Obama urges backers to campaign aggressively for Clinton
CHILMARK — Adding a touch of politics to his vacation, President Barack Obama on Monday urged Democrats to campaign aggressively for the next 80 days to elect presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying “if we do not do our jobs, then it’s still possible for her to lose”.
“When I say do our jobs, what I mean is we are going to have to continue to be engaged, we are going to continue to have to write cheques, we are going to continue to have to make phone calls and rally people behind her candidacy,” Obama said.
He also urged the Democratic donors at a Clinton fundraiser to help counter an “unrelenting negative campaign” against the former secretary of state “that has made a dent in the opinion of people even who are inclined to vote for her.”
Clinton’s standing among voters has suffered from perceptions that she is dishonest, along with her use of a private email server when she ran the State Department and the appearance of conflicts of interest between the department when she was in charge and her family foundation.
“We have to be aggressive in our campaign for 80 days, and that’s not a lot,” Obama said. “But when you think about the stakes, there’s nothing more important” than electing Clinton to continue the economic and other progress he described under his leadership.
Democrats Hank Goldberg and wife Carol Brown Goldberg hosted the event at their home in Chilmark, the same town where the president is renting a vacation home.
About 60 Obama and Clinton supporters paid between $10 000 and $33 400 to attend the event that was held in a tent on the sprawling property. Servers wore white aprons that said, “Thank You, President Obama”.
The proceeds will benefit Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties across the country.
Obama pointedly did not mention Donald Trump, Clinton’s Republican opponent, by name and said he’s tired of talking about the New York businessman he earlier this month dismissed as “unfit to serve”.
“I don’t have to make the case against her opponent because every time he talks he makes the case against his own candidacy,” Obama said.
The president said his wife, Michelle, is “very strict” about him actually being on vacation when he goes on vacation. But, he said, “she gave me special dispensation for this evening because she understands, just as all of you understand, how important this is.”
Obama is expected to campaign aggressively for Clinton in the run-up to the November 8 elections.
Clinton did not join Obama at the fundraiser. Earlier on Monday, she made her first campaign appearance with Vice President Joe Biden in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, a state both she and Trump are competing to win.
Meanwhile, Trump has said he will introduce “extreme vetting” of immigrants and set up a new “commission on radical Islam” if he wins the US election in November.
In a foreign policy speech on Monday, the billionaire businessman said the goal of the new commission would be to “expose” networks within the US “that support radicalisation”.
As president, Trump said, he would ask the state department and department of homeland security to identify regions of the world that remain hostile to the US, and where screening might not be sufficient to catch those who pose a threat.
“We should only admit into our country those who share our values and respect our people,” he said from Youngstown, Ohio.
“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.”
As part of the plan, Trump, who has previously called for a ban on Muslims entering the US, said that he would “temporarily suspend immigration” from countries that have a history of “exporting terrorism”.
He said that every year, the US admits 100 000 permanent immigrants “from the Middle East”, and hundreds of thousands more temporary workers and visitors from the same region.
“We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.”
Outlining his policy to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Trump also reversed an earlier position, promising that he would work with Nato allies to defeat the armed group if elected. — Al Jazeera