ATLANTA — Former President Barack Obama had one word for the large crowd of people gathered in their cars Monday — “tomorrow."
Beneath the 1996 Olympic cauldron perched over downtown Atlanta, Obama pleaded with the crowd to recognize the importance of every vote cast by Georgians in the election.
In a fiery 40-minute speech, Obama mirrored growing Democratic enthusiasm that has spread through many parts of the Peach State — even in unexpected counties where Republicans have long held the majority.
"Right here in Georgia, you’ve got an even bigger power to deliver the change that we need. You can be a state that sends Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House,” he said.
But the 44th president did not only mean delivering electoral votes in the bid for president, but sending candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate
Obama said he never thought he’d be in Georgia a day before the election, but the world is not how he expected it to be when he left office.
“Georgia could be the state, Georgia could be the place where we put this country back on track,” he said.
Obama slammed both U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler as politicians who “badly need to be replaced” after allegations surfaced they traded related stocks following a closed-door briefing on the dangers of COVID-19 during the first weeks of the pandemic.
“Georgia wasn’t on their mind,” he said.
The Republicans argue they were cleared after federal investigations but Georgia Democrats have used the allegations as ammunition throughout the campaign cycle.
Obama reminded the crowd that Ossoff learned under the late John Lewis, while making his case for the two Senate hopefuls. Warnock was an activist for Medicaid expansion before becoming a candidate, he said.
But no matter the arguments, he said, there are still people out there who choose not to vote.
Obama appealed directly to Georgians who may not plan to take advantage of their constitutional right to vote or who may have lost faith in the system.
He had one message: Don’t be discouraged.
“When we work together, when we put in a little bit of effort, things might not be perfect but they do get better,” Obama said. "When John Lewis started marching across that bridge, it did not eliminate racism and bigotry in America but it started something that got the Voting Rights Act passed. It made things better."
If you elect the right candidates, he appealed.
"You’ve got to do the work. It’s all up to you now," Obama said. "I’m asking you in your ability to believe in Jon Ossoff, Rev. Warnock, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, but most importantly your collective ability to get us out of these dark times, and help us build back better.”