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Former president Obama rips into Trump, warns against complacency

Former US president also urges people to vote even as polls show Biden leading

PHILADELPHIA: Former US president Barack Obama excoriated President Donald Trump and warned on Wednesday against complacency despite favoura-ble opinion polls. He was speaking during his first public rally in support of Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of the Nov 3 election.

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

But he also issued a stark reminder of 2016, when opinion polls showed Mrs Hillary Clinton as the clear favourite - 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," he told the rally outside a baseball stadium.

'NOT THIS TIME'

"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 Mr Trump leading the nation, seeking to contrast his successor - a real estate mogul and ex-reality TV star - with his former vice-president.

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

He also took aim at Mr Trump's divisive rhetoric and his track record in the Oval Office.

"He hasn't shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself," he said.

Mr Obama blasted Mr Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the President himself had fallen victim to the virus.

"Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us," he said. "He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."

He pointed to Mr Trump's running roughshod over previous norms, including his retweets of conspiracy theories.

"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. And we just become numb to it," he said.

The coronavirus has killed about 222,000 people in the US and seriously wounded the world's largest economy, prompting criticism of the President's handling of the crisis.

"We can't afford another four years of this," Mr Obama added. - AFP, REUTERS

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