Handing Donald Trump the authorities of the presidency would give him the power to turn some of his “twisted notions” into reality, President Barack Obama said Thursday.
Obama used the first half of a Florida double-header to urge a Miami crowd of supporters to make sure they vote for the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and for Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat seeking to oust GOP Sen. Marco Rubio from office.
“If we win Florida, we will win this election,” Obama roared toward the end of his remarks, which he acknowledged went beyond his staff’s plans. He urged the crowd to make sure their cousins and neighbors get to the polls, too.
“Tell them, ‘This is the moment when America makes a stand,’” he said. “Tell them, ‘This is the moment we reject cynicism.’”
As usual, Obama described Clinton, a former first lady, senator and secretary of State, as the most qualified candidate ever to seek the presidency. And he repeated his strong endorsement of Murphy on his third campaign visit to the state in as many weeks, saying Rubio shies away from tough votes, but Murphy fights on.
But in an apparent sign that the presidential race is indeed tightening, as many polls show, Obama continued to hit Trump with increasingly sharp rhetorical punches.
He described the presidency as “amplifying” who an individual really is. He then accused Trump of disrespecting women, welcoming the support of Ku Klux Klan sympathizers, disrespecting the Constitution, and threatening to “shut down the press when they say something you don’t like.”
If one does those things before winning the presidency, Obama said, “then that is what you will do in office — except you will have more power to carry out the twisted notions that you had before you were in office.”
“This isn’t ‘Survivor,’ this isn’t ‘The Bachelorette,’” he said, alluding to Trump’s reality television past. “This counts.”
Obama’s appearance in Florida, Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said Thursday, shows that the Clinton campaign knows it cannot win without the state and its haul of 29 electoral votes.
The president was to later board Air Force One and fly to Jacksonville for a midafternoon rally. Obama won Florida in 2008 over Arizona Sen. John McCain by 3 points and again in 2012 over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by less than a point.
But the latest RealClearPolitics average of recent polls has Trump up by just less than half a point with only a handful of days until Election Day.
Obama is also trying to help Murphy come from behind and win the Senate race. He hit Rubio for withdrawing support in 2013 for an immigration bill he helped write, saying Murphy kept the fight going in the House back then. Obama also hit Rubio for voting to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, saying Murphy wants to let women determine their own health care plans.
“Unlike his opponent Marco Rubio, Patrick actually shows up to work,” Obama quipped.
Rubio has a 5-point lead in the Senate race, according to the most recent RealClearPolitics polling average.
The president also kept up his attacks on congressional Republicans, saying that, along with Trump, they have “zero, zip, nada” when it comes to their plans to not only repeal his health care overhaul law but replace it with a GOP-crafted alternative.
“You can’t just be against something, you’ve got to be for something,” Obama said. “Now you’re against Hillary, but you’re not for anything.”