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Obama Rallies For Whitmer, Dems At Cass Tech

Former President Barack Obama spoke in front of a rowdy crowd Friday night at Detroit's Cass Tech High School

October 26, 2018 - 9:29 pm

DETROIT (AP/WWJ) -- Former President Barack Obama spoke in front of a rowdy crowd Friday night at Detroit's Cass Tech High School as he rallied the Democratic Party ahead of next moth's midterm elections.

Encouraging citizens to vote for Democrats on Nov. 6, including gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, Obama railed on Republicans throughout his speech, as he did just several hours prior at a similar rally in Milwaukee. 

“I’m glad to see Debbie, I’m glad to see Gretchen, I’m happy to see all of you. I love the band, I love this city," Obama said inside the packed gym at Cass Tech, accompanied by cheers and music from the Cass Tech Marching Band. "But, the main reason I’m here, is to make sure that all of you vote in what I believe might be the most important election of our lifetimes."

Obama took direct aim at President Donald Trump and his administration, talking about a number of recent indictments:

"I didn't have folks in my administration get indicted. It's not that hard," Obama said to thunderous applause.

Hoping to spur a high voter turnout that could be key for candidates like Whitmer and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Obama encouraged the public to vote because "the character of our country is on the ballot."

Obama credited Whitmer for helping to expand Medicaid and said "few people fought against it harder" than her Republican opponent, state Attorney General Bill Schuette. He said voters can trust Sen. Debbie Stabenow to protect people with pre-existing conditions because "she was there" to help pass his health law. She is facing a challenge from Republican John James, whom Obama criticized for saying he backs Trump's agenda "2,000 percent."

Obama's speech was preceded by a number of Michigan Democratic candidates, including Whitmer, Stabenow, Elissa Slotkin and others.

The former President encouraged voters to vote Democratic, pointing to a number of problems he sees with Republicans in office, including the repeal of affordable health care.

Michigan is another battleground state in the Midwest that Democrats lost in 2016, despite Obama's visit the day before the election.

"I'm hopeful Michigan," he said. "I'm hopeful that despite all the noise, despite all the lies, we're going to come through all that. We're going to remember who we are, who we're called to be. I'm hopeful because out of this political darkness, I'm seeing a great awakening."

The Republican National Committee issued a written response following Obama's speech, claiming that "Michigan saw some of its darkest days as a result of relentless government overreach advanced by the Obama administration."

"We’ve made incredible strides, especially with our economy, thanks to President Trump and our GOP-led Congress, and it’s insulting for Barack Obama to come out here and try to rally support for candidates like Debbie Stabenow, Gretchen Whitmer, Matt Longjohn, Gretchen Driskell, Elissa Slotkin, and Haley Stevens who will work to systematically dismantle the policies generating all of this progress," the statement said. "Michiganders have high hopes for a bright and prosperous future and voters know that no matter what Obama says, Michigan Democrats do not share that vision."

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to make a trip to Michigan next week to campaign for Republicans.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.