Former President Barack Obama, back on the campaign trail on Thursday for the first time since he left the White House, called on voters to reject a growing "politics of division" that he said was corroding American democracy.
Without mentioning Republican President Donald Trump by name, Obama told campaign rallies in New Jersey and Virginia that voters could send a powerful message about the type of politics they want by backing Democrats in Nov. 7 elections in the two states.
"What we can't have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before, that dates back centuries," Obama told a cheering crowd in Newark, New Jersey, that chanted: "Four more years."
"Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That's folks looking 50 years back," Obama said. "It's the 21st century, not the 19th century."
At a later stop in Richmond, Virginia, Obama said modern politics increasingly did not reflect basic American values of inclusiveness and were driving people away from the process.
"We've got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage. Sometimes that feels frustrating," Obama said.