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Obama recalls Hitler, advocates democracy

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama made public appearances — and pithy statements — in Chicago on Tuesday. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Even though he didn’t specifically mention Donald Trump by name, President Barack Obama didn’t mince words in a public speech in Chicago about politics in America today.

“We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly,” America’s former top leader told listeners on Tuesday at the Economic Club of Chicago, Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business reported Wednesday.

Pointing to how Adolf Hitler rose in Germany in the 1930s following the successful Weimar Republic and cultural and scientific achievements, Obama said, “Sixty million people died. … So, you’ve got to pay attention. And vote.”

At the same time, he said the country survived difficult times and personalities the likes of communist fighter Joseph McCarthy and former President Richard Nixon, and noted that the principle of a free press remains “vital.”

Obama said his greatest “regret and disappointment” was the failure to enact tighter controls on gun possession.

Admission to the event was open to club members and guests. Moderator Mellody Hobson said a record 2,800 people attended, filling two ballrooms at the Chicago Hilton.

DYLAN FARROW’S WONDERING

Woody Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow wants to know why her father hasn’t been taken to task in the wake of the growing #MeToo movement.

“Why is it that Harvey Weinstein and other accused celebrities have been cast out by Hollywood, while Allen recently secured a multimillion-dollar distribution deal with Amazon …?” Farrow wrote in a Los Angeles Time op-ed, People reported.

Farrow, one of the director’s three children with ex Mia Farrow, said Allen molested her as a child in an emotional essay in the New York Times in 2014. Allen has strongly denied the accusations.

Farrow also criticized Kate Winslet, Blake Lively and Greta Gerwig for not coming out against Allen, while they publicly rebuked Weinstein.

But she lauded Ellen Page, who said she regretted working with Allen, as well as Jessica Chastain and Susan Sarandon, who said they never would.

RENEE SPEAKS UP

At seeming long last, Renee Zellweger has broken her silence about Harvey Weinstein.

“He’s full of s—,” her rep told People and Us, in response to reports that the disgraced producer told young, aspiring actresses that he slept with her (and fellow Oscar winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron) to get them to go to bed with him — if they wanted their careers to go anywhere.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 24. … … Rapper Nicki Minaj is 35. … Singer Ingrid Michaelson is 38. … Singer Sinead O’Connor is 51. … Actress Teri Hatcher is 53. … Actress Kim Basinger is 64. … Screenwriter Nancy Meyers is 68. … Singer Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals is 75. … Singer Jerry Butler is 78.

— Staff, wire reports

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