By Adriana Doria
PHILADELPHIA—President Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama joined Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Senate candidate John Fetterman on the campaign trail for a rally here on Saturday.
Obama emphasized that democracy is on the ballot and encouraged those in the audience to make their voices heard.
“A lot of folks don’t pay a ton of attention to politics the way they do in a presidential year. Maybe they don’t think Congress matters as much. Maybe they don’t think their vote will matter,” Obama said. “Fundamental rights … reason and decency are on the ballot.”
President Biden told the crowd that Republican control will lead to abortion bans and the removal of women’s rights across the country, but said that by electing Democrats such as Fetterman and Shapiro, the right to choose will be left between an individual and their doctor.
“But if we elect John Fetterman to the Senate and keep control of the House, we can restore the right to choose in this country by codifying Roe v. Wade and make it the law of the land,” Biden said. “With Josh Shapiro as governor, there will be no ban in Pennsylvania.”
The pro-abortion rights message resonated with several people who waited for hours in line for the event at Temple University
Michele Roby, a Pennsylvania resident who was wearing a “pro-choice, pro Fetterman” pin, said she has always been pro-choice and it was a reason she came to the event.
“To have anybody make a decision for somebody not knowing the background, I think it’s just not right,” Roby said.
Those in the crowd included out-of-state voters who traveled to show their support for the candidates and the party.
Dani Jackson, a New Jersey voter, said she was especially excited to see the former president.
“It’s a really cool event to see, the support for Fetterman and everything…I’d like to see all of them together and come together for the Democratic party and try to make some change in America,” she said, and that “everything” is on the line.
“It has to do with rights, you know, at this point in terms of human rights, women’s rights,” Jackson said.
The Pennsylvania election has been in the national spotlight for months, as many experts said the results could determine the balance of power in Washington.
Obama went on to emphasize the need for optimism ahead of the election.“The kind of slash-and-burn politics we’re seeing right now? That doesn’t have to be who we are. We can be better,” Obama said.