WASHINGTON – Nearly eight years after his last vote, Barack Obama is set to emerge as the central figure in the 2020 presidential election.
Democrats are keen to see Obama as the political arm of Joe Biden, who has twice served as vice president. Obama has the most popular figures in the party, especially with black voters and younger Democrats, and Biden’s presidential campaign plans to play a very visible role for him in the coming months.
For President Donald Trump, this means an opportunity to focus the spotlight on a political picture of his choice. Pushed.
“Both sides want to do this for Obama,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.
The renewed political focus on Obama has marked the beginning of elections for the future of the nation, which will be linked to his past. As Biden sought Obama’s personal recognition, he is trying to restore some of the legacy of the former president, which Trump has systematically broken. The current president is taking part in completing the work.
Yet Trump’s efforts to fight Obama often take on a deeper and more conspiratorial tone that transcends differences in health policy and America’s role in the world. While reviewing the intelligence report on Michael Flynn, Obama, Biden and their national security advisers have their current focus on the steps they took in the last days of their administration. Flynn’s brief remarks as Trump’s national security adviser came before he was fired for falsely accusing Vice President Mike Pence of misbehaving with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration itself acknowledged that Obama’s advisers were following appropriate procedures to personally “disguise” Flynn’s name, which was edited in the intelligence report because of confidentiality. Flynn finally pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, although Trump’s judiciary refused last week to spread the case against him.
While there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Obama, Biden or other officials in the administration, Trump is keen to advance the notion of an unspecified crime against the former president by calling him “Obamagate.” He has the backing of Republican allies, including Iowa Sen and Czech Grassley, who went to the Senate this week to ask Flynn questions: “What did Obama and Biden know and when did they know?”
Trump’s jealousy has raised concerns among some Obama and Biden advisers about how much he can use the government to sue them in an election year. The Justice Department is investigating the source of the Russian investigation, which tempted Flynn and other Trump associates.
With Trump’s new focus on Obama, Republicans are increasingly concerned that the growing death toll in the coronavirus and crotch economy will hit the prospect of re-election in November. The virus has killed more than 74,000 Americans and left more than 300 million unemployed.
Biden’s campaign created a direct link between the two crises that undermined the president’s attack on Obama and his administration.
“It’s no surprise that President Obama is being attacked aggressively, desperate to be distracted by the Commander-in-Chief’s own failure, which has cost the lives of thousands of Americans during this crisis,” said TJ Duclo, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign.
Trump’s attention to Obama also comes when the former president began to emerge from three years of political restraint, when he was ready to take on the role of Biden’s top surrogate. Last week, Obama told a large meeting of his alumni on behalf of his administration that the DOJ’s decision to close the Flynn case jeopardized “the rule of law.” He also criticized the White House’s work on the coronavirus epidemic.
Biden’s campaign is keen to include Obama in the election, although his proper role is still being worked out, especially since the epidemic has expanded plans to promote rallies and other private events in the states on the battlefield. The former president is also expected to campaign for Democratic House and Senate candidates across the country.
Although Obama campaigned for Democratic candidates in the midterms in 2018, he mostly tried to avoid public politics after leaving the White House. He has spoken out publicly on rare occasions against Trump, humiliating Democrats who want to be more aggressive by calling his successor.
But the 2020 election has always looked like Obama will resign, and he has told advisers he doesn’t want to. Despite his strict social neutrality during the main Democratic Party, he spoke regularly with Biden and, according to supporters, the general election campaign continues as it has.
Biden’s campaign sees Obama as a clear advantage because it calls for appeals to independent and more moderate Republicans who may not only mobilize Democrats, but also Trump’s four more years in the White House.
A recent survey by the University of Monmouth found that 57% of Americans say they have a positive view of Obama. That includes 92% of Democrats and 19% of Republicans.
Obama has a better rating than any other man running in the ballot in November. The same survey found that 41% of Americans have a positive view of Biden, and 40% see Trump in a favorable light.
Associated Press writers Mary Claire Ilonick and Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report.
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Julie Pace, Associated Press