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Obama accuses Donald Trump of campaigning by 'scapegoating'

Posted at 7:59 AM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 11:21:10-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Donald Trump is waging a White House campaign based on "simplistic solutions and scapegoating."

In an interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, Obama said Trump "is putting out a message that has had adherents through history."

He charged that the billionaire real estate mogul and TV celebrity has been appealing to people's fears and uncertainty about the future.

"Talk to me if he wins," Obama told anchorman Matt Lauer, when asked how seriously Trump should be viewed.

When asked what he thinks about the possibility of a Trump presidency, Obama replied, "I can imagine it in a Saturday night skit."

But Obama also conceded in the interview that the country is more divided than he promised when he ran for the White House. When asked if he felt responsible for that, he said, "It's a regret."

Obama did say, however, that he "could not be prouder" of his accomplishments, citing among other things the country's emergence from the Great Recession of 2009.

Vice President Joe Biden, who also appeared on the show originating from the White House, said "I think it's possible" that Trump could win the presidency.

If that happens, Biden added, "I hope that he gets a lot more serious about the issues, a lot more serious about gaining knowledge about how this nation functions in foreign policy and domestic policy."

"I think he is divisive," the vice president said. ".. I think he would acknowledge he is very divisive ... and we always do poorly when we play to our fears and our differences."