Obama warns against complacency over Biden poll lead

Thursday October 22 2020
Obama pic

Former US President Barack Obama speaks with community organizers ahead of a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Philadelphia. PHOTO | AFP


Former US president Barack Obama excoriated Donald Trump and warned on Wednesday against complacency despite favorable opinion polls during his first public rally in support of Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of the November 3 election.

At the drive-in rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of a handful of battleground states expected to decide the election, Obama lashed out at Trump's behavior and declared him "incapable of taking the job seriously."

But he also issued a stark reminder of 2016, when opinion polls showed Hillary Clinton as the clear favorite only for her and her supporters to be shocked by a Trump victory on election day.

"We can't be complacent. I don't care about the polls," the former two-term president told the rally outside a baseball stadium.

"There were a whole bunch of polls last time. Didn't work out. Because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home. And got lazy and complacent. Not this time. Not in this election."

He told supporters that too much was at stake to have four more years of Trump leading the nation, seeking to contrast his successor -- a Republican real estate mogul and ex-reality TV star -- with his former vice president.


"This is not a reality show. This is reality," Obama said.

"And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously."

He pointed to Trump's running roughshod over previous norms, including his retweets of conspiracy theories, and accused him of mishandling the US response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our democracy's not going to work if the people who are supposed to be our leaders lie every day and just make things up," he said.

"And we just become numb to it."

Earlier, at a roundtable with Black community organizers in Philadelphia, he said "the pandemic would have been tough for any president, we haven't seen something like this for 100 years."

The coronavirus has killed over 220,000 people in the United States and seriously wounded the world's largest economy, prompting fierce criticism of the president's handling of the crisis.