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Obama joins Gretchen Whitmer at get-out-the-vote rally in Detroit: 'Who is on your side?'

‘We’ve always known this will be a close election and we have too much at stake to take anything for granted,’ the Michigan governor said on Oct. 29.

By Kaishi Chhabra - November 07, 2022
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Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during the Get Out the Vote Rally in Detroit. Michigan Democrats hold a Get Out the Vote Rally for Governor Gretchen Whitmer with President Barack Obama ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. (Photo by Dominick Sokotoff / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Former President Barack Obama joined Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state Democratic leaders at a get-out-the-vote rally in Detroit on Oct. 29.

Around 3,500 people attended the event at Renaissance High School, which focused on access to abortion, voting rights and public education.

“We have always known this would be a close election and there is too much at stake to take anything for granted,” Whitmer said, encouraging the crowd to organize, volunteer, and get out the vote before the polls close on Nov. 8.

Obama told the crowd: “There may be a lot of issues at stake in this election, but the basic question you should always be asking yourself, but especially right now, is, Who will fight for you? Who’s on your side?”

The former president addressed economic issues that are top of mind for voters, saying that inflation is “one of the legacies of the pandemic.”

“The question is, who’s actually going to do something about it? The Republicans talk about it, but what’s their answer? What’s their economic policy? … So inflation’s a problem. What is the Republican answer?” Obama said. “You know what their big economic policy is? They want to gut Social Security and Medicare and then give big tax cuts to the wealthy and some of the most successful corporations in the world. That’s their agenda, and by the way, that’s their answer for everything.”

Whitmer’s record in office has included the enacting of more than 900 bipartisan bills since 2018. A bipartisan budget she signed in July this year invests $19.6 billion in K-12 education; and her administration has worked to protect Michigan residents’ reproductive rights in the face of a 1931 state abortion ban that took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and its affirmation of a constitutional right to abortion nationwide. The state law bans abortion in all cases except to protect the life of the pregnant person, with no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomalies and makes it a felony to provide abortion care.

Whitmer won a preliminary injunction against the ban in August, protecting legal abortion in Michigan until a statewide vote on Nov. 8 on a proposal called Reproductive Freedom For All, or Proposal 3, which if passed would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s Constitution.

“To put it simply, this election is a choice between continuing to move Michigan forward for all Michiganders or a dangerous agenda that would drag us back,” Whitmer said at the rally. “Public education is on this ballot, our economic future is on this ballot, our democracy is on this ballot, and the right to choose is on this ballot. And if you don’t think the right to choose is an economic issue, you don’t have a uterus.”

Dixon, who has said she supports the 1931 abortion ban, has been endorsed by the anti-abortion groups Michigan Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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