He launched a blistering attack on Trump before Biden joined him on stage in Flint, Michigan, for their first appearance together.
Biden came running out to meet Obama after the former president introduced him to the crowd as the cars at the drive-in rally honked and supporters cheered. He wore a black face mask he removed to speak to the crowd.
Obama and Biden attempted to maintain social distancing during their event, but came close at the end even leaning in like they were going to bump elbows, but Biden reached over to pat Obama’s shoulder instead.
The two stood next to each other as they waved to the crowd.
Obama was wearing his face mask but Biden had forgotten his. He had taken it off to speak and returned to the podium to put it on so the two could walk off stage together.
As they walked back into the building behind the rally location, Obama gave Biden a pat on the back.
Obama used his speech to tear into Trump – while Biden sought to use the feel-good nostalgia for Democrats evoked by Obama when he spoke.
‘It kind of reminds you how good it can be, doesn’t it, listening to him,’ Biden said. ‘It reminds me of when we can be when you have a president of character, a president respected around the world.’
In his speech the former president attacked his successor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, claimed Trump wants to let America get COVID, mocked his obsession with crowd size, called his policies ‘racist,’ and said Trump would lose people’s jobs.
Trump himself was starting a four-rally swing across Pennsylvania as Obama spoke, with a small rally in Newtown in the east of the state before three more events in the state, which he sees as critical to his path to a second term.
‘They’re trying to bamboozle you,’ Obama warned the crowd in Flint of the Trump administration.
Elbow bump: Barack Obama offered Joe Biden his elbow at the end of the former vice-president’s speech. Biden had to run back to the lectern for his mask after celebrating with Obama
This guy: Barack Obama gave Joe Biden a direct personal endorsement with the campaign engagement, their first joint appearance on the trail
Pat on the back: Joe Biden gave Barack Obama a pat on the back as he finished his speech and the two men appeared together on stage in Flint
Together on the trail: Barack Obama and Joe Biden appeared for a joint event in Flint, Michigan, their first joint appearance of the campaign, with the former president praising his vice-president and tearing in to Donald Trump’s record on COVID
Handover: Joe Biden walks on stage after being introduced by Barack Obama – with the two carefully keeping their distance
Done his part: Barack Obama left the stage after introducing Joe Biden and using a lengthy speech to tear into Donald Trump
Fired up: Barack Obama gets on stage to campaign with Joe Biden for the first time, at a high school in Flint, Michigan
Stumping for Joe: Barack Obama took the stage to praise Joe Biden’s character – and excoriate Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID crisis
Enthusiastic reception: When one woman shouted ‘I love you,’ Obama replied ‘I love you too – now put that mask back on.’
Thanks to Barack:
Backing for Joe: Barack Obama said his former vice president Biden will help America heal of COVID and recover from economic devastation
Mockery: Barack Obama went after Donald Trump’s performance in office saying: ‘COVID COVID COVID – he’s complaining. He’s jealous of COVID media coverage,’ he said as coronavirus cases are on the rise across the country, hitting more than 9 million infections.
On his way: Barack Obama went to a high school in Flint for his appearance with Biden. Flint’s African-American Democratic voters did not turn out in enough numbers for Hillary Clinton to bear Donald Trump in 2016
This is auto country: Barack Obama boasted about his and Joe Biden’s record in the wake of the 2008 crisis which drove Ford and GM to the verge of bankruptcy
He even mentioned his wife Michelle, one of the most popular Democrats in the country, and said they agreed it would be a relief to no longer have to think about Trump.
‘This is a big benefit. Michelle and I were talking about this over dinner the other day, you’re not gonna have to think about them every day. You’re not gonna have to argue with your family about him every day. It won’t be so exhausting,’ he said.
Obama, in his introduction of Biden, touted his strength of character, giving a personal description of his former vice president.
‘Joe Biden is my brother. I love Joe Biden and he will be a great president,’ he said.
‘That sense of decency and empathy. The belief in hard work and family and faith, the belief that everybody counts, that’s who Joe is,’ Obama said.
‘I can tell you that the presidency doesn’t change who you are. It shows who you are,’ he said.
He attacked Trump’s leadership, saying it led to racism in the country and brought out the worst in people.
‘There are consequences to his actions. This is not just a joke. It’s not funny, those actions embolden other people to be mean and defensive and racist,’ Obama said.
Obama then pivoted to attack President Donald Trump, using the attack lines he has dropped in his previous appearances for Biden in Pennsylvania and Florida.
‘You know, I said this before – I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision, I understood he didn’t agree with my policies, but I did hope for the country’s sake that he might show some interest in the job,’ he said.
‘He hasn’t shown any interest in doing the work, or helping anybody but himself and his friends, or treating the presidency as anything more than a reality show to give him the attention that he craves,’ he said.
He attacked Trump’s handling of the coronavirus’ pandemic, an area where voters have given Trump low marks.
‘COVID COVID COVID – he’s complaining. He’s jealous of COVID media coverage,’ he said as coronavirus cases are on the rise across the country, hitting more than 9 million infections.
