Sep 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Obama backs Newsom in TV ad ahead of California recall vote

Then- President Barack Obama greets Kamala Harris (L) and Gavin Newsom in California in 2011

Kamala Harris, then California's attorney general, greets Gavin Newsom, then the state's lieutenant governor, and then- President Obama in San Francisco in 2011. Photo : Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called on California voters to reject the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom in a TV ad launched statewide on Thursday.

Why it matters: Obama is the latest high-profile Democrat to back Newsom against GOP-led efforts to oust him. Newsom faces challenges from numerous candidates, including conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who's emerged as his biggest threat. Elder's image is featured in Obama's ad.

What he's saying: Obama tells voters in the ad they have a "big choice" to make in Tuesday's election, praising Newsom for his pandemic response measures.

  • "Republicans are trying to recall him from office and overturn common-sense COVID safety measures for health care workers and school staff," Obama says.
  • "Your vote could be the difference between protecting our kids and putting them at risk, helping Californians recover or taking us backward."

The big picture: Newsom has had the support of leading Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who have campaigned for Newsom in California.

  • President Biden is expected to campaign for Newsom early next week, according to Politico, which first reported news of Obama's ad.
  • Elder told reporters Tuesday that top Democrats were backing Newsom because they're "scared to death" he'll lose, per CNN.
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