Obama Endorses Alabama Senate Candidate Doug Jones & The Way He Did It Is Clearly Directed At Trump
In an eleventh hour pitch to Alabama voters, former President Barack Obama has recorded a robocall for Doug Jones, urging Alabamans to vote for the Democrat in Tuesday's special Senate election. Obama called Jones a "fighter for equality" and told voters the race is too important to sit out, according to CNN.
"Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress," Obama said in a pre-recorded message, which went out to Alabama voters Monday. "Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama."
"This one's serious," Obama added in his call. "You can't sit it out." Obama's message does not mention Roy Moore, Jones' opponent, by name."
This is the second time in many months that Obama has weighed in on an off-year election: Earlier in the year, he traveled to Virginia to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam. Obama's call also comes days after President Trump, who by all indications holds a deep resentment for Obama, recorded his own robocall in the race for Roy Moore.
"We need Roy voting for us and stopping illegal immigration and crime, rebuilding a stronger military and protecting the Second Amendment and our pro-life values," Trump said of Moore in his robocall. "Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our 'Make America Great Again' agenda."
Obama's robocall comes after several other high-profile Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker and former Gov. Deval Patrick traveled to Alabama to stump on Jones' behalf. In addition, Politico reports that Biden has plans to record his own robocall on the Democratic candidate's behalf.
Some of Jones' allies, however, worry that enlisting the help of out-of-state Democrats is a risky strategy in deep-red Alabama. According to the New York Times, the Jones campaign was still deciding, as of Sunday night, whether or not to actually use the Obama robocall. The worry among some is that while Obama remains popular among black voters, his involvement could alienate moderate Republican voters the Jones campaign is hoping to court. On Sunday morning, the official Twitter account of Breitbart News linked to a news story about the Obama robocalls and added, sarcastically, "That oughta do it." Breitbart executive chair Steve Bannon is a staunch Moore supporter.
At the same time, however, Obama is more popular in Alabama than Trump. The Jones campaign ultimately green-lit the robocall, and RollCall reports that it will likely go out on Monday night to a "few hundred thousand traditionally Democratic voters."
Polling in the Alabama election has been volatile: Although Moore led in most public opinion surveys, his numbers plummeted after a number of women accused him of sexual misconduct. Moore said Sunday that "these allegations are completely false" and denied knowing any of the women who have accused him.
Nevertheless, Moore slowly recovered his lead and is considered the modest favorite — although a Fox News survey released the day before the election showed Jones leading Moore by 10 percentage points. However, polling experts have cautioned not to put too much faith in the poll numbers coming out of Alabama, given that it's an off-year election in a state that doesn't have very many top-notch pollsters to begin with.
The race had already drawn national attention, thanks to the allegations against Moore and the possibility that Alabama might elect a Democrat to the Senate for the first time since 1992. The fact that the two most recent U.S. presidents have now directly involved themselves in the election raises the stakes even more, and is an early test of how much Trump and Obama, simply through the power of their endorsements, have the ability to sway a close election.