Obama stumps for Hillary, tears into Trump

CHARLOTTE (North Carolina) • United States President Barack Obama delivered a forceful plea to voters on behalf of likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as he praised the character of his former secretary of state.

Mr Obama, speaking in a swing state that helped elect him in 2008, laid out a passionate, compelling case and declared he is "ready to pass the baton" to Mrs Clinton, as he urged voters to make her the nation's first female commander-in-chief.

"I'm here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton," he told a fired-up crowd at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, pumping his fist and leading chants of "Hillary! Hillary!"

"There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office. Ever!" he said.

Things are looking bright for Mrs Clinton after the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday recommended that no charges be filed over an e-mail scandal.

Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama flew together to North Carolina on board Air Force One for the first in a series of high-profile rallies that she hopes will energise voters in crucial battleground states where the November election will be decided.

Mrs Clinton's campaign is targeting particularly minorities, who remain enamoured with the President.

Mr Obama, in his stump speech, tore into Mrs Clinton's likely opponent, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

He labelled the provocative billionaire as an untested, impatient blowhard who did not possess the right temperament for the Oval Office.

"Everybody can tweet, but nobody actually knows what it takes to do the job until you sit behind the desk," said Mr Obama, taking in a swipe at Mr Trump's propensity to take potshots at opponents on Twitter.

Mr Trump hit back, calling Mr Obama's return to the campaign trail "a carnival act", and derided him as a president "who doesn't know what the hell he's doing".

But Mr Obama, looking relaxed and confident on stage, said Mrs Clinton was the way forward.

"The bottom line is, I know Hillary can do the job," he said.

"I couldn't be more proud of the things we've done together, but I'm ready to pass the baton. And I know that Hillary Clinton is going to take it."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Obama stumps for Hillary, tears into Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe