President Barack Obama and Rep. Ed Markey, June 12. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
President Barack Obama on Wednesday wore his campaign hat and inserted himself into the Massachusetts Senate special election—a key race for both parties as they seek to lay claim to the traditionally Democratic-leaning state.
Obama used Wednesday's appearance in Roxbury Crossing, Mass., to tout Democratic Rep. Ed Markey's experience, alluding to the comparison between the lawmaker and his Republican opponent, political newcomer Gabriel Gomez.
Obama said Markey is "tested" and has a "track record" on fighting for the middle class, education, the environment and health care.
"I've got to have folks with me" who stand up for "working people," Obama said. "I need Ed Markey in the United States Senate."
Noting former Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry and current Sen. Elizabeth Warren, he encouraged voters to support Markey as someone who would continue the legacy established by Massachusetts' Democratic senators.
Markey is running on June 25 to succeed Kerry, who resigned earlier this year to serve as secretary of state. Both parties are looking to boost potentially game-changing participation for the special election, an election that typically draws lower-than-average turnout.
Obama conceded as much during his speech, encouraging supporters to connect with family and friends who usually participate only in politics surrounding presidential elections. And at a campaign stop at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in Boston before his remarks, Obama reminded patrons about the importance of their participation.
"I want to make sure you know that there's going to be an election coming up for Congressman Markey to send him to the Senate," Obama said, according to the pool report. "I want to make sure everybody turns out and votes. All right? This guy has been fighting for Massachusetts for a very long time, and he cares deeply about all the folks here. I know it seems like there's an election every other week, but this one's important."
Obama also addressed his own elections, joking at one point that wife Michelle Obama is "very happy" he's "run my last campaign."
Despite that comment, the Markey event took on a very campaign-style feel for Obama, with the president using it to broadly make the case for his own agenda. During the course of the president's speech, he touched on his push to revive manufacturing, his health care law, women's equality, the war in Iraq, budget battles, gun control, infrastructure investment and other topics.
He said Markey was in part necessary in the Senate to help implement the president's health care law.
The crowd was full of supporters who at times chanted the president's name and thanked him for his service.
Protesters, including many opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, also greeted the president outside the event on Wednesday.
Obama's speech on Wednesday was absent the type of attacks Vice President Joe Biden used Tuesday night to drum up support for Markey at a Washington D.C., fundraiser.
There, Biden said Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election and attacked freshman Republican tea party stars in the Senate.
"This man was elected president of the United States of America," Biden said of the former vice president, who also delivered remarks at the Markey fundraiser.
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