Obama campaigning in Va, NJ, as he returns to political life

Former President Barack Obama in New Jersey.   Spencer Platt  Getty Images

President Obama hit the campaign trail Thursday for the first time since leaving office in January, calling on voters to rally behind the Democratic nominees for governor in New Jersey and Virginia.

Obama did not address President Donald Trump's false accusation that his predecessor failed to call any Gold Star families during his time in the White House; he did not mention President Trump or any member of Congress by name.

Northam, a Norfolk doctor and former state senator, is trying to keep the Executive Mansion in Democratic hands by beating back Gillespie, a Northern Virginia political consultant and former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Doors to Thursday's event open at 5 pm with the rally to begin after that. "You won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start".

Mr Bush said: "We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America".

The goal of Obama's appearances were aimed at driving up Democratic turnout in New Jersey and Virginia, the only two states holding elections for governor this year.

"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.

"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". His ads and campaign mail have a sharper edge, emphasizing grave danger posed by the Latino gang MS-13, promising to crack down on sanctuary cities that now don't exist in Virginia, and comparing his desire to keep Confederate statues standing with Northam's calls to take them down. Pro-Gillespie mailers have accused Northam of being soft on MS-13 and allowing risky illegal immigrants into the streets because, while presiding over the state Senate, Northam voted against a bill that would ban sanctuary cities.

Mr. Obama mentioned the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a woman was killed during a white nationalist rally.

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".

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

"Yes and yes - because he is popular", Mr. Nelson said. 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. "You can't take anything for granted; you can't sit this one out", Obama said. "I bet he's spinnin' in his grave".

"It was great to see him again, he's an energizer", he said.

Bernard Logan, a Richmond resident who works at the State Corporation Commission, said he was going into the rally as an undecided voter.


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