PHILADELPHIA » President Barack Obama says it isn’t just the idea of Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear button that he finds scary.
“I set aside the nuclear codes,” he said in an interview broadcast on NBC’s Today Show today. “What I think is scary is a president who doesn’t know their stuff and doesn’t seem to have an interest in learning what they don’t know.”
As Obama prepared to address the Democratic National Convention today, he warned in the interview that Trump could win in November.
“I’ve seen all kinds of crazy stuff happen,” he said, expressing concerns that voters might get complacent.
Obama also offered his thoughts about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server and talked about why Democrats are projecting a theme of optimism at their convention.
“Anybody who goes into campaigns not running scared can end up losing,” Obama said. “So my advice to Democrats — I don’t have to give this advice to Hillary Clinton, because she already knows it— is you stay worried until all those votes are cast and counted because you know, one of the dangers in an election like this is that people don’t take the challenge seriously. They stay home. And we end up getting the unexpected.”
Obama, a skilled campaigner who has proven particularly effective at prodding Trump, offered his assessment of why the prospect of him on the Oval Office should frighten Americans. “If you listen to any press conference he’s given, or listen to any of those debates, basic knowledge about the world or what a nuclear triad is or where various countries are or, you know, the difference between Sunni and Shia in the Muslim world— those are things that he doesn’t know and hasn’t seemed to spend a lot of time trying to find out about.”
On Clinton’s email troubles, Obama said FBI director James Comey “was comprehensive, unusually so, about how they arrived at their decision” to advise against an indictment. He said Clinton had acknowledged she made mistakes and that demands she be put in jail are irrational.
“Folks are rough on Hillary Clinton in ways that even as somebody who, I’ve had my share of, you know, gettin’ whacked in the public eye, I’m surprised by sometimes. And I don’t think it’s fair,” he said.
In his speech tonight, Obama said he will strike an optimistic note, even as he acknowledged his plan to change the political tenor of Washington had come up short.
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