Obama Says The Election Isn’t Reality TV Like ‘Survivor’: ‘This Counts!’

AP

Speaking at a Thursday rally for Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama doubled down on his high-stakes characterization of the presidential election and warned voters not to mistake it for reality television.

“All the progress we’ve made goes out the window if we don’t win this election,” Obama said in his speech at Florida International University. “So we’ve got to work our hearts out this week. We’ve got to work like our future depends on it because it actually depends on it.”

He addressed young voters, warning them not to be discouraged by negative ads and rhetoric in the election.

“I know, some of you, this is your first election where you’ve been paying attention and you’re out there and you’re looking at it and you’re saying, man, this is really nasty,” Obama said.

He said that it was tempting to tune out political coverage in favor of less depressing subjects like sports. Obama congratulated the Chicago Cubs for winning the World Series, calling it the “greatest thing since sliced bread” for Cubs fans before returning to his argument.

“But this election is critical and the good news is once you get past all the noise and all the distractions and all the okey-doke, the choice could not be clearer. Because Donald Trump—don’t boo,” he interjected. “He can’t hear you boo but he can hear you vote.”

Obama condemned Trump’s sensitivity to criticism and called him “temperamentally unfit” to be president, referencing how Alec Baldwin’s parody of the GOP nominee seemed to get under his skin.

“Anybody who is upset about a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, you don’t want in charge of nuclear weapons,” he said. “Really? I mean, that’s the thing that bothers you and you want to be president of the United States? Come on, man. Come on.”

Obama doubled down on the criticism of the normalization of extreme rhetoric he made in his Wednesday stump speech for Clinton at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

“It’s become normal when somebody just says wacky stuff, as long as they’re famous, we think it’s okay,” he said, citing Trump’s comments about women and Muslims as well as his threats against the media and his comment during the second debate that Clinton would be “in jail” if he was elected.

“You can’t make excuses for this stuff,” Obama said. “This isn’t a joke. This isn’t ‘Survivor.’ This isn’t ‘The Bachelorette.’ This counts.”

He also criticized Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is currently running for re-election against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL).

“Unlike his opponent, Marco Rubio, Patrick actually shows up to work. He puts you ahead of politics,” Obama said.

He went on to slam Rubio for voting for Trump despite previously calling him a “dangerous con artist.”

“He said that Donald Trump has spent a career sticking it to working people. And then he tweeted, this is Marco Rubio, he tweeted, friends don’t let friends vote for con artists. So guess who just voted for Donald Trump a few days ago?” Obama said. “Marco Rubio.”

Watch his riff about reality television below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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