Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Obama criticises Trump for 'taking no blame for the pandemic he ignored'
22 October 2020, 06:34 | Updated: 22 October 2020, 06:43
Barack Obama laid into US President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus, his culpability in national discord and his overall fitness for the job as he campaigned for Joe Biden.
Trump's predecessor in the White House told a drive-in campaign rally in Philadelphia that Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, can mend a fractured country.
He lauded the merits of democracy and citizenship as "human values" that the United States must again embrace.
He said: "America is a good and decent place, but we've just seen so much nonsense and noise that sometimes it's hard to remember."
Obama's visit to Philadelphia underscores the significance of Pennsylvania, the Rust Belt state that helped deliver Trump the White House four years ago.
Pennsylvania is the battleground state that Biden has visited the most this campaign season, and Trump has prioritised the state as well, aware that his path to victory would narrow considerably without the state's 20 electoral votes.
The former president said: "I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision or continue my policies, but I did hope for the sake of the country that he might show some interest in taking the job seriously."
He added that Trump "wants full credit for the economy he inherited and no blame for the pandemic he ignored".
He disparaged the Republicans' "shameful" attempts to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act while always promising a replacement.
"It's been 'coming in two weeks' for the last 10 years. Where is it? Where is this great plan to replace Obamacare?" he asked.
"There is no plan. They've never had one."
Hitting back, in North Carolina the Republican president mocked Obama for being wrong about the 2016 election outcome.
During a rally in Gastonia on Wednesday evening, the president took aim at Obama.
"There was nobody that campaigned harder for crooked Hillary Clinton than Obama, right?" Trump told rally-goers, who booed at the mention of his old adversaries' names. "He was all over the place."
The president added: "I think the only one more unhappy than crooked Hillary that night was Barack Hussein Obama."
Trump also mocked Obama's reported initial lack of support for Biden, his vice-president from 2009-2017.
In 2016, Obama reportedly pressured Biden to sit out the race and allow Hillary Clinton to run, believing she had the better chance of defeating Trump.
And last year Obama said there was a need for "new blood" in the Democratic leadership, interpreted by many as a slight to Biden.
On Thursday night, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have one final chance to address Americans in the final televised debate before the election.
After the first debate descended into a shambolic squabble and the second was cancelled in a dispute over whether it should be held virtually after Trump caught coronavirus, the two candidates will meet face-to-face again for a Thursday night prime time 90-minute event.