Barack Obama urges voters to mobilise against the 'politics of fear'

Obama hammers President Trump in scathing public rebuke of current administration

Barack Obama urges voters to mobilise against the 'politics of fear'

While the former president will be visible throughout the general election, the adviser said that Obama will not be a daily presence on the campaign trail.

Obama told an audience of more than a thousand students at the University of IL his successor is "just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years".

Obama addressed the recent controversy within the White House surrounding The New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous senior Trump administration official. "All we need are decent, honest, hard-working people who are accountable and who have America's best interests at heart".

"These are extraordinary times, and they're unsafe times", Obama said during remarks at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, adding that the upcoming midterm elections offer "the chance to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics".

While Obama has endorsed candidates and appeared at fundraising events, he has previously spent much of his post-presidency on the political sidelines.

At the University of Illinois, Obama will receive the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, named for the longtime US senator from Illinois.

But he dropped that political reticence in IL, the state where he launched his own political career, saying a vote against Republicans could restore "honesty and decency and lawfulness" to government.

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Obama will share the billing with seven Democratic candidates in competitive U.S. House districts across California.

He said stakes were high not just for Democrats but for all Americans, as "people feel scared" about a litany of issues: a troubled health care system, the high costs of education, a warming climate and more.

The comments drew a rebuke from Trump who told his own rally in Fargo, North Dakota, "Obama was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that's happening".

"I'm sorry, I watched it but I fell asleep", Trump said.

"I found he's very good for sleeping", Trump added.

He later added: "This is not normal". In 2009, the Obama White House claimed that Fox was "not a news organization" and instead "a wing of the Republican Party".

"They're not doing us a service by actively promoting 90 percent of the insane stuff that's coming out of this White House, and then saying, 'Don't worry, we're preventing the other 10 percent, '" he said. "I am here to deliver a simple message, and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it", he said.

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National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said Friday that Obama's campaign events will help Republicans.

Obama also jabbed Trump on the issue the current president frequently heralds as one of his greatest achievements: The strong economy. "How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?"

Obama campaigned for congressional Democrats from California on Saturday, a day after he excoriated Trump in a speech in IL.

Obama's remarks to an auditorium of college students in IL - the state he represented before he won the White House - marked the opening salvo in a series of campaign stops aimed at boosting fellow Democrats in November's midterm elections, when voters will elect much of Congress and 36 state governorships.

Next week, Obama plans to campaign in Ohio for Richard Cordray, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Ohio Democrats. "Doubling down on that strategy won't work in 2018 either".

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.

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