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In N.C., Obama dismisses Trump, rips Sen. Burr for 'bulls-eye' gun joke about Clinton

"If I heard a Democrat [joke about violence], I would condemn them in a hot second," Obama said of Sen. Richard Burr's ill-timed quip about Hillary Clinton.

By Doug G. Ware
In N.C., Obama dismisses Trump, rips Sen. Burr for 'bulls-eye' gun joke about Clinton
President Barack Obama attended a rally for Hillary Clinton, pictured above at the White House in 2012, in the battleground state of North Carolina on Wednesday -- where he criticized GOP candidate Donald Trump and Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr for remarks he made last weekend about crosshairs on Clinton's face on the cover of a gun magazine. "That's not who North Carolina is," he said. File Photo by Pat Benic | License Photo

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Now with less than a week left before the election, President Barack Obama rallied voters in North Carolina on Wednesday and didn't pull a punch in his assessment of Donald Trump and the state's most senior senator.

Speaking at the University of North Carolina Wednesday afternoon, the president encouraged voters to pay only limited attention to the GOP attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, like the FBI's rereview of its email investigation.

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"I want you to push away the noise for a second and just focus on the choice you face in this election," he said. "Because the truth is, if we put aside all the noise, all the distractions, all the hype, all the nonsense, if you push all that away this choice actually could not be simpler, it could not be clearer. It really couldn't."

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Obama, who has been campaigning for Clinton for a few weeks now, pointed out what he said are numerous flaws with Republican candidate Donald Trump.

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"This is somebody who claims to be a great businessman," Obama said. "I know a lot of businesspeople right here in North Carolina and all across the country who have done really, really well without stiffing small businesses or workers out of what they owed them.

"We don't have a history of somebody who refuses to release any tax returns at all. And maybe it's because he's not as rich as he says he is. Maybe it's because he hasn't paid federal income taxes in years. This is something he's said. I'm not making it up. He hasn't paid a dime. Not for our troops, not for our veterans, not for our great universities, not for our community colleges, not for building roads, not for maintaining our national parks, not for any of the things that keep America the greatest nation on Earth."

Obama also lambasted Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who sparked controversy last weekend by saying he was surprised a recent gun magazine with Clinton on the cover didn't have a "bulls-eye" on it.

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"He and I came in together, in the Senate [in 2005], and personally he's a decent guy, I've got nothing against Richard Burr," he said. "But when I hear him say, 'there's not a separation between me and Donald Trump,' that's troubling. ... And lately he's been mimicking Donald Trump. Last week, he actually joked about violence against Hillary. That's not something we do.

"I tell you, if I heard a Democrat saying that, I would condemn them in a hot second. You don't talk about violence against public officials, even in a joke."

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Burr subsequently apologized for the quip, but the damage may already be done, as he is fighting a close race to keep his Senate seat next Tuesday against Democratic challenger Deborah Ross.

"He apologized, but the problem is this is becoming normal," the president continued. "This is sort of the red meat they're throwing their audiences. And it's not normal, and it's not who North Carolina is."

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Obama also slammed Burr for remarking recently that, if Clinton is elected, he will do everything in his power to block any and all of her Supreme Court nominations -- something the GOP has already done with Obama's last nomination following the death in February of Antonin Scalia.

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"[They said] the American people should decide the next Supreme Court justice. Now they're saying, 'well if they don't decide the way we want them to decide, we may not even do that,'" he noted. "Eleven years ago, Richard Burr said a Supreme Court without nine justices would not work. Well what changed? What, only Republican presidents get to nominate judges?"

Obama attended the rally because North Carolina is expected to be an important battleground state on Tuesday. Analysts say although it's not must-win territory for Clinton, a victory there would make getting 270 electoral votes much more difficult for Trump, who must win nearly all of the swing states to attain the presidency.

"Let me be clear, North Carolina -- bidness," Obama added. "

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