Gov. Gavin Newsom struck a somber tone in his annual remarks to Californians on Tuesday, warning that the state’s democratic values are at stake while taking the opportunity to castigate Republican opponents for rolling back reproductive rights and failing to pass meaningful immigration reform.

“This year, we face another extraordinary moment in history — for California, for the country, and for the world,” he said. “We are presented with a choice between a society that embraces our values and a world darkened by division and discrimination.”

For a State of the State address, Newsom’s speech leaned heavily into national issues, playing up his role as a surrogate for President Joe Biden ahead of the first presidential debate with Donald Trump on Thursday. Newsom opened with a “warning from the past,” harkening back to 1939 Europe when the forces of fascism were spreading across the continent and then-Gov. Culbert Olson implored Californians to preserve civil liberties and democratic institutions.

The second-term governor has increasingly positioned himself as an attack dog for national Democrats while batting down questions of whether he himself would challenge Biden for the White House in 2024.

Newsom’s pre-recorded remarks were intercut with images and videos — including a picture of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis popping up as Newsom mentioned “California bashers.”

The speech echoed Democrats’ national talking points in a stark and dramatic fashion — accusing “extreme” Republicans of lying to women to control their bodies with draconian policies and characterizing residents of red states as fugitives, fleeing from abortion laws written by men a century ago.

“We are protecting women, medical providers, doctors and health care facilities from the forces of darkness in this country,” he said….

From Politico