Obama says midterms chance at political 'sanity'

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Obama issued a scorching critique of President Donald Trump on Friday in a speech at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, in which he said Trump was a "symptom, not the cause" of divisions in American society.

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". "He is a symptom, not a cause".

Mr Obama condemned Mr Trump's pressuring of law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Orange County, a Republican stronghold in Southern California, voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election - the first time it went blue in a presidential race since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president.

Trump was dismissive of Obama's speech.

"I wish he would come more often because he reminds Republicans of eight years of misery", said Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel, who lives in Orange County. "His speech next Friday will address the challenges and opportunities facing our country", Obama's communications director Katie Hill said in a statement.

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On Saturday, Obama didn't mention Trump once and, instead, told Democrats that the problems in Washington are bigger than one person.

The county's economy has evolved to more services and high-tech jobs that attract white-collar workers who are inclined to vote Democratic.

"We're in a challenging moment", Obama told a crowd of hundreds at the Anaheim Convention Center.

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

Obama asked, "Its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight against Communism, and now they're cozying up to the former head of the KGB, actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack".

"The claim that everything will turn out OK because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren't following the president's orders. It's radical. It's a vision that says the protection of our power and those who back us is all that matters, even when it hurts the country". He is just capitalizing on resentment that politicians have been fanning for years. "The stakes really are higher".

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Obama also said that the message would not just be focused on die-hard Democrats.

"I found he's very good for sleeping."
"Saying that Nazis are bad?"

The speech was a preview of the argument that Mr Obama is likely to make until the U.S. midterm elections in November. "Suddenly deficits do not matter", Obama said.

Obama's criticism extended beyond Trump, to the party he now leads, the Republican-led Congress and members of his Administration. The question presently is whether the party can gain by the visit to keep up the force it'll have to win congressional seats in November.

But Pirro and other Trump supporters immediately slammed the speech.

Of course, Obama, recognized that there are those in the Republican Party who are opposed to Trump, but they "seem utterly unwilling to find the backbone to safeguard the institutions that make our democracy work".

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