Obama takes his anti-Trump message to Orange County, California – once a GOP stronghold

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – Following a fiery appearance in his home state of Illinois, former President Barack Obama brought his star power among Democrats Saturday to Orange County, California – a traditional GOP stronghold.

He spoke to about 900 Democratic supporters at the Anaheim Convention Center here, some wearing T-shirts supporting congressional candidates in closer races that could foreshadow the political transformation of Orange County.

Awaiting his appearance, they occasionally broke into chants of “Take it back,” referring to Congress.

As he did Friday,, Obama took a far tougher stance against President Donald Trump than former presidents have against their predecessors in the past. In his Friday speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Obama took direct aim at Trump, referring to “crazy stuff that is coming out of this White House.”

Trump, in remarks to a crowd in North Dakota, took Obama’s speech Friday in stride, saying it put him to sleep.

“I’m sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep … I found he’s very good – very good for sleeping,” he said.

Obama delivered his message in one of the most critical counties in the country for Democrats ahead of the November midterms. For generations, Orange County has been known for its right-wing politics – even as Los Angeles County to the north skewed far more to the left.

Democrats are counting on a strong showing in California in November’s elections in the battle to take control of Congress. They are targeting several congressional districts. While Democrats have gained, Republicans overall still have a registration edge in the county — 563,992 to 516,121 at the start of the year, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

More: The war of words between Barack Obama and Donald Trump is about your vote this November

More: Trump says he fell asleep watching Obama’s speech

More: Read transcript of former President Obama’s speech, blasting President Trump

Demographics have changed with an influx of Latinos, Asians and other immigrants.

The county’s economy has evolved away from manufacturing and to more services and high-tech jobs that attract white-collar workers who are inclined to vote Democratic

Like much of the country, unemployment is low in Orange County and the economy is strong, meaning turnout could be more dependent on anger about Trump and his policies rather than dissatisfaction with the state of the nation.

 

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