June 11th, 2012
11:12 PM ET
6 years ago

Barber: I will vote for Obama

(CNN) - On the eve of the Arizona special election to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic candidate Ron Barber reaffirmed his support for President Barack Obama on Monday, despite distancing himself from the president throughout much of the campaign.

"When it comes to the November election, I will support the president. I will vote for him, because quite clearly his policies will benefit the middle class much more than his opponent’s," Barber said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

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A former Giffords aide, Barber was critically injured during last year's mass shooting that killed six and injured 13 others, including Giffords, who received a gunshot wound to the head. She resigned in January, about one year after the shooting.

In Tuesday's election–the winner of which will finish the remainder of Giffords' term this year–Barber faces Republican opponent Jesse Kelly, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran who challenged Giffords in 2010 but came up 4,000 votes short.

The 8th Congressional District covers Tucson and parts of Southeast Arizona. Due to the district's largely Republican leanings, Democrats tend to veer more toward the middle while campaigning.

Barber, himself, faced pushback after declining to answer whether he would vote for the president during a debate earlier this cycle. His aides soon clarified and said the candidate would support the president.

However, Barber on Monday repeatedly referred to the criticism as a diversion driven by his Republican rival.

"I think that's a distraction that my opponent has tried to use to move us away from what's really important to the people of Arizona," he said.

While special elections during the summer generally drum up low turnout, the Arizona race has gained high-profile status, given the attention surrounding Giffords and because the race marks the final Congressional election prior to November.

Little polling has been done, but political observers expect it to be a tight finish between Barber and Kelly.

Sitting alongside Barber, Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, also weighed in on the race Monday, saying the congresswoman personally requested that Barber run for the office.

"At the end of the day, Gaby turned to Ron and basically asked Ron to do this," Kelly said. "It was absolutely the right decision."

Giffords and her husband, who both now live in Texas for her recovery, traveled to Arizona this weekend to campaign for Barber.

- CNN's Susanna Capelouto contributed to this report.

Also see:

Axelrod weighs in on Obama's private sector comments

Romney video goes after Obama's comments on economy

Daniels, Walker want Romney to go bold

McCain: Obama responsible for leaks, Holder has no credibility

Filed under: 2012 • Arizona
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. sahara

    You have always remained a very courageous man and worthy servant to our rep Gifford's, with that i think u have my vote though am republican, but this time, i will vote Democrat, Gabby was a gentle soul and outstanding lady. Keep the good work

    June 11, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Damn right you will vote for him!

    June 12, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  3. Thomas

    This election comes down to one issue !

    Those still watching the Lawrence Welk show and those that are not !

    Mitt Romney / Pat Boone
    Tutti Frutti Bop Ban Boom 2012

    June 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  4. DJ

    Oh darn. I thought this would be about Haley Barbour voting for Obama and THAT would be newsworthy!

    June 12, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  5. Sydnium S. Washington, EC, HOTD

    Dems for Obama. Repubs for Romney. Former Dems for Romney. Former Repubs are scattering.

    June 12, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    Very good. We LOVE you, Yes, obama12....

    June 12, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well, that's funny. It's Obama's Policies that are killing the Middle Class. Business won't-can't hire because of Obama Care and strangling Regulations. Did he not hear about the vote in Wisconsin ??

    June 12, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is either what he believes or he has been pressured into it. Frankly, it sounds good to me.

    June 12, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  9. Jerry

    Ron Bar-bell, just one simple question: What planet have you been living in for the last 3-1/2 years?! You are either stupid or you have been secretly gulping the Mr. Obama spiked Kool Aid.

    Mr. Obama's policies are better?! Our country is going down the tubes especially because of Mr. Obama's policies. As a life-long Democrat; Mr. Bar-Bell, are you kidding me?!

    June 12, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  10. v_mag

    In the large marjority of states, where the electoral college disenfranchises you, the only meaningful vote is a protest vote. If you live in Texas or some other locked-in red or blue state, your vote adds absolutely nothing to the total of your selected candidate. No matter how you vote, unless you live in a so-called swing state, your vote is totally meaningless.

    I don't care if you vote or don't vote for president. Just don't expect it to count.

    June 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Democrats, I'll say it over and over again, the ONLY good thing you can learn from this embarrassing things that call themselves Rethuglicans is how to stick together.
    United you stand, divided you'll fall...right into their greedy little hands.
    Obama 2012. Because the alternative is a bad joke on "AMERCIA".

    June 12, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    That should've been:' These embarrassing things". Pardon me.

    June 12, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. tv22

    What a shocker, a Dem congressman supports the President. In other news, it mysteriously got light around 6:30AM this morning.

    June 12, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |