MILWAUKEE — President Barack Obama touted his signature health care law as he urged support for Democrats up and down the ticket, saying they will “protect your care.”
He also railed against Gov. Scott Walker for saying he’d back pre-existing condition protections despite the state’s involvement in a lawsuit looking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. He specifically called out an ad earlier this month where Walker guaranteed those protections would exist “as long as I’m governor.”
“That’s what your governor is doing in these ads, just making stuff up,” Obama said. “What he’s saying is not true.”
Obama, speaking this afternoon in front of some 3,500 at North Division High School in Milwaukee, slammed Republicans for spending “the last eight years obsessed with trying to undermine, sabotage, repeal that law that makes sure you’re not discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions.”
And he lauded Dem guv candidate Tony Evers for his pledge to accept the federal Medicaid expansion dollars under Obamacare, urging the crowd to vote him and Dem legislative candidates. While praising the guv hopeful, Obama repeatedly mispronounced Evers’ name, which rhymes with weavers.
Appearing onstage with Evers and Tammy Baldwin, Obama also touted the U.S. senator as someone “you can count on” to protect pre-existing condition coverage in Congress.
He also warned the crowd if the GOP maintains its hold on the House and Senate, Republicans are likely to again try to repeal Obamacare and impacting pre-existing condition coverage.
“Wisconsin, you can’t afford to let Tammy’s opponent become the deciding vote that guts your protections against the insurance companies,” Obama said.
GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir knocked Obama on Twitter for failing to acknowledge Baldwin “wants to boot 3.4 MILLION Wisconsinites off employer insurance and destroy Medicare” through her support of a single-payer health care plan.
“Remember @BarackObama lied to you when he said ‘if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.’ He’s lying again now,” she wrote.
The 44th president also took a dig at Walker over three of his past cabinet secretaries — former WEDC CEO Paul Jadin, former Financial Institutions Secretary Peter Bildsten and former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall — for knocking the guv and announcing they back Evers.
“If somebody who had worked for me said right before an election, ‘he’s terrible, I’m supporting the other guy,’ I would feel bad about myself,” Obama said to laughs from the crowd. “But they don’t cause there’s no shame.”
Walker campaign spokesman Austin Altenburg shot back, calling Walker someone who’s kept his promises, delivered results “and has a plan to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come.”
Obama also denounced politicians’ rhetoric and demanded that they “step up” and stop “shamelessly lying,” and he called on supporters to rise above attempts from “the powerful and the privileged” to divide them and “pit us against one another.”
“The good news, Wisconsin, is right now you can reject that kind of politics,” he said. “You can choose a bigger, more vocal, more generous version of America. But to do it you’ve got to vote.”
Obama urged the crowd to turn out in support of Dems to “break (Republicans’) grip” and combat gerrymandered state-level and congressional maps. He added GOP actions in 2011 meant the state became “one of the worst gerrymandered” in the nation.
Given the current maps, Obama said Dems across the country “are going to have to win a lot more votes just to stay even.”
Meanwhile, Baldwin and Evers, who both spoke before Obama, also called on the crowd to turn out while highlighting health care and other issues.
Evers pledged he’d push policies to cover pre-existing conditions and give women the “right to make (their) own health care decisions,” as well as pump funding into K-12, transportation and infrastructure.
He also knocked Walker for spending “the last eight years trying to divide us,” adding: “But you will not conquer us.”
“We’re going to do all these things because I know as well as you do because what unites us is far bigger than what divides us,” he said. “We can unite this state on Nov. 6.”
Baldwin trashed the GOP tax overhaul bill, saying it was one of the “incredibly disappointing moments that show us how powerful those special interests are.”
But she also highlighted other “incredible efforts that at least for now have succeeded,” including the Senate’s narrow defeat in summer 2017 of a bill to repeal the ACA.
“You made that moment possible, you made that moment possible,” she told the crowd.
She also recounted her memory of Obama signing the ACA into law, saying: “I felt that a lot of the work that I had engaged in for many, many years was being seen through.”
See a CBS News video of Obama’s comments.