Former President Barack Obama took credit Monday for what he called the “economic miracles” happening under President Trump.
In a speech to Nevada Democrats, Mr. Obama derided Mr. Trump, without naming him, as merely being handed off a booming economy by the previous president and contrasted that with his own inheritance on the economy.
“By the time I left office wages were rising … poverty was falling and that’s what I handed off to the next guy,” he said before chuckling. “So when you hear all this talk about economic miracles right now. Remember who started it. Remember who started it! C’mon!”
The Democratic rally then interrupted his address with a standing ovation.
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin was less impressed, throwing another of Mr. Obama’s lines back at him in reaction to that clip.
“You didn’t build that @BarackObama. Sit. Down,” she wrote on Twitter.
Another conservative on Twitter noted that when he was in office, Obama administration officials had implied that the growth rates America is seeing in 2018 were a thing of the past.
“But I thought 1-2% GDP was the new normal and we’d never see huge growth again?!? Who could’ve known,” wrote “BackFeminism.”
Mr. Obama drew an unfavorable comparison with former President George W. Bush, his own predecessor, and invited his audience to see a pattern.
“When I walked into office 10 years ago, we were in the middle of the worst economic crisis of our lifetime. That was the last time that the other party was in charge of things,” he said. “I just hope people kinda notice that every time there’s a pattern — that every time, they run things into ground and we have to come back and clean things up.”
He credited his own administration’s actions — including tax increases and Obamacare — for starting the current economic boom.
“Because of the work we did … we got the economy rolling again. We started the longest streak of job creation on record … we brought housing back,” he said, noting to his audience that Nevada was one of the states worst-hit by the subprime-mortgage crisis that precipitated the 2008-09 recession.
“We cut our deficits by more than half partly by making sure the wealthiest Americans — folks like me — paid their fair share of taxes,” he maintained.
Mr. Obama was in Nevada to drum up support for Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, who is in a tight race against incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller, and energize voters in the swing state who delivered big for Democrats in 2016 but stayed home during the midterm elections in 2014.
Mr. Obama, who won the state in 2008 and 2012, railed against the GOP tax law, efforts to repeal his Affordable Care Act, Mr. Trump’s attacks on the media, political pressure he’s put on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
He also criticized Mr. Heller, saying, “the current senator, he doesn’t seem to be willing to stand up to this. He just goes along, even when you get a sense he knows it’s not right.”
Ms. Rosen, a first-term congresswoman, is seen as one of Democrats’ best opportunities to flip control of a Senate seat, though the party faces slim chances of taking control of the Senate.
She narrowly won election to her Las Vegas-area district in 2014 and is taking on a politician who not only has already won a statewide election but has never lost an election despite serving nearly three decades in public offices.
Democrats are also in a close battle for the governor’s office, which will oversee state and federal redistricting occurring after the 2020 census.
The rally at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas arena included performances from hip–hop group Salt–N–Pepa and Columbian reggaeton star J Balvin and a speech from actress America Ferrera.
The GOP on Monday responded with criticism of Mr. Obama’s record in Nevada.
Keelie Broom, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said “Nevada saw some of its darkest days as a result of relentless government overreach advanced by the Obama administration.”
“We’ve made incredible strides thanks to President Trump and our GOP–led Congress, and it’s insulting for Barack Obama to come out here and try to rally support for candidates … who will work to systematically dismantle the policies generating all of this progress.”
The event followed visits over the weekend by former Vice President Joe Biden, who rallied with Democrats outside a union hall in Las Vegas, and a rally in the rural town of Elko by Mr. Trump.
The former president has generally kept a low profile since leaving office and has been selective about campaigning for Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.
This article includes wire reports.