Two U.S. presidents converged in Philadelphia to campaign for Democrats in Pennsylvania this weekend, just hours before Election Day.
Roughly 7,500 attended the rally that President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama headlined on Nov. 5 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. At the event, Biden and Obama stressed the importance of this year's midterm elections, with prominent races for both U.S. Senate and the governorship in Pennsylvania.
"This election requires every single one of us to do our part," Obama told the crowd on Saturday evening.
The event highlighted the work and campaign platforms of Democratic nominee for Senate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Ahead of Election Day, Politico reported that while Shapiro is likely to win the gubernatorial election over Republican gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the imminent outcome of the race between Fetterman and Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz will be more difficult to predict.
Reflecting on his own losses in midterm elections during his presidency, Obama stressed that Biden can only continue his legislative agenda if Democrats maintain a majority in the U.S. Congress.
He added that even if everyone at the rally had a plan to vote, there is still more work to be done.
"I don’t just need you to vote. I need you to gather up your friends and family and make sure that they are also voting," he said.
Obama said that it would be essential for Pennsylvanians to vote Lt. Gov. John Fetterman into the U.S. Senate, calling him "a guy who has been fighting for regular folks his whole life."
Obama also showed support for gubernatorial candidate and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro at the event. Obama mentioned that Shapiro was one of the first people to endorse his run for president in 2007.
"[Shapiro] had my back," Obama said. "If you elect him your next governor, he will have your back every single day."
As for Shapiro's opponent, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, Obama said that Pennsylvanians "cannot let someone that detached from reality" be in charge of the state, referencing Mastriano's attendance at the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his "extreme" policy positions on abortion, climate change, and gay marriage.
Before Obama took the stage around 6:20 p.m., other speakers also took the stage to tell the crowd how essential it is to vote for Democrats in all offices this year.
Biden, who called this year's midterms "one of the most important elections of our lifetimes," told the supporters that he needs them to vote for Democrats so he can continue advancing his policies while in office.
Biden said that if people want him to continue pushing for progressive issues – like student loan debt relief – he needs to maintain control of Congress
Shapiro explained how important his family and his Jewish faith is to everything that he does. He told the crowd that if he is elected as Pennsylvania's next governor, he will ensure that communities have a say in local policies.
Shapiro said that one of his main goals will be removing existing educational barriers in the job market and making access to education more equitable.
"We need to make sure we give everyone an opportunity to succeed," Shapiro said. "We will open up the doors of opportunity for those who have been shut out."
Shapiro also said that he is not afraid to take on a "big fight," citing his legal battles with opioid manufacturers and commitment to prosecuting insurrectionists who attended the riot at the U.S. Capitol last year.
"I'm not done taking on big fights," Shapiro said. "I got another big fight in me. It comes in three days when we defeat Doug Mastriano."
Fetterman also spoke about being able to handle tough challenges. He made light of his stroke that happened earlier this year.
"[The stroke] knocked me on my back, but I got back up," Fetterman said.
Fetterman told the crowd that his "life was saved by Penn Medicine," and that he will make sure that, if elected, all Pennsylvanians have access to the same care and support.
"The healthcare that saved my life, that should be the same kind of healthcare that might save your life," Fetterman said.
During his speech, Fetterman also emphasized the importance of codifying abortion access into legislation and raising the minimum wage, saying that "every paycheck should have dignity."
At the rally, Fetterman urged voters to make sure everyone they know votes this Tuesday and sends a message to the Republican party and his opponent.
"Please make sure we send Dr. Oz back across the bridge," Fetterman said, referencing his opponent's home in New Jersey.
Students can vote on campus this Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.