Obama Slams GOP In Speech: What Happened To The Republican Party? (VIDEO)
Former President Barack Obama stepped back into the political fray on Friday.
He gave a speech at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while receiving an ethics in government award, the first speech of many before the upcoming midterm elections.
The speech was planned ahead of time to lay down the framework for his message this fall - expect more moments like these that are designed to be "much more pointed about what's at stake right now" and how "people need to take their responsibility seriously."
Here was Obama's first point:
"As a citizen, not as a president, I'm here to deliver a simple message, and that message is you need to vote because our democracy depends on it."
Obama says the stakes today are more important and "more dire" than ever before. He didn't mention Trump by name, but everyone knew what he was referring to. Trump is destroying our democracy. He even compared Trump's presidency to past trials and tribulations in the United States, such as the Civil War and the Great Depression.
Obama: "Every one of us as citizens of the U.S. need to determine just who it is that we are ... As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president, but as a citizen, I'm here to deliver simple message and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Tti5UhQlVg— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 7, 2018
Obama then slammed Republicans and the party of fiscal conservatives: What happened to the Republican Party?"They're cozying up with the KGB."
This was just one of the zingers he used. He said things like: "This is not normal. These are extraordinary times."
Here are a few of Obama's best lines in the speech:
Barack Obama: "What happened to the Republican Party? Its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight against Communism, and now they're cozying up to the former head of the KGB." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/jDxPr0cxdx— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 7, 2018
"Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another...that's an old playbook," former Pres. Obama says. "And in a healthy democracy, it doesn't work." https://t.co/a4VmXG4UZF pic.twitter.com/NrtZCbnMmW— ABC News (@ABC) September 7, 2018
Fmr. Pres. Obama:“When you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on – when the job numbers come out... and suddenly Republicans are saying 'it’s a miracle.' I have to kind of remind them actually those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and in 2016.” pic.twitter.com/xAUcSG3toY
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 7, 2018
"It should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents," former Pres. Barack Obama says. https://t.co/a4VmXG4UZF pic.twitter.com/XMr95g73Te— ABC News (@ABC) September 7, 2018
Barack Obama: "Demagogues promise simple fixes to complex problems. No promise to fight for the little guy even as they cater to the wealthiest and most powerful." pic.twitter.com/aDyoZHvHLU— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 7, 2018
Obama is slated to give a rally again on Saturday for Democratic congressional candidates in California and for a Democratic Gubernatorial candidate in Ohio, next Thursday. He will also go to Pennsylvania, New York, and other states important for the party.
Even before Obama's first speech - Republicans were planning their response. Just minutes before Obama stepped on the stage, GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said "The Obama administration and their policies were rejected in 2016 when we elected Donald Trump."
That argument ignores the fact that this is a new election - and most people in the country voted for a Democrat in the White House. Trump ended up winning because of the electoral college, and the vote tallies were ultimately decided by only several hundred thousand votes in those particular states.