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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Battle Over N.C. Heats Up as Obama Bashes Burr, Roasts Trump

Posted by on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 12:04 PM

click to enlarge President Barack Obama talks to the crowd at a rally on November 2, 2016, at UNC's Hooker Field in Chapel Hill. - ALEX BOERNER
  • Alex Boerner
  • President Barack Obama talks to the crowd at a rally on November 2, 2016, at UNC's Hooker Field in Chapel Hill.

Sitting under an unseasonably warm November sun, President Barack Obama brought his own heat to the Michael Hooker Fields at UNC-Chapel Hill. The crowd of about sixteen thousand sweated and suffered through dehydration to listen to Obama and other North Carolina-based Hillary Clinton surrogates urge students to vote.


U.S. Representative David Price, who represents North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District, pointed out that an early voting location was open within a few minutes’ walk from the field and urged students to join him and his family to go cast ballots after the rally.


After a few songs from James Taylor (yes, he played “Carolina in my Mind”), and speeches from Senate hopeful Deborah Ross and gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, Obama took the stage to loud cheers.

"Keep in mind, North Carolina, all the progress that we've made over the past eight years ... goes out the window if we don't win this election,” Obama exhorted them.



"The fate of the world is teetering,” he continued. “And you, North Carolina, are going to have to make sure we push it in the right direction,” the president said.



Obama also took the opportunity to slam Senator Richard Burr, whom Obama said he used to see at the gym a lot when they were senators. The president didn’t take kindly to Burr’s recent comments about Hillary Clinton having a bull's-eye on her.


click to enlarge Chapel Hill, North Carolina - President Barack Obama talks to the crowd in attendance at the rally Wednesday November 2, 2016 at UNC's Hooker Fields in Chapel Hill. - ALEX BOERNER
  • Alex Boerner
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina - President Barack Obama talks to the crowd in attendance at the rally Wednesday November 2, 2016 at UNC's Hooker Fields in Chapel Hill.

“You don’t talk about violence against public officials, even in a joke,” he said. “This is becoming normal. This is the red meat they’re throwing their audiences, and it’s not normal, and it’s not who North Carolina is.”


There’s also the whole “Let’s not appoint anyone to the Supreme Court if Hillary is elected” thing. Again, Obama is not a fan.

“Eleven years ago, Richard Burr said a Supreme Court without nine justices would not work,” he said. “What changed? Only Republican presidents get to nominate judges? Is that in the Constitution?”



Obama’s attacks on Burr are an indication that Democrats think they have a chance at a Senate seat; at this point in the game, the race is a toss-up with a slight Republican advantage, according to RealClearPolitics averages, though in many polls Burr outperforms both Donald Trump and Governor McCrory. 


Obama also didn’t waste any time noting Burr’s attachment to Trump.


"You don't want a senator that goes around saying, 'Yes, sir, Mr. Trump. What can I do for you, Mr. Trump,'" Obama said.


As for Trump, Obama had this (among other things to say): "It's strange how over time what is crazy gets normalized, and we just kind of assume, wow, you know what, he's said one hundred crazy things and the hundred-and-first we just don't even notice it.”


Other notable quotes:


Roy Cooper on HB2: "With the stroke of a pen, Governor McCrory has written discrimination into our law. … It must be repealed."


Deborah Ross on Burr’s “bull's-eye” comments: "We don't joke about violence against people who are running for the highest office of the land.”


Representative David Price: "In North Carolina, we know all too well that the forces of discrimination ... have not gone quietly into the night."


“Can we get a medic over here?”—Everyone

"I'm still focused on bidness."—Obama

With just five days left in the election, both campaigns are still spending ample time in North Carolina. Clinton is set to visit Pitt Community College-Winterville at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday. Bernie Sanders will be in Raleigh Thursday night along with Pharrell Williams at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater at 7:45 p.m.


Trump, meanwhile, is expected to make a 4 p.m. campaign stop in Concord and another one in Selma at 7 p.m. today.

To see photos from yesterday’s event, go here.

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