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President-Elect Donald Trump will find that being in the White House will “shake him up pretty quick, says Barack Obama

Obama leaves Monday on the final planned foreign trip of his presidency, with stops in Greece, Germany and Peru

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President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, Nov. 14, 2016. VOA
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Nov 14, 2016: President Barack Obama says good sound bites do not always make good policy, and he says President-elect Donald Trump will find that being in the White House will “shake him up pretty quick.”

Obama held his first White House news conference Monday since Trump’s stunning election upset over Hillary Clinton last week.

The president already had held a White House meeting with Trump and said he believes the incoming president is not as ideological as people think, and that he will be a pragmatic leader as long as he is surrounded by good people.

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President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. VOA
President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. VOA

Obama said he is leaving the country in better shape than it was when he took power in 2009, when the economy was on the verge of a depression and there were a “huge number of fires” to put out. He said Trump will have the “time and space to make judicious decisions,” and that the infamous Trump temperament will not always serve him well.

The president said those who oppose Trump have to recognize that this is the way democracy works. He appealed to them to let Trump make his decisions, saying the American people will judge if they like what they see.

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But Obama said Trump’s election — in which total voter turnout was only about 55 percent and Trump lost the popular vote but still won the Electoral College — is a reminder that elections matter and votes count. He wondered aloud how many times the country has to learn that lesson.

Overseas trip

Obama leaves Monday on the final planned foreign trip of his presidency, with stops in Greece, Germany and Peru.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the trip is a signal of solidarity with the country’s closest allies, and a way to show “support for a strong and integrated and united Europe.”

Rhodes said to reporters in previewing the trip that no matter the outcome of the election, Obama and the rest of his administration have a stake in seeing the next one succeed, and that the world also has a similar interest.

Rhetoric and reality

Trump has repeatedly spoken against international agreements reached during Obama’s presidency, including the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the international climate deal that went into effect last month, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that has not yet cleared the U.S. Senate.

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Obama said during his news conference that Iran is a good example of the “gap between some of the rhetoric and the reality.” He said it is easy to call an agreement terrible if you are not responsible for it.

He said the evidence shows Iran has been abiding by the nuclear agreement signed last year with the U.S. and five major allies. He said it would be hard to explain why the deal is being unraveled, and that the U.S. would have to sanction the other countries that would still be a part of it. (VOA)

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Video- USA Gears Up For Its Midterm Elections

Trump and Obama may never appear as opposing candidates on a ballot together, but they are facing off in a closely watched proxy battle in this year’s midterm campaign.

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MIdterm Elections
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Illinois. VOA

For former U.S. president Barack Obama, it must seem like old times. Obama has started to hit the campaign trail on behalf of Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections, setting up what amounts to a proxy battle with the man who succeeded him, President Donald Trump.

Trump already has been a fixture on the campaign trail on behalf of Republicans, convinced that aggressive efforts in Republican-leaning states will protect Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Obama’s initial foray into the 2018 congressional campaign came at the University of Illinois where he urged young Democrats to keep up the fight for social and economic justice.

“Each time we have gotten closer to those ideals, somebody somewhere has pushed back,” Obama said. “It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He is just capitalizing on resentment that politicians have been fanning for years.”

Get out the vote

Obama also campaigned in California on behalf of several Democratic House candidates, where he urged activists to turn out and vote in November.

“When we are not participating, when we are not paying attention, when we are not stepping up, other voices fill the void,” Obama told a Democratic gathering in Anaheim. “But the good news in two months, we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics.”

Obama now finds himself competing against the man who succeeded him, President Trump, and who has vowed to undo much of what Obama did during his presidency.

Midterm Elections
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Illinois. VOA

Touting the economy

For his part, Trump has been eager to get out on the campaign trail and has promised a vigorous effort to energize Republican voters to keep their congressional majorities in November.

“This election is about jobs. It is safety and it is jobs,” Trump said at a recent Republican rally in Billings, Montana. “Thanks to Republican leadership, our economy is booming like never before in our history. Think of it, in our history. Nobody knew this was going to happen.”

Trump also is stoking fear among his Republican supporters that a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives in November could lead to his impeachment.

“We will worry about that if it ever happens,” he told the crowd in Billings. “But if it does happen, it is your fault because you did not go out to vote. OK? You didn’t go out to vote.”

Midterm Elections
Supporters hold signs as President Donald Trump speaks during a rally Aug. 21, 2018, in Charleston, W.Va. VOA

Referendum on Trump

Midterm elections are historically unkind to sitting presidents. But unlike many of his predecessors, Trump has embraced the notion that the November congressional vote will be a referendum on his presidency.

Political analysts said that strategy carries both risk and reward.

“The enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle is really related to the president,” said George Washington University political scientist Lara Brown. “I think the last numbers I saw were that more than 40 percent of people who said that they would be very likely to vote were going to be either voting for the president or against the president in this midterm.”

Trump and Obama already have jousted over who should get credit for the strong U.S. economy. At his rallies, Trump touts economic growth and job creation numbers since he took over the presidency, arguing that the national economy is “booming like never before.”

Obama has offered some pushback on the campaign trail.

Midterm Elections
President Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser in Fargo, N.D. VOA

“Let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said in his Illinois speech, highlighting job growth during his White House years as part of the recovery from the 2008 recession.

Head-to-head battle

Like Trump, Obama also has proved to be a lightning rod for voters. The 44th president was effective in two presidential campaigns at turning out Democrats but was a drag on the party in his two midterm elections, spurring Republicans to turn out against him.

During this year’s midterm, Obama is likely to focus on mobilizing women, younger activists and nonwhite voters, key parts of the Democratic coalition that helped him win the White House in 2008 and 2012.

Also Read: Trump Needs Obama For Dealing With North Korea, Said Jon Wolfsthal

“That enthusiasm is there throughout the Democratic Party and across demographic groups,” said Brookings Institution scholar John Hudak. “And for the first time many voters are going to see options on their ballot that look and sound and talk about issues in different ways, and that is always something that is appealing to a voter base.”

Trump and Obama may never appear as opposing candidates on a ballot together, but they are facing off in a closely watched proxy battle in this year’s midterm campaign where party control of Congress is at stake. (VOA)