U.S. News

Obama calls notion of voter fraud 'fake news'

Obama: We have more work to do on race

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the 'whole notion of voting fraud' in the United States is fake news.

Obama, speaking at his final press conference two days before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, said fraud at the polls is something that has been repeatedly disproved.

"We have the opposite problem. We have a whole bunch of people who are eligible to vote who don't vote," Obama said in the White House briefing room on Wednesday. "The idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn't make sense."

Obama's remarks contrast the president-elect who has said prior to his Nov. 8 election victory that "there is large scale voter fraud happening." Trump later fired off at a CNN reporter who said the president-elect "falsely" claimed extensive voter fraud.

@realDonaldTrump: Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!

President Obama walks out of the Brady Press Room after holding a year-end press conference addressing email hacking and cyber security at The White House on December 16, 2016 in Washington, DC
Leigh Vogel | WireImage

On Wednesday, Obama, advocating for better voting rights, said the U.S. is the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote.

"The reason that we are the only country, among advanced democracies, that makes it harder to vote is it traces back to Jim Crow and our legacy of slavery," he said. "It became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise. And that's not who we are."

The news conference also came after the president's decision to largely commute the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, an army intelligence analyst convicted of a massive 2010 leak.

The decision means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into his prison term.

Obama said on Wednesday Manning served a "tough prison sentence," and in light of the circumstances that commuting her was "entirely appropriate."