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Trump: Liberation From Obamacare Near  07/26 06:14

   Celebrating a slim but symbolic health-care win in Washington, President 
Donald Trump told supporters in Ohio that the nation was one step closer to 
liberation from the "Obamacare nightmare."

   YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) -- Celebrating a slim but symbolic health-care win in 
Washington, President Donald Trump told supporters in Ohio that the nation was 
one step closer to liberation from the "Obamacare nightmare."

   "You think that's easy? That's not easy," he told a crowd of thousands just 
hours after the Senate took a small but hard-fought first step Tuesday toward 
Republicans' years-long promise to repeal and replace former President Barack 
Obama's health care law.

   Clearly energized to be back in front of a friendly crowd of supporters, 
Trump said repeatedly that he believes in speaking directly to the American 
people and not through the "fake news" media. And he joked about accusations 
that he doesn't act presidential.

   "It's so easy to act presidential," he said. "But that's not going to get it 

   Trump said that with the Senate's vote to allow consideration of a health 
care bill, "We're now one step closer to liberating our citizens from this 
Obamacare nightmare and delivering great health care for the American people."

   Tuesday's trip to Youngstown, a staunchly working-class, union-heavy enclave 
that has long helped anchor Democrats in Ohio, served as a welcome distraction 
from Washington for a president who loves to relive his once-unlikely Election 
Day win.

   In a room filled with supporters, Trump talked up his first six months in 
office, claiming that no other president had done "anywhere near" what he'd 
done in his first six months.

   "Not even close," he said.

   Far from questions about investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 
campaign and his repeated attempts to discredit his attorney general, Trump 
painted the picture of a president adored by his country, despite his dismal 
approval ratings.

   Trumpeting his administration's tough approach to illegal immigration and 
criminal gangs, Trump described people "screaming from their windows, 'Thank 
you, thank you,'" to border patrol agents and his Homeland Security secretary.

   "We're liberating our towns and we're liberating our cities. Can you believe 
we have to do that?" he asked, adding that law enforcement agents were rooting 
out gang members --- and "not doing it in a politically correct fashion. We're 
doing it rough."

   "Our guys are rougher than their guys," he bragged.

   Trump also said he's been working with a pair of Republican senators to 
"create a new immigration system for America."

   "We want a merit-based system, one that protects our workers" and one that 
"protects our economy," said Trump, endorsing legislation introduced by Sens. 
Tom Cotton and David Perdue that would put new limits on legal immigration.

   Ahead of the rally, Trump stopped by a veterans' event as part of the White 
House's weeklong celebration of servicemen and women. Following brief remarks 
by several of his Cabinet members, Trump entered a small room of veterans, 
several of them over 80 years old, and praised them for their commitment and 
sacrifice for the country.

   "A truly grateful nation salutes you," Trump told the group in Sutherland, 

   But he quickly shifted gears to recall his unexpected election win in Ohio, 
praising Youngstown and towns like it for helping him secure the electoral 
votes that put him over the top.

   "It was incredible time we had. You saw the numbers," he said. "Democrats, 
they win in Youngstown --- but not this time."

   Trump has mainly sought to re-litigate his 2016 victory in friendly 
territory, escaping Washington to recharge with boisterous crowds that embrace 
his jabs at "fake news" media, Democrats and even those Republicans whom Trump 
once vowed to defeat as part of his effort to "drain the swamp."

   Democrat Hillary Clinton herself did not frequent this stretch of the 
industrial Midwest in her campaign against Trump, instead dispatching her 
husband, the former president, on little-noticed bus tours of the region. Trump 
ended up narrowing Clinton's advantage to 3 points on his way to an 8-point 
victory statewide.

   The surrounding 13th Congressional District, which Trump lost by 6.5 
percentage points, is among the Democratic-held seats that Republicans are 
targeting next year, and the local congressman, Rep. Tim Ryan, happens to be 
one of the Democrats' most intense internal critics.

   Ryan won two-thirds of the vote to win an easy re-election in November 
despite Trump's performance, a result that demonstrates the president's appeal 
among white voters who have historically backed Democrats. Shortly after, he 
ran unsuccessfully against Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for House minority leader, 
and he continues to criticize the party for leaning too heavily on leaders from 
coastal states and failing to communicate a coherent economic message to much 
of the rest of the country.


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