on soon after he finished, before walking off.
He did not greet the crowd at all after he finished speaking, and his motorcade left without including the pool bus. So that’s a wrap for today.
It was all live-streamed and on TV, but here are a few quotes:
“He’s got a secret Chinese bank account. How is that possible? Can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for re-election. You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that. They would have called me Beijing Barry”
“Tweeting at the television doesn’t fix things. Making stuff up doesn’t make things better. You’ve got to have a plan. We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook .. they probably used it to prop up a wobbly table somewhere.”
“Donald Trump isn’t going to protect us. He can barely take the basic steps to protect himself … If he’d actually been working the whole time, it never would have gotten this bad.”
On the Republicans’ and Trump’s claims of a new plan for health care: “It’s been coming in two weeks for the last 10 years. Where is it? Where is this great plan to replace Obamacare? They’ve had 10 years to do it. There is no plan.”
Trump’s tweets “about secret cabals running the world or that Navy SEALs didn’t call bin Ladin. Think about that. The president of the United States retweeted that. Imagine that. What? What?”