“You don’t have to wonder what kind of governor Terry will be because you know what a great governor he was,” said Biden. “It wasn’t just because of what he promised. He delivered that. “
Biden’s speech then became a sweeping reprimand from Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin and ultimately a reprimand from Donald Trump.
“But how well do you know Terry’s opponent?” Said Biden. “Remember: I ran against Donald Trump. And Terry is running for an award from Donald Trump. ”
Biden’s swearword hit Trump on everything from his allegations of election fraud, the January 6 pandemic and riot to the former president’s recent attacks on former Secretary of State Colin Powell after his death. He criticized Youngkin, who recently tried to distance himself from the former president, for standing with Trump.
Biden said next to nothing about the negotiations on his signature welfare and infrastructure legislation taking place across the Potomac, instead delving into issues that have ruled the governor’s race for the past few days. Before taking the stage, McAuliffe’s aides distributed books by the late Toni Morrison after Youngkin featured in an advertisement earlier this week a woman who tried to ban Morrison’s 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved, from public schools . Biden later discovered that his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, had traveled to Princeton University to interview the author and dismissed Youngkin as ignorant.
McAuliffe did not hesitate to reinforce this message when addressing the crowd in front of Biden.
“Glenn Youngkin is promoting the ban on books by one of America’s most famous black authors,” said McAuliffe, adding that he “bothers” that Youngkin is using education to divide the state.
Youngkin’s focus on education may explain, in part, the intensified race, the second top issue for Virginians as they decide who to vote for on November 2nd after jobs and economics. Just last week, a poll by Monmouth University showed the candidates are bogged down, with both standing at 46 percent support among registered voters.
The president’s quick stopover in Arlington also comes as he faces alarming polling figures in Virginia and across the country. (He still had high Democratic support, with 84 percent approval and plus 10 preferences in Northern Virginia.)
Virginia is not a loss the Democrats want to explain. With the McAuliffe-Youngkin duel just days away, the president and party are leaning towards these early elections as a referendum on the presidency and a glimpse of challenging congressional elections in 2022.
Over the weekend, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison and other party officials promoted Democratic investment in Virginia, as well as visits from Biden, the First Lady and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“We’re all in,” Harrison said at a McAuliffe rally in Richmond over the weekend. “Virginia is very important; We want to make sure that we reject the vote. “
Biden’s open approach is a break with Barack Obama, whose team distanced the former president from the Democratic gubernatorial campaigns in 2009 and 2013.
Virginia’s off-year elections don’t always predict the future. McAuliffe, for example, won in 2013 and opposed the state’s tendency to elect a governor from the party that is not in the White House. Still, on Tuesday night, Biden exuded a sense of urgency as he spoke about the importance of the gubernatorial election for Virginia and the rest of the country.
“Virginia, come over,” said the President. “Show up as you did for Barack and me. Appear like you did for me and Kamala. Appear for a proven leader like Terry McAuliffe. Show yourself for democracy. For Virginia. For the United States of America. “
Christopher Cadelago contributed to this report.