Analysis: NBC's Katy Tur returned to the campaign trail because that the very first time in two years come see two presidents supplying dueling midterm visions.

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President Donald trump card speaks throughout a rally because that Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp on Nov. 4 in Macon, left, and also former president Barack Obama projects for democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in Atlanta ~ above Nov. 2.AP; EPA
ATLANTA — The 44th and also 45th presidents that the United claims flew right into Georgia end the weekend, campaigning for your party"s candidate for governor and also offering maybe the clearest apples-to-apples compare on screen in the 2018 midterms with their dueling visions because that a divided country.

I visited both rallies to shot to number out what was driving voters and also to recognize who to be the an ext inspiring president to their bases in 2018.


I came right into the weekend only knowing two points for sure. One, I’d never ever covered chairman Barack Obama top top the follow before. In fact, I’d never ever been come a project rally without Donald Trump. And two, I invested 510 days spanning Donald trump card on the trail in 2015 and 2016, yet hadn’t to be to one of his rallies due to the fact that the transition.

Obama in Atlanta

First up was Obama. ~ above Friday, that stumped for autonomous gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in ~ Morehouse university in Atlanta, a historically black liberal arts institution. It was packed, a sold-out group of 6,000 that didn"t look at like any type of other crowd I had actually seen in ~ a political occasion before. The room was almost entirely African-American — the exact opposite of Trump’s crowds. Yet the distinctions were an ext than skin deep.


Nearly everything about this rally was brand-new to me. The mood, the message, the attitude, the stagecraft, also the garments the supporters wore to be different. Up till Friday, every rally I’d been to looked an ext like a pageant of red, white and also blue, festooned through American flag scarfs, eagles top top shirts, patriotic sequins, and the deeper we obtained into 2016, MAGA Hats, "Lock her Up" tees, and Donald Trump’s face anywhere you might fit it.

Obama supporters came in day-to-day street clothes. A couple of had "Hope and Change" on your chests. One mrs wore a "Still mine President" T-shirt and some wore "Abrams for Governor" gear. Virtually none had signs and most preserved their assistance to a sticker or a pin.

And they were happy to speak to reporters, happy come share your views and argue for their candidate.

They talked around healthcare, the economy, and finding someone who will stand for them. Castle worried about a political divide that looks favor an unbridgeable chasm and a sitting president that they speak is just making things worse. Few of them had actually waited in line every night to hear Obama speak.

Javien Moore, an 18-year-old college student at Morehouse who confirmed up in a corresponding maroon university sweatsuit, told me the he and his girlfriend Charles come out to check out Obama since they want to feel influenced again.

“The morals of our country need to be rekindled,” Moore said me issue of factly. Both young men say lock voted for the an initial time this year — and also they vote early.

“I feel like no matter who"s walk to it is in in fee there"s walking to be an issue with them,” Charles said. “But i feel like having actually the right world in the right place will do us far better as a ar rather than tear united state apart.”

Outside, in prior of one oversize hand-painted portrait of Obama, Cheryl scale counted all the factors she was supporting Abrams: “She"s qualified. She"s talented. She"s inclusive. She has actually incredible policies.” Scales, who owns a construction breakthrough firm and hands out company cards v her portrait on the front, didn’t obtain into specifics however said race and gender were absolutely a aspect in she decision.

“Selfishly? I"m a black woman. I want to view the an initial black governor who is a mrs in this country.” She claimed there to be nothing she liked around Abrams" GOP opponent, Brian Kemp.


Back inside, Obama came into the gym indigenous a side door and also bounded increase a small flight that stairs to the stage. At Trump rallies, the screams of the crowd might drown the end a jet plane. Obama’s pendant screamed too but it sounded various — one unbridled pleasure that I have the right to only compare to what I’ve watched on old newsreels throughout Beatlemania, which is probably why both john McCain and also Mitt Romney depicted him as a popular music star.

On stage, his voice raspy from recent campaigning, Obama talked about health care, recall the crowd that the Republicans have voted multiple times to repeal Obamacare.

"So currently it"s choice season and also suddenly, magically, Republicans room out there to run ads saying we"re walk to safeguard you if you"ve acquired pre-existing conditions," Obama said as a guy in the group chanted “lies, lies, lies.”

He accused Kemp that trying to “disenfranchise people” and also told folks the “character that our nation is top top the ballot.”

At one point, with a less-than-perfect sound system and Obama’s voice cultivation increasingly hoarse, the group shushed itself to shot and hear the better. Obama leaned right into the microphone. Unlike Trump had actually done at time in 2016, Obama no yell at his breakthrough man or declare that he i will not ~ pay the sound guy.

But more than anything else, Obama had one real article for the evening: Vote, vote, vote.

“When words stop definition anything, when people can just make stuff up and there’s no consequences, democracy can’t work,” that said. “The only guardian of reality is you. You and your vote."

Trump in Macon

On Sunday, ns was 90 miles away in Macon to check out Trump project for Brian Kemp, Georgia"s Secretary that State.

