Former President Obama campaigns for Cordray in Ohio

Former US President Barack Obama, Photo Date: 11/6/2016 / Cropped Photo: Michael Seeley / CC BY 2.0 / MGN

CLEVELAND (AP) - Former President Barack Obama says he has a simple message headed into the fall midterm elections: Vote.

Obama told a crowd of thousands at a school auditorium in Cleveland on Thursday that the consequences of sitting on the sidelines during November's midterm elections "are far more dangerous" than in the past.

Without mentioning Republican President Donald Trump by name, Obama said, "This is not normal what we're seeing. It is radical." He said a continuation of Republican control in Washington would threaten Medicaid, affordable health care, even democracy.

Obama was in closely divided Ohio to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, whom he called "my friend." Cordray, Obama's appointee as federal consumer watchdog, faces Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine in one of the season's most closely watched governor's races.