Obama speech to urge big Democratic
turnout in November elections
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[September 07, 2018]
By James Oliphant
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S.
President Barack Obama will warn Democratic voters in a speech on Friday
that the stakes are too high to sit out November's elections when the
party is seeking to wrest control of Congress from President Donald
Obama has largely avoided the spotlight since Trump succeeded him last
year. But Friday’s speech at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign will mark the start of a flurry of activity as he hits
the campaign trail in coming weeks on behalf of Democratic candidates.
On Saturday, Obama will appear at an event in Southern California for
seven Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in
Republican-held districts that backed Democratic presidential nominee
Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, putting them high on the Democratic
list of targets.
Obama travels next week to Ohio to campaign for the Democratic candidate
for governor, Richard Cordray, a former Obama administration official.
Later in the month, he is expected to campaign in Illinois and
Pennsylvania, the latter state being critical to Democratic hopes of
picking up the 23 seats needed to win a majority in the U.S. House of
Representatives and put the brakes on Trump's agenda.
In his Illinois speech on Friday, Obama will revisit themes he has
expounded on in the past, including that “America is at its best when
our democracy is inclusive and our citizens are engaged,” and that "this
moment in our country is too perilous for Democratic voters to sit out,"
said spokeswoman Katie Hill.
[to top of second column]
President Barack Obama greets supporters in an overflow room before
he participates in a "Get Out the Early Vote" campaign event for
Hillary Clinton in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., November 1, 2016.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Traditionally, both parties see a large drop-off in turnout in
non-presidential election years.
The former Democratic president, following tradition, has been
reluctant to publicly criticize Trump, to the frustration of some in
his party. Trump has been critical of Obama's eight years in office.
But during his eulogy for the late Republican Senator John McCain
last week, Obama appeared to directly reference Trump, when he
declared: “So much of our politics, our public life, our public
discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast
and insults and phony controversies and manufactured outrage.”
At the University of Illinois, Obama will receive the Paul H.
Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, named for the longtime U.S.
senator from Illinois. Obama served as a senator from Illinois for
almost four years.
(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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