During a Saturday Milwaukee rally for Wisconsin Senate candidate Mandela Barnes, former President Barack Obama trolled former President Donald Trump.
Obama lobbed a softball attack at Trump and Republicans who supported him when he questioned Obama’s citizenship. The so-called “birther movement” centered around questions about whether the 44th president was a citizen of Kenya or the United States. Obama refused to furnish a copy of his birth certificate for months, fueling the controversy.
Barnes would be the first black senator to represent Wisconsin if he defeats incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson November 8. Obama noted ads from Johnson and other Republicans that labeled Barnes as “dangerous and different.”
Johnson currently maintains a three percent lead over the challenger, Barnes, in polls followed by RealClear Politics, which project a Johnson win.
“I know that there are some folks, probably maybe not in this auditorium, but elsewhere in Wisconsin, who think,” remarked Obama, “just because Mandela’s named Mandela, just because he’s a Democrat with a funny name, he must not be like you, he must not share your values.”
“I mean, we’ve seen this,” he continued. “It sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?”
Democrats hoping to win battleground Wisconsin typically go to Milwaukee black churches to speak and pose with worshippers. That should continue to be sound strategy for Barnes, who grew up in Milwaukee’s mostly black north side.
Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor, believes his shot at becoming Wisconsin’s first black senator, depends on how well he can connect with voters in that community who don’t typically have large election turnouts.
Obama reminisced about the “the good old days” before Trump was president when he questioned Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
“Remember when that was the craziest thing he was saying?” he asked, referring to Trump. “Now, it doesn’t even make the Top 10 list of crazy.”
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