It to be my very first Trump rally in two years yet nothing had readjusted — the same adoring crowds, exact same MAGA gear and also same “Women because that Trump” signs. There were socks stamped through Trump’s face and shirts emblazoned through some new slogans, including: “TRUMP 2020 the Sequel: make the liberals Cry Again.”

One of the more an imaginative T-shirts, if a bit muddled in that is message, claimed “Keg stand Kavanaugh,” featuring picture of the newest can be fried Court justice’s challenge surrounded through red, white and also blue beer kegs.

Max Colvin called me his number-one worry was the economy and also jobs. “I think the president has actually done a wonderful job and even though ns still unemployed it is OK,” the said. Colvin, who said he offered to check out the weather on a neighborhood radio station in Macon, think the president simply needs more time to help him discover a job.

“It’s not also been 2 years yet," that said. "All the indicators are pointing to a much better economy every job and more jobs. Everyone is speak we’re walk to have inflation but if you have actually a job and you’re making good money execute you care what a bread of bread costs?”


The President’s honesty didn’t matter. Nobody batted in ~ an eye when I request them around Trump’s an obstacle with the truth, instead suggesting that “he tries his best.” some parroted that by blaming the media. No one ns spoke v at the airport tarmac rally reliable a mainstream outlet beyond Fox News. More than a few people wore INFOWARS shirts.

“Not CNN. I don’t desire to to speak Facebook however I execute read a most statistics,” explained Phil Slowther, that was attract socks decorated v cartoons of Trump’s face. Asked where he gets his statistics, Slowther told me castle come indigenous “little side organizations.” He claims he decides what to trust by utilizing his usual sense and also praying ~ above it.

Meredith Koehler to be wearing a red MAGA hat, dark sunglasses, and a chunky rhinestone necklace. She called me she just needs to walk one ar for she news: “Fair and also balanced. I only watch Fox.”

Al Harper claimed he didn’t to trust reporters like me because 90 percent of the coverage is negative, a favourite Trump talking point. I countered that most politicians indigenous both parties would say the same and also that it no our job to perform PR because that the president. “Your job to call the truth,” the said. “If she leaning 90 percent one way, how can it it is in the truth?”

When it came to Abrams versus Kemp, Deborah Ellis, one African-American mrs handing out Kemp stickers, claimed the decision to be easy.

“I feel prefer African-Americans have to stop looking at her shade of she skin, and also listen come what she says, and also what she stands for,” Ellis said. “It shouldn’t be a gyeongju issue about any of this. It should be who is the ideal person because that the job.”

They all told me they worried around immigration and also the caravan. Lock didn’t want Georgia to become a sanctuary state or a haven because that liberals. They all claimed they’d poll for trump card again in 2020.

None claimed they believed in Democrats, who some define as “socialists.”

Even the rally music was mostly the same as it was in 2016. Elton John"s "Tiny Dancer" was back on the playlist. So was "I desire It that Way," through the Backstreet Boys. And it to be still play at 95 decibels.

After hrs of wait on the plane tarmac, Trump arised to "Rockin" in the totally free World," through Neil Young. The DJ had actually to play it double to get the time right.

The president walked from the aircraft to the stage. Only this time, the plane wasn’t the black color one through his name on it in big gold block letters, together it was 2 years ago. It to be blue and white v The United claims of America in one understated Caslon typeface. I’ll admit that was a first for me. I’d never seen Air force One in person. Most of the folks about me hadn’t either. They were understandably awed.

As Trump take it the stage slowly clapping and also soaking in the affirmation, the crowd let the end an earsplitting cheer the sounded favor one long guttural roar. “We won’t walk back,” castle chanted, complied with later by “Trump, Trump, Trump” and also “win, win, win.”

It took much less than 5 minutes before the president pointed out Hillary Clinton. The crowd bit and also launched right into a resounding rendition of “lock she up.” A small later on lock repurposed it because that a Kavanaugh accuser, that Trump said completely recanted her story.

He called attendees the Democrats want to eliminate borders, they want to permit in criminals that will hurt their family, and would enable “illegals” to vote. And, the said, Democrats desire to take it away your guns.

He dubbed Abrams “one that the most extreme, far-left political leaders in the whole country” and also warned Georgians she desires to turn their state right into Venezuela. Unequal Obama, who retained bringing his message earlier to Abrams, the candidate he to be there support, trump only mentioned Kemp sparingly. In Macon, that made the clear that the headliner was.

In all, the weekend might be synthetic up in two straightforward appeals to the base. Hope, Change, and Healthcare, matches Caravans, Guns, and also Defiance.

They space the slogans of two Americas. The question to be worked out on Tuesday is i beg your pardon America has much more people in it.

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Katy Tur is the hold of "MSNBC Live" at 2 p.m. And a correspondent because that NBC News. She is the author of the new York Times finest seller "Unbelievable," around her time spanning Donald Trump during the 2016 election, for which she additionally won a Cronkite Award.