President Barack Obama used part of his final White House press conference of the year to take shots at Russia and the media, and to argue that Ronald Reagan would disapprove of what he called Republican voters’ warming to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave,” @Potus says of Trump, GOP voters, and Putin.
The main topic Friday afternoon was alleged Russian hacking and interference in the U.S. election, after reports that the intelligence community determined Putin’s government sought to help elect Donald Trump as president.
But aside from hacking the email of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, Obama said, there was no tampering with votes in local and state election systems.
“I can assure the public that there was not a kind of tampering with the voting process that was a concern and will continue to be a concern going forward,” the president said, when asked if the election was free and fair.
“The votes that were cast were counted. They were counted appropriately. We have not seen evidence of machines being tampered with.”
Obama also said relentless coverage of the email leaks were “unfair” to Clinton.
“I’m finding it a little curious that everyone is acting surprised that this looked like it was disadvantaging Hillary Clinton, because you guys wrote about it every single day,” he said in the White House’s packed press briefing room. “This was an obsession that dominated the news coverage.”
I do think it is worth reflecting how a presidential election of such importance, of such moment, with so many big issues at stake and such a contrast between the candidates, seemed to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks.
Obama, who departed later Friday with his family for a 17-day holiday vacation in Hawaii, also appeared to put coverage of the email scandals in the category of “fake news”:
If fake news that is being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued by partisan news venues, then it’s not surprising that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched compared to some of the other stuff folks are hearing from domestic propagandists.
Obama also suggested that Republican voters are warming to Russia’s Putin, which he said was entirely about politics.
“There was a survey from a reputable source that found 37 percent of Republican voters approved of Putin,” Obama said. “Over a third of Republican voters approved of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave.”
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