Obama: Voters have ‘everything’ to lose with Trump

President Obama on Friday countered an argument from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative MORE, telling a crowd in Cleveland that the country has “everything” to lose in electing the Republican nominee president.

“Donald Trump’s closing argument is what do you have to lose? The answer is: everything,” Obama said during a rally for Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy The ideological divide on vaping has a clear winner: Smokers Biden struggles to hit it off with millennials MORE. “All the progress we’ve made is on the ballot.”

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The president made an urgent call for people to go to the polls in the key battleground state of Ohio, where early voting began this week. 

Polls show Clinton and Trump in a tight contest in the state, which has been especially receptive to his populist arguments on trade and immigration. Clinton leads Trump in Ohio by a narrow margin of 2 percentage points, according to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average. 

If Clinton can defeat Trump in the Buckeye State, it would virtually cut off Trump’s path to victory. Clinton is relying on Obama to help rebuild his winning coalition of young people, minorities and single women in battleground states. 

Obama sought to undermine Trump’s support among working-class voters, an influential voting bloc in Ohio. 

He launched into a lengthy rebuttal of the GOP nominee’s claim that a “conspiracy” of “global elites” — including international banks, the media and the political establishment — is hurting American workers and working to elect Clinton. 

“This is a guy who spent all his time hanging around trying to convince everyone he’s a global elite,” Obama said of Trump. “All he had time for was celebrities and now suddenly he’s acting like a populist? ‘Man, I am going to fight for working people.’ Come on, man."

Obama lashed out at Trump over his comments about women and minorities, saying he is trying “to drag this election as low as it can possibly go” in order to depress turnout, with the hope it gives him a better chance of defeating his Democratic opponent. 

“Don’t fall for it,” Obama said. 

Speaking in a basketball-mad city whose Cleveland Cavaliers are fresh off winning an NBA title, the president likened Trump’s conspiracy talk to someone who is “complaining about the refs before the game’s even done.” 

“It’s always interesting to me to see folks who talk tough but don’t act tough,” he said. “Because if you’re tough you don’t make excuses.”

By contrast, Obama said, Clinton “is playing the game.”

"She doesn't point fingers or whine,” he said. “She doesn't talk about how everything's rigged."

Obama also sought to tie down-ballot Republicans to Trump, arguing they are responsible for his rise. 

He said Republicans like Ohio Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSchumer blasts 'red flag' gun legislation as 'ineffective cop out' McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Shaken Portman urges support for 'red flag' laws after Ohio shooting MORE, who have tried to keep their distance from the presidential nominee, have “allowed a lot of crazy talk to be pumped out,” which Trump used to his advantage. 

“It’s part of why I’m disturbed about Republican elected officials who know better but are still supporting this guy,” he said. 

“Donald Trump didn’t build all this crazy conspiracy stuff. And some Republicans who knew better stood by silently, and even during the course of this campaign, didn’t say anything.”

Democrats had hoped to take back Portman’s seat, but most polls show him with a double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, a former governor of Ohio.