“Even the folks who won don’t seem happy. Have you noticed that?” Obama told the Cleveland crowd, decrying the country’s “broken” politics. Republicans won the presidency, House and Senate, he said, but “they’re still mad, which is interesting.”
He went on to criticize the “forces of retrenchment and backlash and anger” as well as “some media outlets that like to do the fanning,” without naming any names.
The speech marked Obama’s third time hitting the campaign trail for Democrats in the past week. Last Friday, he delivered a withering critique of President Trump and Republicans in a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also stumped for Democratic candidates in Orange County, Calif., on Saturday.
Obama’s Thursday appearance came after his former vice president, Joe Biden, criticized Trump earlier in the day during a speech in Washington.
In Ohio, Obama hit some of the same themes as he did in his Friday speech in Illinois, blasting Republicans for speaking out against Trump’s actions at times but not backing their words up with action.
“You will read quotes from Republicans saying, ‘Wow, this is messed up,’” Obama said. “Well, why aren’t you doing something about it? ‘Well, we can’t, because we really like these tax cuts for the wealthy. … So we’ll put up with crazy.’”
He also took Republicans to task for all but abandoning their focus on deficit reduction once they won the White House in 2016 — a theme that Obama’s 2012 Republican opponent and current Utah Senate nominee, Mitt Romney, touched on earlier this week as well.
“What happened to all this concern about deficits? You weren’t concerned when you gave me a tax cut I didn’t need and didn’t ask for,” Obama said in Ohio, aiming his remarks at Republicans. “None of this is conservative. This is not normal, what we’re seeing. It is radical.”
And he urged the crowd to go to the polls rather than allow the voices of “demagogues” and fear-mongers to fill the void.
“That is an old playbook. It’s as old as time,” Obama said, adding: “Here’s the thing, in a healthy democracy, that playbook doesn’t work.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified the office Richard Cordray is running for. He is a candidate for governor of Ohio.