(CNSNews.com) - Democrats have Republican friends and neighbors who are "some great people," President Obama said Thursday at a campaign rally in Ohio.
But the Republican base includes a "swamp of crazy" -- people who deny climate change, espouse conspiracy theories, listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Obama said Republican politicians who "knew better" never spoke up.
So "all that bile -- all that exaggeration, all that stuff that wasn't grounded in fact, just bubbled up," Obama said -- producing Donald Trump as the Republican Party's presidential nominee.
Obama said even most Republican politicians don't believe Donald Trump is qualified to be president. "I know because I talk to them," he said.
"So the problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they've been riding this tiger for a long time. They've been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience.
"So if Trump was running around saying I wasn't born here, they're OK with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the anti-Christ, well, you know, that's just politics.
"You think I'm joking," Obama said.
"If somebody completely denies climate change or gets filled up with all kinds of conspiracy theories about how me and Hillary started ISIL, or that we were plotting to declare martial law, take away everybody's guns. And we did a military exercise...in Texas, and suddenly all the folks in Texas were like, they're going to take over right now."
Obama mocked those concerns.
"But they took it seriously. This is in the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again. And -- you know, and it's-- there's sort of a spectrum. It's a whole kind of ecosystem, you know.
"And look, if I watched Fox News, I wouldn't vote for me. I understand. And if I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, I'd say, man, that's terrible. Fortunately there are more diverse sources of information.
"And I want to make a serious point here. Because I'm really not exaggerating. Everything that I'm saying are actual things that have been said, and a fairly sizable number of people in the Republican primaries believed. And the people who knew better didn't say anything.
"They didn't say well, you know what, I disagree with his economic policies, but that goes too far. They didn't say, well, I'm not sure his foreign policy is the right one for America, but you know, we can't allow our politics to descend into the gutter."
Obama was making a case against Donald Trump and against Republican politicians who supported him until they heard his vulgar comments about women, caught on tape in 2005.
"And that's what's happened in their party. All that bile -- all the exaggeration, all the stuff that was not grounded in fact, just kind of bubbled up, started surfacing. They know better, a lot of these folks who ran, but they didn't say anything.
"And so they don't get credit for, at the very last minute, when finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think much less say much less brag about much less laugh about or joke about much less act on -- you can't wait until that finally happens, and then say that's too much, that's enough; and think that somehow you are showing any kind of leadership...."