Obama heckled in Arizona, denounces toxic politics: “Everyone is screaming”

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Former President Barack Obama was on the campaign trail in Arizona when he was called out by a heckler in the crowd and quickly turned it into a broader messaging opportunity about the country’s increasingly toxic political landscape.

He came in the middle of a stump speech for Democrats, Senator Mark Kelly and Katie Hobbswho will assume respectively Blake Masters (R) for Senator and Kari Lake (R) for Governor next week midterm elections.

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

“Like you, Obama!” interrupted a rowdy young man.

“Are you going to start screaming?” Obama responded, as the crowd erupted in loud boos in an attempt to drown out the rowdy.

“Wait, wait, everyone,” Obama said. “Hey, young man, just listen for a second. You know you have to be polite and civil when people talk, then other people talk, and then you have a chance to talk.

“Organise your own rally!” the former president joked. “A lot of people worked hard for this. Come on man.”

Capitol Police cameras captured a break-in at Pelosi’s home, but no one was watching

As the event began to come under control, Obama urged the crowd to “settle down” and said the incident sounded like the noise drowning out moderate voices in many political debates.

“It is part of what is happening in our politics these days. We are distracted,” Obama said.

“You have one person screaming and suddenly everyone is screaming. You get a stupid tweet and suddenly everyone is obsessed with the tweet. We can’t fall for that. We have to stay focused,” he said.

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

As he continued his speech, Obama referred to the “peaceful transfer of power” he underwent with Donald Trump when the Democrats lost in 2016, contrasting it with Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election. to Joe Biden. “This is what America is meant to be. Have we forgotten that? said Obama.

He noted that he had spoken to his “friend” Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), who was assaulted last week at the couple’s home in San Francisco. The attacker, identified as a man of extreme political views, shouted “Where’s Nancy?” upon arrival home. Discussing the attack, Obama critical “this growing habit of demonizing political opponents, of just shouting,” he told the crowd.

While campaigning for Democratic candidates in Arizona on November 2, former President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of Republican candidates refusing the election. (Video: The Washington Post)

Obama seemed to echo a speech given earlier today by President Biden who, also speaking of Pelosi, said there was “no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America, whether directed against Democrats or Republicans… No place , period”.

“You can’t just 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 set the nation “on the wrong track.” chaos”.

Biden warns GOP could put nation on ‘path to chaos’ as democratic system faces strain

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 Arizona voters, say they are ready for 250,000 to 350,000 people to vote in person Tuesday. They project between 1.4 million and 1.9 million voters in total.

The state’s early voting system has come under attack from some Republican activists who have spent the past several years casting suspicion on voting by mail and the drop boxes used to return early ballots, stoking skepticism during campaign and online events as to the county’s readiness for large numbers. voters in person.

Some Arizona voters have complained of being intimidated by self-proclaimed drop-box monitors — some of them armed — prompting a federal judge to set tough new limits.

At a press conference on Wednesday, election officials warned there could be queues at polling stations on Election Day, but said that should not be a sign of not organizing properly the elections, anticipating this “possible narrative” in a context of growing tensions.

Separately on Wednesday a federal judge order that a group monitoring Arizona’s ballot boxes for signs of fraud should stay at least 75 feet away from the ballot box and publicly correct false claims its members have made about Arizona election laws. The decision also prevents drop box observers from taking photos or videos of voters and using the material to spread baseless allegations of voter fraud.

Judge limits ballot box surveillance in Arizona after bullying allegations

Republican candidates in Arizona have fervently embraced Trump’s false allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Lake, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, called anyone who thinks Biden won with 81 million votes a “conspiracy theorist,” while Masters, the Republican Senate nominee, said unequivocally in an announcement: ” I think Trump won in 2020.”

According to a recent Washington Post analysisa majority of Republican candidates on the ballot for the House, Senate and major state offices – 291 in total – denied or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election.

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