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Former President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to help the reclusive 2020 candidate reach key voters in the final weeks before the election.
Biden is still greatly limiting his appearances and, on Wednesday, called a “lid” — ending the campaign’s communication with reporters — in the early morning. He appeared at a socially distanced “car parade” events in Florida earlier this week but, unlike President Donald Trump, is not making rally appearances or courting big crowds. Trump is also in Florida this week but holding typical campaign rallies with hundreds of supporters.
Obama is looking at making a handful of surgical strikes, CNN reports, courting key battleground voters in the last several weeks before the election.
“Obama intends to focus his efforts on early voting states in the final two weeks of the race, the officials tell CNN. The former President will not aggressively barnstorm swing states, but rather intends to visit a handful of critical battlegrounds where voting is underway,” the outlet noted. “His schedule has not been finalized, officials said, but states under consideration for his solo appearances include Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and more.”
The events, like Biden’s, will be limited, but the campaign hopes they attract significant attention and local news coverage.
“The events will be socially distant — similar to the tactics adopted by the Biden campaign during the coronavirus pandemic — but are designed to garner local media coverage in key areas,” CNN notes. “President Donald Trump’s campaign has dispatched far more surrogates ahead of the election — along with the President’s rallies — and the Obama visits are designed to help Biden draw more attention in places where voting is happening.”
The Biden campaign is hopeful that Obama will remind voters of Biden’s last turn in office, as Obama’s Vice President. It’s also likely that the Biden campaign is looking to help energize voters; although reports differ as to how many people are attending Biden’s rallies, some social media coverage has shown only sparse interest and, in some cases, few enthusiastic supporters at Biden events in stark contrast to Trump’s mega-rallies.
Obama has appeared on Biden’s behalf only once before, though, at the Democratic National Convention. Instead, the former president has focused intently on raising money for Biden through private and virtual events. Former First Lady Michelle Obama has been a more vocal surrogate for Biden, appearing in several recent campaign videos in addition to her work pressing for widespread voter registration.
So far, Obama’s appearances aren’t on the Biden campaign’s official schedule, but ABC News reports that the campaign anticipates nailing down specific dates and times for Obama-focused rallies “soon.”
“President Obama plans to hit the trail soon, in addition to all the other activities he’s undertaken all year in support of electing VP Biden – as he’s said, we all have to do everything we can to win on November 3,” his aide told the network.