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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

  • "Don't be sitting on the couch!" Obama told those gathered.
  • Obama's former vice president is also hitting the trail this week. President Biden will appear with McAuliffe on Tuesday at a park in Arlington.

The details: Obama didn't shy away from taking aim at GOP gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin.

  • “You can’t run ads telling me you’re a regular ol’ hoops-playing, dish-washing, fleece-wearing guy, but quietly cultivate support from those who seek to tear down our democracy,” said Obama, referencing the tightrope the former businessman has been walking as he tries to remain loyal to Donald Trump to please his conservative base while not alienating the increasingly Democratic-leaning suburbs in Northern Virginia.
  • "We're not going to go back to the chaos that did so much damage," Obama added, again tying Youngkin to the 45th president. "We're going to move forward with people like Terry leading the way."

Go deeper: Glenn Youngkin's play: Forever- and Never-Trumpers

Go deeper

Beto rejects Trump as foil

Beto O'Rourke on the campaign trail while running for Senate in 2018. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrat Beto O'Rourke, sprinting through his second day on the campaign trail with stops in San Antonio and Laredo, signaled he'll avoid the playbook that failed Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, telling Axios, "Trump doesn't live in Texas. Biden doesn't live in Texas. Thirty million of us are what's most important to me."

Driving the news: O'Rourke called on President Biden to place a greater emphasis on protecting voting rights, when he spoke with Axios on Tuesday, sketching a framework for his strategy in what's widely seen as an uphill fight to unseat Gov. Greg Abbott.

Sizing up the Illinois GOP's 2022 midterm chances

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) attends a news conference outside the Capitol. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has yet to sign the new congressional map into law, but that hasn't stopped some candidates from jockeying for early positions for the midterms.

Why it matters: Illinois Republicans are energized after the GOP's gubernatorial win in Virginia, hoping the momentum swings the state from blue to red.

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."