President Obama spoke Wednesday at a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment,which banned slavery, but it was clear in the words he chose and the crowd's response that he was talking as much about today as he was the events of centuries ago.

One subtext of his remarks was Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's call to bar Muslims from entering the United States and a run of anti-Islamic rhetoric and fear. Obama urged the audience in the Capitol "to remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others regardless of what they look like or where they come from or what their last name is or what faith they practice," said to a standing ovation in the U.S. Capitol's Visitor Center.

"We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms," he continued.

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Obama spoke to ideas that he has returned to repeatedly in his presidency — especially the nation's ongoing quest to make real the promise of the country's Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

But his words, this time, seemed tailored to the news of the week and the harsh language of the campaign season. Obama spoke of slavery as the "nation's original sin" and warned that the United States "condemned itself to shackles" if it ignored those who are subjects of discrimination and injustice.

"We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms," he said.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama's remarks weren't directed at Trump or any candidate, but observed that they stood in stark contrast to the message "that’s being promulgated not just by Mr. Trump but a variety of Republican candidates."

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