In the biggest speech of the Democratic National Convention so far, President Barack Obama stood before a crowd of thousands in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center—and the millions of people watching from home—to make his case for the party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
But first, he reminded viewers of achievements of the past eight years, talking about the Affordable Care Act, the rebound from the recession and marriage equality—once he finally got the crowd to stop chanting, “Yes, we can!”
Then he talked about why this election is so important: "What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican. And it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other and turn away from the rest of the world,"he said. "There were no serious solutions to pressing problems, just the fanning resentment and blame and anger and hate. And that is not the America I know."
Knowing that the nation hasn’t forgotten the fact that he ran against Clinton in 2008, he minced no words on the subject. "Eight years ago, you might remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough. Because Hillary was tough. I was worn out. She was doing everything I was doing, but, just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards, in heels."
He also reiterated a theme that Michelle Obama first introduced during her soul stirring speech on Monday (June 25), saying that Clinton "never, ever quits."
President Obama also delivered his strongest endorsement of the former secretary of state to date: "There has never been a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, nobody, more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America," he said. Then he jokingly addressed a standing Bill Clinton, saying, "I hope you don’t mind Bill, but I’m just telling the truth, man."
And he didn’t miss the chance to express his true feelings about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. “The Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say I know plenty of businessmen and women who have achieved remarkable without success without leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people feeling like they got cheated."
The president was sure to use some of his time to address the current state of race relations in America. "Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry that Black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn’t so different than what a brave cop’s family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work. That we can honor police and treat every community fairly. We can do that," he said. "And she knows that acknowledging problems that have been festering for decades isn’t making race relations worse; it’s creating the possibilities for people of good will to join and make things better."
In true Obama fashion, after telling the crowd that democracy is not a spectator sport, he closed the speak with a rousing call to action: "Now I'm ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. So this year, in this election, I'm asking you to join me. To reject cynicism and reject fear and to summon what is best in us to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States and show the world that we still believe in the promise of this great nation."
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