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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.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Podcasts

What California’s recall election and the Texas abortion law have in common

California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom survived a Republican-led effort to recall him from office this week. Axios' Margaret Talev says new polling points to some GOP voters pushing back on the party.

  • Plus, research into kids and long COVID.
  • And, crab cakes are the latest supply-chain headache.

Guests: Axios' Margaret Talev, Tina Reed, and Michael Graff.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Alex Sugiura, and Michael Hanf. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Mike Allen, author of AM
22 mins ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.