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Obama: A president must 'keep us safe from all threats foreign, domestic — or microscopic'

Trump: "Obama is campaigning for us."

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
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Updated: October 22, 2020 - 12:31pm

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Former President Barack Obama finally hit the campaign trail for Joe Biden, but as usual President Trump got the last word.

After a stemwinder of a speech by Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to trim his predecessor's sails.

"Obama is campaigning for us. Every time he speaks, people come over to our side. He didn't even want to endorse Sleepy Joe. Did so long after primaries were over!" Trump wrote.

Speaking at a drive-in rally, Obama blasted Trump on everything from his personal tax payments and his handling of the economy to his efforts to strip away parts of the Affordable Care Act.

But Obama focused much of his attack on Trump's handling of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, going so far as to say Trump should have protected Americans from even "microscopic" threats.

"Joe knows that the first job of a president is to keep us safe from all threats foreign, domestic — or microscopic," Obama said.

But the former president also acknowledged that "the pandemic would have been tough for any president, we haven't seen something like this for 100 years."

On the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Obama said Trump and the GOP have had ample time to fulfill their promise to replace it.

"Republicans tried to repeal or undermine it more than 60 times," Obama said. "And when they've been asked about it they keep on promising, 'We're going to have a great replacement.' They said, 'It's coming.' It's been coming in two weeks for the last 10 years. Where is it? Now they're trying to dismantle your care in the Supreme Court as we speak. As quickly as they can in the middle of a pandemic with nothing but empty promises to take its place. It's shameful."

Obama also ripped Trump for wanting credit for the economy, which was doing well before the virus hit the U.S.

"I get this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic he ignored," Obama said. "But you know what? The job doesn't work that way. Tweeting at the television doesn't fix things. Making stuff up doesn't make people's lives better. You've got to have a plan."

To supporters, Obama said everyone must get out and vote, noting that the polls last time were all wrong.

"We can't be complacent," he said. "I don't care about the polls. There were a whole bunch of polls last time. Didn't work out because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home and got lazy and complacent. Not this time. Not in this election."

Obama is a latecomer in supporting Biden. Back in April 2019, when Biden announced he would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama issued a statement through a spokeswoman.

"President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made," the statement said. "He relied on the Vice President's knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today."

But the statement was notably lacking a formal endorsement.

"I asked President Obama not to endorse, and he doesn't want to," Biden said when asked by reporters why Obama had not endorsed him. "Listen, we should — whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits."

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