Obama urges voters to mobilize against the 'politics of fear'

The former president said Trump is "a symptom, not the cause" of the divisiveness.

Former President Barack Obama says the midterm elections in November will give Americans the chance to - in his words - "restore some sanity in our politics" by changing control of Congress.

He alluded to the New York Times anonymous op-ed from a member of Trump's team.

Former President Barack Obama makes a campaign stop at Caffe Paradiso in Urbana, Ill., Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, where he did a campaign stop with Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, left, following his speech at the University of Illinois.

"We're supposed to stand up to discrimination", he said. "There is only one check on abuses of power, and that's you and your vote". "You and your vote".

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 auto into a crowd, Mr Trump said there were "some very fine people on both sides". "I found he's very good - very good for sleeping", he said.

After spending much of his post-presidency on the political sidelines, Obama has several events scheduled in coming days where he'll campaign for Democrats.

"The more President @BarackObama speaks about the "good ole years" of his presidency, the more likely President @realDonaldTrump is to get re-elected", Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ally and sometimes critic of Trump said in a statement after the speech.

Obama's scattergun attack on Trump and the GOP, while well received in liberal circles, prompted Republican Representative Mark Meadows to respond: "Former President Obama just offered an eloquent reminder of why Americans made the right choice when they elected President Trump". Obama said: "How hard can that be?"

"Doubling down on that strategy won't work in 2018 either".

Through his extraordinary speech, which was full of an unusual number of criticisms from a former president, Obama also layered in his quintessential hope and calls for unity. Obama asked an auditorium packed with college students who greeted him with a roaring standing ovation. He also questioned a "cozying up" to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"This is not normal", Obama said during his hour-long address.

Obama is speaking at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he's urging people to vote in the midterm elections.

"As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president". Instead, Obama's advisers believe his midterm message will more closely resemble the remarks the former President delivered in South Africa as part of an event honoring the late Nelson Mandela.

Obama, who is going on the campaign trail Saturday in California, touted the crop of Democratic candidates running for office in November and highlighted women who have stepped up to run on the Democratic side.

Next week, he plans to campaign in Ohio for Richard Cordray, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Ohio Democrats. He also will campaign this month in IL and Pennsylvania and will headline a fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in New York City.

"The biggest threat to our democracy.is not one individual, it is not one big super PAC billionaires", he said.

He's in California trying to help out a group of congressional candidates.

  • Rogelio Becker