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Obama to campaign with Clinton, Trump cries foul

President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail in one of the most anticipated moments of the 2016 US presidential race to seek votes and support for his one-time rival Hillary Clinton.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2016 01:19 IST
Yashwant Raj
President Barack Obama speaks during an Independence Day celebration in the White House on Monday.
President Barack Obama speaks during an Independence Day celebration in the White House on Monday.(AP)

President Barack Obama hits the campaign trail on Tuesday in one of the most anticipated moments of the 2016 US presidential race to seek votes and support for his one-time rival Hillary Clinton.

He will address a rally with Clinton in Northern Carolina, one of the states likely to determine the outcome in the November elections. And he has been itching for this moment.

White House aides have indicated Obama has been looking forward to stumping for Clinton, and to take on her Republican rival, Donald Trump, who, he believes, is dangerous.

The joint appearance comes just weeks ahead of Clinton’s formal coronation as the Democratic nominee at the party’s convention at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

While her remaining rival in the race, Bernie Sanders, has not quit yet, he is more focussed now on getting his pet ideas on the Democratic poll platform to be announced at the convention.

Obama endorsed Clinton, his rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential ticket, in June and his campaign appearances will be crucial for the nominee, who is battling trust and honesty issues.

The Associated Press cited aides of both Obama and Clinton and reported that the president, in his remarks, is expected to act as a “character witness” in support of his former secretary of state.

David Axelrod, a former Obama strategist, said, “I think that he can be very helpful, particularly with Democratic voters and some independent voters who have doubts.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee faces record un-favourability numbers, as does her rival Trump, and has admitted she needs to work harder to make her case.

The ongoing controversy about her use of a private email server as secretary of state has played a significant role in shaping that perception, even though she expressed regret about it.

In some quarters, Obama has been criticised for scheduling a joint appearance even as his administration investigates her email use, saying he may be “pre-judging” it.

Trump is keeping an eye on the Obama-Clinton rally and sent out a tweet slamming it as a misuse of tax-payers’ money — because Obama and Clinton will fly Air Force One to the rally.

“Taxpayers are paying a fortune for the use of Air Force One on the campaign trail by President Obama and Crooked Hillary,” Trump tweeted. “A total disgrace!”

The Clinton campaign pushed back, saying presidents do undertake such trips on Air Force One, and, “as is the standard practice, the campaign will cover its portion of the costs”.

Trump may have plenty to say after the rally, if he is not live-tweeting his response, as he has done often. But the presumptive Republican nominee has his own set of troubles.

He triggered new outrage last week when the image of a six-pointed star — like the Jewish Star of David symbol — he used in a tweet to slam Clinton as corrupt was called “anti-Semitic”.

The image, it turned out, was first seen on a social media message board frequented by anti-Semite and white supremacists. Trump replaced the star with a circle.

But the controversy continued, forcing him to respond again on Monday, blaming “dishonest media”. The campaign followed up with another statement on Tuesday.

And his battles with his own party continue. George Will, a leading conservative columnist, ended his membership of the Republican party late last month, blaming Trump