Former president Barack Obama visited Cleveland Thursday night, at a rally for Democrats in Ohio. He shared the stage with the party’s candidate for governor, Richard Cordray, who offered an unabashedly progressive platform for Ohio.
Cordray started his speech in a packed gymnasium in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood with a defense of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
“So here’s what Betty Sutton and I are going to do. We’ll provide more access to affordable health care, bring down the price of prescription drugs and provide more reliable health care to more Ohioans,” Cordray said.
He went on to describe Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature as backward.
“Backward on clean energy,” Cordray said. “Backward on the environment. Backward on reducing gun violence. Backward on equality for all Ohioans. Backward on women’s rights. On all of these issues, we need change.”
The crowd was clearly there to see the former president, who spoke for about 40 minutes after Cordray.
Without naming the current president, Obama leveled sharp criticism at President Trump, calling his administration a threat to democratic institutions.
“Because what’s at stake goes beyond partisan politics,” Obama said. “Because people of both parties and people who don’t have a party affiliation should be concerned with our current course, should be concerned about the basic institutions of our democracy, should want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness to our government.”
Obama credited Democratic candidate for governor Richard Cordray, who Obama appointed to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with helping to turn around the economy after the great recession.
He also criticized Cordray’s Republican opponent, Attorney General Mike DeWine, for suing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act shortly after it passed.
Obama and the other speakers used the rally to deliver a get-out-the-vote message.
“So yes there are differences between the parties but this transcends party,” Obama said. “And what you also have to remember, Ohio, is it’s not good enough for elected officials who look the other way or issue vague statements of disappointment but then don’t do anything, and then just facilitate it or allow it to happen.”
Early voting in Ohio starts in less than a month.