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'Don't boo vote': Obama defends Trump supporter at Clinton rally

November 05, 2016 12:23 IST

United States President Barack Obama defended a supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as the crowd at a Democratic rally in Fayetteville began yelling at him when he stood up with a pro-Trump sign.

IMAGE: US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a Hillary for America campaign event at  Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Obama repeatedly told the crowd to "hold up" as Hillary Clinton's supporters started booing a man who stood up with the sign supporting the Republican presidential nominee.

The man, dressed in a military uniform, stood in the aisle of the arena stands and just held up his sign, which was one of the usual sizes. He didn't say anything.

"No, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold up. Hold up. Hold up. Hold up. Hold up. Hey, hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Hold up, hold up, hold up!," said the president as the audience did not listen to him.

"Hillary! Hillary! Hillary" they kept yelling.

"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, listen up! Hey, everybody! Everybody! Hey! Hey! Listen up! Hey! I told you to be focused, and you're not focused right now! Listen to what I'm saying," Obama said as he appeared to be frustrated.

"Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Everybody sit down and be quiet for a second. Everybody sit down and be quiet for a second. Now, listen up! I'm serious, listen up. You've got an older gentleman who is supporting his candidate. He's not doing nothing -- you don't have to worry about him," Obama said.

"This is what I mean about folks not being focused. First of all, we -- hold up! Hold up! First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech," Obama said amidst applause from the audience.

IMAGE: A Donald Trump supporter holds a poster during Obama's speech.

Obama told the crowd that it appears the man was a veteran, and they should respect his service.

"So, second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military, and we've got to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly, and we've got to respect our elders. And fourth of all, don't boo vote! Come on," he said.

Obama asked people to pay attention and reminded his supporters of free speech rights in the US.

"Because if we don't -- if we lose focus, we could have problems. This is part of what's happened here during this election season. We just get stirred up for all kinds of reasons that are unnecessary. Just relax," he said as the audience and the president burst into laughter.

At a late-night election rally in Hershey and Pennsylvania, Trump alleged that Obama "screamed" at his supporter.

"Obama spoke in front of a much smaller crowd than this and there was a protester who likes us. He was talking to the protester, really screaming at him," Trump said.

"If I spoke the way Obama spoke to that protester, they would say he became unhinged," said the Republican presidential nominee.

Lalit K Jha
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