COLUMBUS, Ohio — President Barack Obama said Tuesday that sexism is to blame for the tight race for the White House, telling an Ohio crowd that “Hillary Clinton is consistently treated differently than just about any other candidate I see out there."
Obama went on: "There's a reason we haven’t had a woman president."
Speaking specifically to "the guys out there," Obama told them to "look inside yourself and ask yourself, if you’re having problems with this stuff how much of it is that we’re just not used to it?"
He noted, "When a guy is ambitious and out in the public arena and working hard, well that’s okay, but when a woman suddenly does it, suddenly you’re all like, 'Well, why’s she doing that? I’m just being honest."
The president added that Clinton is “so much better qualified than” Republican Donald Trump. "This notion that it's somehow hard to choose? it shouldn’t be."
Obama’s appearance on a college campus in Columbus came as the presidential race appeared to be tightening in the wake of last week’s revelation that the FBI found possibly new evidence in its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Most political observers believe Republican Donald Trump has a slight edge in Ohio, but his path to the White House becomes much tougher without a win there, so Democrats are hoping to cut him off at the pass.
Trump’s competitiveness in the state is due in part to its large working-class population, which has traditionally leaned Democratic but has shown enthusiasm for Trump’s populist message this cycle. The president aimed part of his speech directly at those voters, declaring Trump “wouldn’t let you into one of his hotels unless you were cleaning the room” or onto his golf courses "unless you were mowing the fairway."
"This guy is gonna be your champion?" he asked, incredulously. "Don’t be bamboozled!"
Obama also highlighted Trump’s many controversial comments about women, minorities and others throughout the course of the campaign, and warned the crowd: "Who you are, what you are, does not change once you occupy the Oval Office."
"The only thing this office does is it amplifies who you are, it magnifies who you are, it shows who you are," he added.