Former President Obama delivers speech at University of IL

Cheryl Sanders
September 11, 2018

"This is a consequential moment in our history. Suddenly deficits do not matter", Obama said.

"He's just capitalising on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years".

The former president said his presidency of eight years pulled the USA economy out of crisis.

"Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren't for those who don't look like us or don't sound like us or don't pray like we do - that's an old playbook", he said.

"We are Americans, we're supposed to stand up to bullies".

The solution, he said, is not the purported resistance movement inside the administration that is working to thwart Trump's worst impulses, as described by a senior official who this week wrote an anonymous New York Times op-ed.


In a now infamous comment following the clash of white supremacists and counter-protesters, which saw counter-protester Heather Heyer killed when a Nazi-sympathiser drove a vehicle into a crowd, Mr Trump said there were "some very fine people on both sides". "That is not a check".

"That is not a check, I'm being serious here. That is not how our democracy is supposed to work".

Obama and Trump have not talked since the inauguration, a source tells CNN. The remarks served as Obama's first steps into the political fray ahead of the fall campaign.

The speech was a preview of the arguments Obama is expected to make on the campaign trail.

Obama heads to Cleveland on September 13 to campaign for Ohio Democratic gubernatorial nominee Richard Cordray.

Former President Barack Obama says the USA needs to restore "honesty and decency" in government. "The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire". Obama asked an auditorium packed with college students who greeted him with a roaring standing ovation. "I don't agree with President Obama, he's President Obama, he won the election".


Last month, Obama released a first round of endorsements - 81 candidates up and down the ballot - and there will be a second round of endorsements and additional campaign activity in advance of the midterms, according to his office.

Trump has not honored that tradition and has shown little to no regard for his predecessors, regularly bashing them on Twitter, to the media and at rallies. Each of the seven candidates that Obama campaigned for on Saturday fit that description.

Obama's speech at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California, a region traditionally held by Republicans, was a stump for Democrats Josh Harder, TJ Cox, Katie Hill, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin. "And I'm happy he wants to do it again".

Obama also jabbed Trump on the issue the current president frequently heralds as one of his greatest achievements: the strong economy.

When Barack Obama took the stage in front of an audience of students at the University of IL on Friday, he was not there to mess around. "Saying that Nazis are bad?"

The former president explained he planned on following the precedent set by George Washington "to gracefully exit" the political stage, but speaks now as a citizen.


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