On campaign trail, Obama tells voters to reject 'the old politics of division'

Barack Obama.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Thursday for Democrats running for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, and told voters to reject the "old politics of division" that date back centuries. "It's the 21st century," he said, "not the 19th century. Come on!"

This was his first time out stumping since he left the White House, and Obama warned of people who "demonize" those who don't agree with them in order to "get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage." While speaking in Virginia on behalf of Ralph Northam, Obama was focused on his opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, but his comments could also apply to Trump. "If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you're not going to be able to govern," he said, and it's especially difficult to "unite them later if that's how you start."

In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy is doing well in the polls, but Obama, with a nod to 2016, told a crowd in Newark, "You can't take this election or any election for granted — I don't know if you all noticed that. You've got to run through the tape." Thousands waited in line in New Jersey and Virginia to attend the rallies, and Obama was interrupted at one point during the Northam event with chants of "Four more years!" He quipped, "I refer you both to the Constitution, as well as to Michelle Obama, to explain why that won't happen."

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