‘And now he’s accusing doctors of profiting off this pandemic. Think about that. He said this just yesterday said doctors are overblowing it because they’re gonna make money off, doctors, he cannot fathom. He does not understand the notion that somebody would risk their life to save others without trying to make a buck,’ he said.
‘Now they might as well be saying let America get COVID,’ Obama said of the Trump administration.
‘Cases wouldn’t be reaching new record highs across the country, some of the places he owes rallies have even seen new spikes after he leaves town,’ he said.
He mocked President Trump’s obsession with crowd size and the president’s repeated claim the crowds at his inauguration were bigger than the crowds at Obama’s, despite photo comparisons showing differently.
‘What is his obsession, by the way, with crowd size?,’ he said. ‘He’s always worried that this is the one measure he has of success.’
‘He’s still worried about his inauguration proud being smaller than mine. It really bugs him. He’s still talking about that,’ he said. ‘Does he have nothing better to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party when he was a kid? Was he traumatized?’
Obama attacked Trump’s handling of the crisis and compared it to what Biden would do.
‘Tweeting it the TV doesn’t fix things, making stuff up doesn’t make people’s lives better,’ he said.
‘You gotta have a plan. You’ve got to put in the work,’ he said. ‘And along with the experience to get things done, Joe Biden has concrete plans and policies that will turn our vision of a better fairer stronger country into reality.’
He pointed out he and Biden fought for the auto industry – which is huge in Michigan – during the economic recession. He said Trump has lost manufacturing jobs.
‘The economic damage inflicted by botching the pandemic response means he’ll be the only president since Herbert Hoover, to actually lose jobs,’ Obama said of Trump. ‘Herbert Hoover. That’s a long time ago.’
The crowd greeted Obama with cheers and shouts.
‘Three days Flint. Three days until the most important election of your lifetime,’ Obama said in his remarks before Biden joined him on stage.
‘All jobs are on the line our health care is on the line whether or not we get this pandemic under control is on the line,’ he said.
Drive-in rally: Joe Biden and Barack Obama were greeted by supporters in cars, all wearing masks – unlike a Trump rally
Getting out the vote: The drive-in rally has become Biden’s method of reaching supporters without breaking social distancing
Roadside support: Supporters were on show outside the high school in Flint where the former president and would-be next president were appearing together – including one in Halloween costume
Love for Obama: The former president is the biggest star draw on the Democratic cmapaign trail – although after the first rally in Flint, he and Biden were appearing in Detroit with Stevie Wonder to drive up African-American enthusiasm
Family: Joe Biden brought granddaughters Natalie (left), whose father was the late Beau Biden, and Maisy (right) whose father is Hunter Biden
Landing: Joe Biden and granddaughters Natalie (left) and Maisy (right) land in Flint Bishop Airport before the drive-in rally with Barack Obama
Campaign clothing: Maisy Biden wore a Biden 2020 top as she got of the campaign plane with her grandfather and cousin Natalie
‘I love your masks,’ Obama told the crowd, who yelled out they loved him.
Biden in his speech compared life in America under Obama to life in America under Trump.
‘You went through eight years without one single trace of scandal, not one single traces scandal,’ he told Obama.
He also addressed fears among some Democrats that Trump would use legal cases to try and stop mail-in ballots from being counted.
‘I don’t care how hard Donald Trump tries. There’s nothing – let me say it again – there’s nothing that he can do to stop the people in this nation from voting in overwhelming numbers and taking back this democracy,’ Biden said.
Biden, talking about President Trump claiming, falsely, that doctors make more money when patients die from COVID-19, said: ‘What in the hell is wrong with this man? Excuse my language.’
‘That may have been there because he doesn’t do anything for other than for money,’ he added.
‘I will never raise the white flag of surrender. We’re gonna beat this virus or we’re gonna get it under control. And the first step to doing that is beating Donald Trump,’ he said.
He said Trump likes to portray himself as a ‘macho man’ but ‘when’s the last time you heard about a president of the United States literally being laughed at by world leaders.’
He called Trump Vladimir Putin’s ‘puppy’ and seemed to indicate he’d like to have punched Trump if they had been in high school together.
‘When you were in high school wouldn’t you have liked to take a shot?,’ he said.
He also listed the long line of retired members of the military who have endorsed him.
‘We have to support our military and get rid of Trump,’ he said.
Obama and Biden are holding drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit, predominantly black cities where strong turnout will be key for a Biden victory on November 3. R&B legend Stevie Wonder will join them in Detroit.
Michigan remains a top target for Biden as he seeks to rebuild the Democrats’ ‘blue wall’ in the Midwest, which includes Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Obama won those three states in his presidential bids but they went from Trump in 2016, handing him the White House.
Biden leads Trump in Michigan by 6.5 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls in the state.
Trump will be in Michigan on Saturday and Sunday for multiple campaign stops. He’ll hold his final rally of the campaign in Grand Rapids, as he did in 2016.
Early voting is already underway in Michigan. As of Tuesday, more than 3.1 million voters have requested absentee ballots and about 2.1 million have returned them, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.