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Obama: ‘Troubling’ Rhetoric of Right Media During Campaign Was Not ‘Connected to Facts’

Tuesday at a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, President Barack Obama said the “rhetoric among Republican elected officials and activists and media,” during the presidential campaign  was “pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to facts.”

Obama said, “When you see a Donald Trump and a Bernie Sanders, very unconventional candidates have considerable success, then obviously there’s something there that’s being tapped into. A suspicion of globalization, a desire to rein in its accesses, a suspicion of elites and governing institutions that people may not feel are responsive to their immediate needs, and that sometimes gets wrapped up in issues of ethnic identity or religious identity or cultural identity and that can be a volatile mix. It’s important to recognize though that those trends have always been there and it’s the job, I think, of leaders to try to address people’s real legitimate concerns and channel them in the most constructive ways possible.”

“Did I recognize that there was anger or frustration in the American population?” he continued. “Of course, I did. first of all, we had to fight back from the worst recession since the the great depression and I can guarantee you if your housing values have crashed and you’ve lost most of your pension and your job, you’re going to be pretty angry, and so we fought back and recovered. But that left, I think, fear and anxiety in a lot of people, a sense that the economy wasn’t as certain as it could be and maybe the game was rigged on Wall Street or by special interests in Washington or what have you and that’s been there.”

He added, “I was also aware of it because of the fact that you’ve seen some of the rhetoric among Republican elected officials and activists and media. some of it pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to facts, but being used effectively to mobilize people. And obviously, President-elect Trump tapped into that particular strain within the Republican party and broaden that enough and get enough votes to win the election.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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