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Former President Barack Obama joined the list of high-profile public figures stepping forward in support of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
On Wednesday, Obama – who is notoriously selective about lending his voice in political debates – appeared in an ad urging Californians to vote “no” in next Tuesday’s recall election. This is a big win for Newsom and his supporters given Obama’s undeniable popularity in the Democratic party.
“Governor Newsom has spent the past year and a half protecting California communities,” Obama said in the ad. “Now Republicans are trying to recall him from office and overturn common-sense COVID safety measures for health care workers and school staff.”
“Your vote could be the difference between protecting our kids and putting them at risk; helping Californians recover or taking us backwards,” he continued. “Protect California by voting no on the Republican recall.”
The ad is slated to start running on television Thursday, Politico reported. But Wednesday, Newsom shared the clip on Twitter, along with the caption, “Listen to @BarackObama — California has a big choice to make on September 14th. Your vote could be the difference. Vote NO on the Republican Recall. There’s too much on the line to sit this one out.”
As we reported over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris visited California’s Bay Area this week to campaign with Newsom, who faces possible removal from office in a Sept. 14 recall election.
Symone Sanders, Harris’ chief spokesperson, tweeted Saturday that the vice president would visit on Wednesday. Sanders later confirmed that the trip is for Newsom’s political benefit.
Newsom was expected to appear with the vice president, Newsom campaign spokesman Nathan Click said.
Harris had been set to campaign with Newsom in late August on her way back to the U.S. after a week of events and appearances in Singapore and Vietnam. But she postponed the California stop and returned to Washington because of events in Afghanistan as the U.S. raced to evacuate Americans, allies, and vulnerable Afghans before an Aug. 31 deadline.
President Joe Biden supports Newsom, a fellow Democrat, and first-term governor, and the White House said late last month that Biden would travel to California on Newsom’s behalf.
“Well, I would say, first, I can confirm the president does still plan to go and campaign for Gov. Newsom in California,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her Aug. 25 briefing. “I don’t have a date for you at this point in time, but that is still, certainly, his plan.”
Earlier this year the governor verbally committed to appointing a Black woman to the U.S. Senate if the 87-year-old Dianne Feinstein resigns before her term ends in 2024.
In March, when asked that specific “yes-or-no question” by Joy Reid on her weekday MSNBC show, The ReidOut, Newsom replied, “We have multiple names in mind, and the answer is yes.”
Feinstein is the oldest sitting U.S. senator and was re-elected in 2018. She has recently come under scrutiny from her fellow Democrats, who have questioned her memory and what they have deemed a relationship with Republicans that are “too friendly.”
In an email statement from Feinstein’s office, her spokesperson said, “the senator has no plans to step down.”
Newsom was pressured to appoint a Black woman to replace Sen. Kamala Harris after she was elected vice president in November 2020 as Biden’s running mate. However, Newsom chose Alex Padilla, who became the state’s first Latino senator.
As a result, there are currently no Black women in the 100-member legislative body.
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