Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Obama visits Maine to endorse Michaud

Posted on November 03, 2014 in News
By Sam Hill

Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros
Sam Hill | The Free Press
Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros
Justicia Barreiros

President Barack Obama stirred and energized a crowd of 3,000 people at the Portland Expo on Thursday, endorsing Mike Michaud in Maine’s gubernatorial race just five days before elections.

Obama cited Michaud’s roots and dedication to the average Mainer as reasons for voters to check his box in the booth on Tuesday.

“He ran for the state legislature not because he wanted to be someone but because he wanted to do something, he wanted to fight for something,” said Obama, headlining other speakers from the democratic party. “Mike’s been fighting ever since for ordinary Mainers because that’s who he is.”

According to polls released by Bangor Daily News last week, Michaud will be battling incumbent Governor Paul LePage vote-for-vote on election day, with both of them polling near 42 percent with Maine voters.

Independent candidate Eliot Cutler, who has been polling far behind, told supporters last week to vote for other candidates, but did not endorse LePage or Michaud directly. That same day, U.S. Senator Angus King changed his endorsement from Cutler to Michaud, noting he was a more realistic choice at this point in the race.

“You have a chance to choose a governor who puts you first,” Obama said.

Michaud spoke on recent polling, telling the audience that they could sway the election’s results simply by talking to their friends and family about voting and knocking on a door or two.

“What we do over the next five days will have a profound impact in the lives of thousands of Mainers. We are being held back by one person and one person only,” said Michaud, referring to LePage and speaking directly before Obama.

“You are all here today because, like me, you are not satisfied with what you’ve seen over the past four years,” said Michaud. “This is your state. You know we can do better and we must do better. This is your state and in five days you can take it back.”

Obama noted that Maine’s last gubernatorial race was just as tight as this year’s and stressed that just a small number of people can make a difference on election day.

“Four years ago, republicans won the governor’s race in Maine by less than 18 votes per precinct,” he said. “18 votes. Those 18 votes could be the difference between an economy that works for everybody or just for some.”

“Mike’s got a different vision for what the future holds and I think you do too,” said Obama. “In America, prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top. We build ladders for people to get into the middle class. We think the economy works best when it works for the many, not for the few. That’s Mike’s experience. That’s his life.”

Former Maine Senator George Mitchell also endorsed Michaud and spoke on his Maine roots as well, after speaking on the victories of the democratic party throughout history, such as creating Social Security, expanding voting rights and continuing to fight for women.

“Mike Michaud will never forget his roots as a working class man from the town of East Millinocket,” Mitchell said. “He respects others, he listens to people including those who disagree with him. He will never insult or look down on anyone else regardless of their circumstance.”

Both Obama and Michaud encouraged the crowd to go out of their way during the weekend to talk to everyone they knew about voting.

“If you’ve come to this rally, you’re probably going to vote,” said Obama. “You can’t stop at voting, you’ve got to get involved. Talk to your neighbors and knock on some doors for Mike.”

Toward the end of his 27-minute speech, Obama returned to themes of hope that he regularly used during his own campaign speeches, campaigns he says he’ll miss after his second presidential term expires. He urged the crowd to vote for Maine’s future and a hard working candidate instead of succumbing to political cynicism.

“Cynicism didn’t put a man on the moon,” Obama said. “Cynicism has never ended a war, or cured disease, or built a business or taught a young mind … Hope is what built America. Show that you still have hope, and go out there and vote on Nov. 4.”