Obama blasts 'politics of division' during triumphant return

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

From his first appearance at the podium, the response was enthusiastic for the 44th president, who was replaced by President Donald Trump after he won the election against Obama's former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Obama will publicly stump for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey on Thursday in preparation for this fall's elections.

Obama attended campaign rallies in New Jersey and Virginia and asked voters to send a powerful message by backing Democrats in the upcoming November 7th elections in the two states.

Mr. Obama mentioned the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a woman was killed during a white nationalist rally. "That's folks looking 50 years back", Obama said. Both Murphy and Northam have sought to capture Democratic frustration with Trump by evoking him in their own local campaign.

"We need you to take this seriously because our democracy is at stake, and it's at stake right here in Virginia", Obama said. "If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern them".

"President Obama was directly responsible for some of the disastrous policies that hurt Missourians over the previous eight years, and they should remember that in 2018 when they go to the polls and decide if they want one of his biggest supporters still representing them in the U.S. Senate", said Jeremy Adler, spokesman for Missouri Rising Action, a Republican super PAC which is backing state Attorney General Josh Hawley's challenge to Ms. McCaskill in 2018. "You won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start".

In the political battleground of Virginia, polls show a close contest between Democrat Ralph Northam, the state's lieutenant governor, and Republican Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman who has been endorsed by Mr Trump.

"I don't know if y'all noticed, but you can't take any election for granted", Obama said, "I don't care what the polls say".

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The lineup of Virginia Democrats who warmed up the crowd was more willing to invoke Trump by name.

He also took time to criticize his successor, saying that the "politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed".

Former US president Barack Obama has called on fellow Democrats to reject the politics of "division" and "fear". When Mr. Obama mentioned Gillespie's ads and the crowd booed, the former president said that wasn't the right tactic.

"What he's really trying to deliver is fear", Obama said.

"I don't think anybody really thinks that somebody who spent his life performing surgery on soldiers and children suddenly is cozying up to street gangs", said Obama, referring to Northam's career as a U.S. Army doctor and pediatric neurologist. On his mother's side, Obama said, he's distantly related to Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president who's buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery. "I bet he's spinnin' in his grave".

In his first political speeches for almost a year, the former president took thinly veiled swipes at his Republican successor as he condemned "folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry" for a "short-term tactical advantage".

Thursday's rally was created to energize voters who favor democrats in an off year election.

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