Obama heckled in Arizona, slams toxic politics: ‘Everybody’s yelling’


Former president Barack Obama was on the campaign trail in Arizona when a heckler in the crowd called him out and took the opportunity to deliver broader messages about the country’s increasingly toxic political landscape.

It came in the middle of a stump speech for Democrats, Sen. Mark Kelly and Katie Hobbs, who will face Blake Masters (R) for senator and Kari Lake (R) for governor in next week’s midterm elections.

Republicans want “an economy that’s very good for people at the top, but not always so good for ordinary people,” Obama began telling a crowd of about 1,000 in a high school gymnasium in Phoenix on Wednesday.

“Like you, Obama!” a young male heckler interrupted. “Are you going to start yelling?” Obama responded, as the crowd pressed in loudly in an attempt to drown out the heckler.

Hecklers are quite common at political rallies; Obama, who was hit as recently as this weekend in Michigan, often tries to tone down the temperature and encourage open dialogue and took a similar approach this time.

“Stand up, stand up, everybody,” Obama said in Phoenix. “Hey, young man, listen for a second. You know you have to be polite and civil when people are talking, other people are talking and then you have a chance to talk.”

“Start your own rally!” quipped the former president. “A lot of people have worked hard for this. Bye, man.”

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As the event began to get back under control, Obama urged the crowd to “settle down” and said the incident was similar to the noise caused by moderate voices in many political debates. “This is part of what happens in our politics these days. We are distracted,” Obama said.

“You get one person shouting and suddenly everyone is shouting. You get one tweet that is stupid and suddenly everyone is in danger of the tweet. We cannot fall for that. We have to stay focused,” he continued.

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He argued that if Republican candidates in the key state succeed in swinging, “democracy as we know it in Arizona may not survive.”

Continuing his speech, Obama talked about the “peaceful transfer of power” he made with Donald Trump when the Democrats lost in 2016, contrasting Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election to Joe Biden. “That’s what America is supposed to be about. Did we forget that?” Obama said.

He noted that he spoke with his “friend” Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was attacked last week at the couple’s home in San Francisco. The person, identified as a man with extreme political views, called out, “Where’s Nancy?” on arrival at the house. Discussing the attack, Obama criticism “this growing habit of demonizing political opponents, just to shout,” he told the crowd.

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While campaigning for Democratic candidates in Arizona on November 2, former president Barack Obama warned of the dangers of Republican candidates who refuse to vote. (Video: The Washington Post)

Obama appeared to echo a speech made earlier in the day by President Biden, who said, also addressing Pelosi, that there was “no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America, whether directed at Democrats or Republicans … No place, period.”

“You can only love your country when you win,” Biden said in his own speech at Washington’s Union Station, warning that candidates who refuse to accept next Tuesday’s results could send the nation on a “path to chaos.”

Biden warns GOP could set nation on ‘path to chaos’ as democratic system comes under pressure

Millions of voters across the country have already cast their ballots or plan to go to the polls on Election Day. Officials in Maricopa County, home to metro Phoenix and most of Arizona’s voters, say they are prepared for 250,000 to 350,000 people to vote in person on Tuesday. They project between 1.4 million and 1.9 million voters in total.

The state’s early voting system is under attack from some Republican activists who have spent the last few years questioning vote-by-mail and drop boxes used to return early ballots, questioning at campaign events and online the readiness the county for a large number. of personal voters.

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Some Arizona voters have complained of intimidation by self-appointed drop-box monitors — some armed — prompting a federal judge to set strict new limits.

At a news conference on Wednesday, election officials warned that there could be lines at polling places on Election Day but said this should not be a sign of a failure to run elections properly, with the expectation that there would be “a possible ” amid rising tensions.

Separately on Wednesday, a federal judge ordered that a group that monitors Arizona ballot drop boxes for signs of fraud should stay at least 75 feet away from ballot boxes and correct false statements made by its members about Arizona election laws in public. The ruling also prohibits dropbox viewers from taking photos or videos of voters and using the content to spread unfounded allegations of election fraud.

Judge limits monitoring of ballot drop boxes in Arizona after intimidation claim

A Republican contender in Arizona was up in arms over Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Lake, the GOP nominee for governor, called anyone who believes Biden won by 81 million votes a “conspiracy theorist,” while Masters, the Republican Senate nominee, unequivocally declared in an announcement, “I think Trump won in 2020.”

According to a recent analysis by the Washington Post, the majority of Republican nominees on the ballot for the House, Senate and state offices – 291 in total – have rejected or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election.


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