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

Obama speaks at the memorial service of Senator John Mc Cain at National Cathedral in Washington Sept. 1 2018

"It did not start with Donald Trump", Mr Obama said. "We've seen basic norms and principles that have served us well for decades increasingly violated", Obama said.

"I wish he would come more often because he reminds Republicans of eight years of misery", said Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel.

The next day at a campaign for democratic congressional candidates, the former president said the midterm election in November will give Americans the chance to "restore some sanity in our politics".

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, himself, acknowledged that his critique of President Trump was something of a deviation from tradition.

Obama is seeking to rally support for Democrats as Americans prepare to head to the voting booth November 6 in elections that will see one-third of Senate seats up for grabs, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives. "He is a symptom, not the cause".

Pence says Obama rolled out "the same exhausted arguments that he and liberals have made over the last eight years".

However, he added that when there is a vacuum in democracy, "other voices fill the void".

"I will tell you what Barack Obama does that hurts Donald Trump more than the most cutting insult, and that is he takes the cameras off of Trump and takes the attention off Trump", Wilson said.

Trump aides were allegedly concerned about the effect Obama's speech would have on President Trump, with Politico reporting there are fears from the Trump camp that Obama would get inside the president's head ahead of midterm elections.

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"In two months we have the chance, not the certainty, but the chance to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics", he said in a speech at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign.

"I understand the idea that Democrats want to get the former president on the campaign trail as much as possible", said Jim Manley, a longtime Senate Democratic aide, "but I'm not so sure that makes sense strategically because Trump would love nothing more than to use Obama as a punching bag".

But he said he made a decision to speak now because "the stakes really are higher" than before.

Clinton trounced Trump by more than 4 million votes in California in 2016 and carried Orange County by 9 percentage points. "The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference".

He was especially stern in his condemnation of Mr Trump's pattern of pressuring law enforcement officials, including attorney general Jeff Sessions.

"What happened to the Republican Party?" he asked rhetorically.

He also accused Trump of playing to bigots.

"It should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents", Obama said. "Saying that Nazis are bad?"

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