In a new campaign ad, former president Barack Obama appears alongside his VP, Joe Biden. The “socially distant” ad shows the two former White House inhabitants discussing Trump and his response to the pandemic. “Can you imagine standing up when you were president and saying ‘It’s not my responsibility. I take no responsibility.’ Literally. Literally,” Biden asks Obama.
Obama emphatically agrees with Biden, stating “Those words didn’t come out of our mouths when we were in office.”
The ad, which is a teaser for a longer interview, “A Socially Distant Conversation,” trolls the Trump Administration. President Donald Trump has famously resented his predecessor. He has taken steps to roll back many of Obama’s policies and legislative accomplishments. By appearing alongside Biden, the likely Democrat candidate in November, Obama is sending a strong message.
Biden Campaign Carrying Momentum
Biden’s campaign is carrying a lot of momentum into the end of summer. Public polling shows that Donald Trump is trailing his opponent by some eleven percentage points in national approval ratings. The public has responded badly to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Biden campaign has seized on this. It makes sense that they would take this opportunity to hammer the current administration.
In the campaign ad, Obama and Biden emphasize that they’re taking the pandemic seriously. They wear masks as they enter Obama’s office. They sit further than six feet apart. The two men don’t shake hands or embrace; instead, they each offer a polite inclination of the head. This is a marked departure from President Trump, who has, until recently, resisted calls to wear a mask in public.
Public Perception Is Turning
In the video, Obama touches on what many think is Biden’s strongest trait as a candidate and politician: empathy. “It all starts with being able to relate,” the former president begins. “If you can sit down with a family and see your own family in them and the struggles that you’ve gone through or your parents went through or your kids are going through — if you can connect those struggles to somebody else’s struggles, then you are going to work hard for them.”
This echoes the public perception, according to polling. This is a time when people would normally be buying OTC antihistamine nasal spray for seasonal allergies. But they’re instead focusing on wearing masks and avoiding a virulent respiratory disease. Meanwhile, the president continues to downplay the impact of the virus on the average American.