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Obama rips Trump's record in 2020 campaign trail debut

Published Oct 21, 2020 01:19AM ET Updated Oct 21, 2020 07:11PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Democratic National Convention held in Milwaukee 2/2

By Trevor Hunnicutt and James Oliphant

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Former President Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday, launching a blistering attack on Donald Trump with less than two weeks to go before the Republican president's Election Day face-off with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Speaking at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia on behalf of Biden, his former vice president, Obama offered his most pointed critique yet of his successor.

"He hasn't shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself," Obama said of Trump.

Obama, who governed for two terms and remains one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party, blasted Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the president himself had fallen victim to the virus.

"Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us," he said. "He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."

Obama's appearance filled a gap left by Biden, who has stayed at home in Delaware since Monday for meetings and preparation ahead of his Thursday debate with Trump in Nashville, Tennessee.

Earlier in the day, Obama spoke to Black community leaders in Philadelphia.

"I've never lost hope over these last four years," Obama said. "I've been mad. I've been frustrated, but I haven't lost hope, and the reason is because I never expected progress to move directly in a straight line."

Americans are voting early at a record pace this year, with 42 million ballots cast both via mail and in person ahead of the Nov. 3 election, on concerns about the coronavirus and to make sure their votes are counted.

The record early vote so far represents about 30% of the total ballots cast in 2016, according to the University of Florida's U.S. Elections Project.

While Obama was speaking, Trump headed to North Carolina, another battleground state where opinion polls show a tight race, for a rally in Gastonia on Wednesday evening.

Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, was also in North Carolina to mobilize voters in Asheville and Charlotte.

VIRUS SURGE IN FINAL WEEKS OF CAMPAIGN

The last days of campaigning are taking place amid a surge in new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in battleground states, including North Carolina and Pennsylvania but also Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan.

Pennsylvania has averaged 1,500 new cases a day over the past week, a level it has not seen since April, according to a Reuters analysis. North Carolina is averaging 2,000 new cases a day over the past week, its highest level ever. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 221,000 Americans.

Polling shows a majority of voters are disappointed in the way Trump has handled the pandemic, which he has repeatedly said would disappear on its own.

On a call organized by the Biden campaign and Texas Democrats on Wednesday, several Texas Republicans urged fellow conservatives to vote for Biden, citing the coronavirus crisis as well as Biden's character.

“This is not a decision I took lightly. I love the GOP, and I love most GOP officials. But I love my country more," said Jacob Monty, a Republican immigration lawyer who resigned from Trump’s national Hispanic advisory council in 2016.

Biden and Trump are scheduled to meet in their second and final debate on Thursday night, giving the Republican an opportunity to change the trajectory of a race that Biden is leading in national polls.

Biden believes he must win his birth state of Pennsylvania and has visited it more than any other state during the campaign. Trump narrowly won the state over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Trump has gained ground there, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, which showed the challenger leading by 49% to 45%, slightly narrower than a week earlier.

"If we win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing," Trump said on Tuesday at a rally in Erie, in the state's northwestern corner.

Obama rips Trump's record in 2020 campaign trail debut
 

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Comments (12)
Silverbug 19
Silverbug 19 Oct 22, 2020 11:41PM ET
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5 attendees...
Tong Nguyen
Tong Nguyen Oct 22, 2020 3:54PM ET
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I voted for Obama first term. But the way I saw Obama awarded hid cabinets to the incompetents is really turned me off. And his becoming very rich after leaving the office confirms to me about him.
Bill Melton
Bill Melton Oct 21, 2020 10:12PM ET
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What's funny is there are probably more people here read this than who met the Obama at the airport or one of his stops. I tried to show links but Reuters deleted post.
Jim Robertson
Jim Robertson Oct 21, 2020 10:12PM ET
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Who would want to meet a Farrakahn loving Racist?
Jim Robertson
Jim Robertson Oct 21, 2020 10:02PM ET
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The Democratic Party is BROKEN from what America needs right now. They want you to live in a world where you are always wishing for something better, which is never attainable, and then deprive you of what is readily available. The Democrats are our CHICKEN LITTLES. Like SLEEPY, Kamala, Pelosi, Schumer, OAC, the m u s l I m preacher, ....etc.
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 21, 2020 9:34PM ET
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Please President Trump... wave your magic wand again and bring back a bunch of jobs so we have record low unemployment and make america great... again
Bill Hoerter
Bill Hoerter Oct 21, 2020 9:08PM ET
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Onama told hiden Biden not to run in 2016. Now he has to because the campaign is floundering!
kristopher levillard
kristopher levillard Oct 21, 2020 8:24PM ET
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funny how they only talk *****about Trump but don't give a plan of what they are going to do...
Christopher Dunson
Christopher Dunson Oct 21, 2020 8:17PM ET
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Obama took full advantage of the Trump tax cuts...as he should have.
Boyoung Schang
Boyoung Schang Oct 21, 2020 8:11PM ET
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Where’s Joe Biden? Is he taking a nap and too afraid to come out? Why Obama is working for him? Is Joe biden that weak? If Joe Biden wins, our whole country fall asleep. Sleepy Joe!
Jim Robertson
Jim Robertson Oct 21, 2020 8:03PM ET
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I'll bet he wants to fill the gap if he gets elected too. Bill Clinton better prepare a tarmac speech for Kamala 🤩🥰🤔
 
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