President Obama Speaks to Annual Ohio Democratic Dinner

Oct 14, 2016

President Obama appeared at a Democratic fundraiser in Columbus.
Credit JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

President Obama was in Columbus Thursday night where he spoke to Democrats attending the annual state party dinner. The President had a pretty tough message for Republicans - but tailored for the Democratic Party faithful.

2,000 Democrats sat in the Hyatt Regency, enjoying a chicken dinner. But they appeared to savor the red meat President Obama was throwing their way from the podium even more. He questioned why many Republicans have sat silent for months while their presidential candidate, Donald Trump, made one controversial statement after another in speeches and on conservative talk television and radio shows.

“I guess it was ok when Trump was attacking minorities, suggesting that Mexicans were rapists and Muslims were unpatriotic, insulting Gold Star Moms and making fun of disabled Americans, I guess that didn’t tip it over the edge.”

Obama said even when Republicans knew it was wrong, they didn’t speak out.

“This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over again.”

Obama took particular issue with Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman who, this weekend, said he would not endorse Trump and would write in his running mate, Mike Pence, instead. Incidentally, if he does that, Portman's vote for president would not be counted since Pence is not a certified write in candidate. But Obama brought the crowd to a rousing ovation when he said Portman and other Republicans who also disavowed Trump this past week should have spoken out against him earlier.

“They don’t get credit for at the very last minute when finally the guy they nominated, endorsed and supported was caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on…you can’t wait until that finally happens and then say, that’s too much, that’s enough.”

Obama’s harsh words came on the same day that two different polls from NBC and Emerson College showed Portman with at least a 17 point lead over Democratic challenger Ted Strickland. That NBC poll also showed Trump one point ahead of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, though polls earlier in the week showed she has a slight lead.