Former President Barack Obama recently recorded ads for Democratic Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In Pennsylvania, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is running against Trump-backed Republican challenger Mehmet Oz, aka Dr. Oz, while in Wisconsin, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes is challenging Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in the latter’s race for re-election. Polling in both races has shown close contests, although Fetterman has done better overall. With the Senate currently split 50-50 and Democrats only in control because of Vice President Kamala Harris’s role as a tiebreaker, every race, at least among those generally considered competitive, could make the critical difference in deciding who controls the chamber.
In ads for both Fetterman and Barnes, Obama mentioned abortion rights — an area of concern obviously at the front of a lot of people’s considerations since the U.S. Supreme Court undid Roe v. Wade, which had previously established the national legal framework for abortion rights. Now, it’s up to state officials (and if they so decide, members of Congress) to decide on access to abortion. “So when the fate of our democracy and a woman’s right to choose are on the line, I know John will fight for Pennsylvanians,” Obama said in a Fetterman ad. “You can count on John Fetterman. Make sure he can count on you. Vote Democrat on November 8.”
That ad lasts 30 seconds and is apparently slated to run across Pennsylvania, where Biden won in the 2020 presidential race and where the state’s other Senator and outgoing governor are already Dems. In every public poll cataloged by FiveThirtyEight since the general election season began in Pennsylvania, Fetterman has led Oz, a multiple mansion-owning, accidentally Hitler’s car-promoting, sister’s head-stabbing, anti-Armenian activism-tied dog-killer who until recently lived in another state.
The activism was by associates. Other small animals also died in connection to medical research Oz did, and that research sometimes saw the creatures dying under startlingly cruel circumstances. In Wisconsin, Johnson is facing criticism on multiple fronts, including his denial of the reality of climate change, dismissal of the truth of the riot at the Capitol, promotion of unhinged conspiracy theories about COVID-19 including imaginary “internment” camps, and advocacy for pieces of tax reform that would benefit highly wealthy families including donors of his. He also wanted to make Medicare and Social Security subject to annual budget negotiations in Congress, potentially imperiling their funding amid yearly inter-party financial fights.
“Now he’s focused on solutions that will make a difference,” Obama said of Barnes. “Like making more things here in Wisconsin, cutting taxes for the middle class, and protecting a woman’s right to choose.” Johnson has expressed support for making decisions about abortion at the state level, but if he wins re-election, he could change his stance and back federal restrictions. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) already introduced a 15-week abortion ban at the federal level. During a recent debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is running for re-election and backed the Graham push, wouldn’t even say whether he would support abortion restrictions with no exceptions — leaving the possibility troublingly open-ended. Check out Obama’s ads below:
“When the fate of our democracy and a woman’s right to choose are on the line, I know John will fight for Pennsylvanians.”
Honored to have President Obama on this team 💯 pic.twitter.com/npSw6hXcxG
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) October 21, 2022
President @BarackObama's 2004 DNC speech is a huge part of why I am here today – it made me believe I could run for office and make change. I can’t express how honored and humbled I am to receive his endorsement. pic.twitter.com/yiM2449bkf
— Mandela Barnes (@TheOtherMandela) October 21, 2022