Former President Barack Obama will come to Philadelphia on Wednesday to campaign for his former vice president, Joe Biden, a campaign official confirmed Friday.
Obama last was in Philadelphia in August, when he delivered an address to the Democratic National Convention from the Museum of the American Revolution. In that speech, standing in front of a museum display about the writing of the Constitution, Obama said a president should be “the custodian of this democracy.”
“He made me a better president, and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country,” Obama said of Biden then.
Aside from the convention speech, Wednesday will be Obama’s first in-person campaign event. He’s expected to appear without Biden, but other details of his campaign stop remained unclear.
The former president joined the platform Community and has reached millions of voters digitally, via texts, tweets, and video messages shared widely on social media. He’s also been a prolific fund-raiser for Biden.
Obama, who did not endorse a candidate during the Democratic primary, has since become one of Biden’s most powerful surrogates — though somewhat under the radar until now, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2016, Obama appeared with Hillary Clinton and Bruce Springsteen at a rally on Independence Mall ahead of the 2016 election. That event drew more than 30,000 attendees. Given the Biden campaign’s cautious approach to campaigning during the pandemic, the former president’s appearance is likely to be much more subdued in scope.
Pennsylvania saw a lot of visits to the populous Southeastern part of the state in 2016, including Philadelphia and its suburbs. But this election season, candidates have focused more heavily on Northeastern and Southwestern Pennsylvania, where President Donald Trump is trying to hold onto support from white working-class voters who defected from the Democratic Party in 2016 and Biden is trying to win some of them back.
Both Biden and Trump have made frequent visits to Johnstown and areas around Biden’s childhood hometown of Scranton.