Barack Obama urges Democrats to reject 'politics of fear'

Former President Barack Obama speaks during a canvasing event for New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy Oct. 19 2017 in Newark

Mr Obama, who was campaigning with the party's gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, added: "Our democracy's at stake, and it's at stake right here in Virginia".

The race between Northam and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is considered the only competitive statewide race in the nation this year, raising the stakes for Obama's visit to the state with the election less than three weeks away.

Doors to Thursday's event open at 5 pm with the rally to begin after that. Are you somebody who's helped to start nonprofits? "That spirit of service is why eight years ago I asked Phil to serve as America's ambassador to Germany", he said.

Obama will be in Virginia Thursday evening to stump for Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for Governor in Virginia.

Some of the politics we see, we thought we put that to bed.

But Obama's remarks largely centered on the importance of electing Democrats to the Governorship in New Jersey, and how voting is the most effective way of channeling inevitable dissatisfaction some may feel during the Trump era.

Obama's re-emergence comes as President Trump has taken aim at various parts of his legacy, including the Iran nuclear agreement and the Affordable Care Act and as the controversy around Trump's interactions with families of fallen USA soldiers persists.

Richmonder Les Kenney said Obama's speech was inspiring.

Former US president Barack Obama has called on fellow Democrats to reject the politics of "division" and "fear".

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. When Mr. Obama mentioned Gillespie's ads and the crowd booed, the former president said that wasn't the right tactic. "There is a sense of urgency that makes this moment different than others and former President Obama has continued to be directly in Trump's line of fire - both his policies and his legacy".

At the third and final gubernatorial debate, Democrat Ralph Northam argued that Gillespie's proposed legislation to ban sanctuary cities is nothing more than a political ploy.

"We don't rise up by repeating the past".

The first black president offered himself as proof that the country could move forward, telling the crowd in Richmond, the former Capitol of the Confederacy, that he is a distant relative to Confederate President Jefferson Davis on his mother's side. "You can't take anything for granted; you can't sit this one out", Obama said. "I'll bet he's spinning 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". "He fires up Democratic voters and reminds independent voters of having someone in the White House who was actually capable of being president".

Mr. Obama said voters have the chance to continue to build on what he said were the positive strides made on his watch - highlighting how during his two terms the unemployment rate dropped, wages and income ticked up, and, "by the way, we covered a whole bunch of folks with [health] insurance too".

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