RICHMOND, Va (NWN) — Former President Barack Obama offered a scathing rebuke of the Republican nominee for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin as he encouraged voters Saturday to support Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for a closer look .
Obama accused Youngkin of portraying himself as a friendly everyman while encouraging “lies and conspiracy theories” about widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump continues to push the false narrative about the election fraud that fueled the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol.
“Either he actually believes in the same conspiracy theories that resulted in the mob, or he doesn’t believe in it, but he’s willing to go along with it, say anything, or do anything to get elected. And Maybe it’s worse… because it says something about the character,” Obama said.
Youngkin, a former private equity executive and first-time candidate, initially made “electoral integrity” the centerpiece. of his campaign and declined For months to say whether President Joe Biden was legitimately elected. He has since said that Biden was, and did not, widespread fraud in last year’s elections.
Obama described McAuliffe – the state’s governor from 2014-2018 – as a seasoned, steady hand, and organizers said 2,000 people had gathered outside at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond to mark the November 2 election “for the country and the country”. The country will show “the world that we are not going to indulge in our worst instincts.”
The former president said he understands that the country’s divisive politics and the stress of the pandemic have left voters spoiled. But he said a lot is at stake for not voting.
“We do not have time to get tired. What is required is continuous effort,” he said.
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Youngkin campaign called Obama’s remarks a “false statement” and accused the Associated Press of “indulging in the fantasies of Terry and the left because they didn’t live up to his failing record and radical vision for the future.” can walk.”
The Youngkin campaign has stated that election security is a bipartisan concern and has today sought to draw comparisons between false claims of fraud and the 2000 presidential election, when a Supreme Court ruling decided the winner and McAuliffe destroyed the decision. Turned out that the choice was made and stolen.
McAuliffe is seeking a return to office in the only state where the incumbent cannot serve consecutive terms. Less than two weeks before the November 2 election, polls show a tight race in the state Biden, having fallen 10 percentage points the last time.
While New Jersey also has an election for governor on November 2, it is Virginia’s race that has drawn national attention as a possible sign of voter sentiment ahead of next year’s midterm.
Several Democratic elected officials, including US Representatives Donald McEachin and Bobby Scott, US Sen. Tim Kaine and Governor Ralph Northam, also made remarks at Saturday’s event.
Officials chose the election as a choice between a proven leader and an extremist who would roll back progressive reforms implemented during the past two years of full democratic control of the state government, including voting rights and access to abortion. , strict gun laws and criminal. Justice reform. Many speakers acknowledged that the competition is close.
“We can’t take any chances,” Northam said.
Several speakers sought to link Youngkin and his running mates to Trump.
“Glenn Youngkin is extreme. This guy is a fan of Donald Trump,” said Democrat National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison.
Obama also visited the Virginia capital to rally Democrats during Northam’s 2017 run for governor against Republican Ed Gillespie, who lost by nearly 9 percentage points.
His visit marked the latest in a series of presentations by high-profile Democrats who have come to the state in recent days to press for McAuliffe’s candidacy. They include voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Vice President Kamala Harris, who told the crowd Thursday night, “This race is tight.”
Biden, who campaigned with McAuliffe over the summer, is joining the Democratic nominee in Northern Virginia on Tuesday.
National Republican groups criticized McAuliffe on Saturday for her procession of high-profile surrogates.
“As Biden’s polling numbers continue to drop, McAuliffe is going down with him and no heavily hit politician will right the ship,” said Maddie Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Republican Governors Association.
Youngkin, who has generally stayed away from outside supporters in the final leg, held a Saturday evening rally in suburban Richmond at the start of a statewide bus tour.
Speaking of what the campaign of 2,000 people had said at a farm next to a grocery market, he outlined his platform for a half-hour, cutting taxes, rolling back red tape, banning the critical race theory, and a Promised to roll out. Extensive charter school program.
He said the election offered an opportunity to change the state’s trajectory to one where “the relentless pursuit of a better life is not burdened or blocked by self-seeking politicians for prosperity.”
“This thing is a toss-up,” he said, and later predicted he would win.
Youngkin did not directly address the harsh criticisms of Obama. But the former collegiate basketball player took a jibe at an element of Obama’s remarks, saying he had Challenge: The former president, fond of basketball, for a one-on-one game.
Trump has not campaigned with Youngkin, and Youngkin’s campaign has not responded Associated Press questions about whether they’ve been asked. Trump has supported Youngkin several times and called at a rally It was organized this month by a right-wing radio host to encourage the crowd to vote.