In an impassioned speech Wednesday, President Barack Obama forcefully defended America from a pessimistic Republican view and promoted his chosen successor, Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.
“I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before. How can I not be? After all we have achieved together?” he said. “By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started.”
His speech contrasted with Republican Donald Trump’s dark speech last week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, where he accused Clinton of a legacy of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness” and vowed to be vowed to crack down on crime and illegal immigration.
“What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican – and it sure wasn’t conservative,” he said. “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. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems – just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate. And that is not the America I know.”
Obama gave a forceful endorsement of Clinton, who served as his secretary of state, just eight years after the two competed against each other for the Democratic primary.
“You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office,” he said. “Until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis or send young people to war. But Hillary’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.”
Obama’s speech capped the third night of the Democratic National Convention. Other speakers include Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine. Clinton made a surprise appearance following Obama’s speech. She didn’t speak, but gave Obama a hug and linked arms with him as the two walked the stage.
Thousands of delegates and guests packed into the Wells Fargo Center chanting “Yes, we can” and waving blue OBAMA signs. Obama smiled broadly through much of his speech, savoring his last address before the Democratic National Committee.
Obama devoted a large portion of his speech to bash Trump. “He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either,” he said. “He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.”
Clinton and Trump, a political novice, are locked in a tight race. Obama endorsed Clinton near the end of the caucuses and primaries, calling her the most qualified person ever to run for the White House.
Clinton has embraced Obama – saying she wants to build on his vision – a marked difference from past years when presidential hopefuls have run away from their party’s presidents because of personality clashes or low approval ratings.
“That’s the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.”
At least one delegate for Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, had proposed protesting the president’s speech. Instead, the crowd greeted Obama like a beloved old friend, interrupting him several times to shout “Four more years!” and “I love you!”
Obama gave a shout out to Sanders and his supporters _ and implored Democrats who disagreed with her on some issues to give her a chance.
“If you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue,” he said. “You’ve got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about “yes he will.” It’s about “yes we can.” And we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands.”