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Obama blasts 'politics of division' during triumphant return

STILL GOT IT: Barack Obama spoke on Thursday at a campaign rally for Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor, in Richmond. (Photo credit: Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BARACK OBAMA was back on the campaign trail on Thursday (Oct 19) for the first time since he left the White House.

The former President of the United States called on voters to reject a growing “politics of division” that he said was damaging American democracy.

Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Obama told campaign rallies in New Jersey and Virginia that voters could send a powerful message about the type of politics they want by backing Democrats in Nov. 7 elections in the two states.

“What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before, that dates back centuries,” Obama told a jubilant crowd in Newark, New Jersey, that chanted: “Four more years.”

“Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back,” Obama said. “It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century.”

According to Reuters, at a later campaign stop in Richmond, Virginia, Obama said modern politics increasingly did not reflect basic American values of inclusiveness and were driving people away from the process.

“We’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonise people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage. Sometimes that feels frustrating,” Obama said.

Obama made the remarks just a few hours after former President George W. Bush, a Republican, also took an indirect jab at Trump with a speech calling out the “bullying and prejudice” while defending immigrants and trade.

The purpose of Obama’s appearances were aimed at driving up Democratic turnout in New Jersey and Virginia, the only two states holding elections for governor this year.

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