‘America is already great,’ U.S. President Barack Obama told a packed house at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia Wednesday night, taking a direct swing at the GOP presidential contender.
“America is already strong. Our strength and greatness does not depend on Donald Trump.
Boos filled the hall of the Democratic National Convention, as Obama began to double down on the Republican opponent.
“Don’t ‘boo,'” he advised. “Vote.”
That advice was a recurring theme throughout his 45 minute speech — the importance of getting out to the polls to vote — because the apathy that has affected the American voter over the past several elections has made the difference more than once. “If you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home,” he said.
As for Clinton, the words “steady and strong” were threaded throughout the speech. He admitted she had made mistakes, as he had.
Obama talked about all the “different shades of humanity” that are seen in the United States due to the great mix that is America, and who are seen in the American military. He said that is why “fascists and jihadists and homegrown demagogues will always fail in the end.”
The latter was again another shot at Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump.
Obama also gave a ‘shout out’ to the supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, some of whom still remained outside the hall, demonstrating against the exposed bias of the leadership that had rigged the primary vote against their candidate.
“We all need to be as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters,” Obama said.
“We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done,” he said.
Cheers from the hall. “That’s right,” he nodded. “Feel the Bern!”
Through all the talking points, the barbs fired at Trump, the praise of Clinton’s persistence, there was the acknowledgement that America is on the right track but the grudging acknowledgement there was still work to be done.
Hillary Clinton is the right candidate for the job, he said. “She’s been there for us, even if we haven’t always noticed,” he said, and affirmed there has “never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president. She is fit and she is ready to be the next Commander-in-Chief.”
As for the now-metastasizing Islamic State (Da’esh/ISIS) terrorist organization: “I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed.”
He also insisted her geopolitical credentials would stand her in good stead — perhaps an oblique reference to Benghazi — and an affirmation of her experience in foreign affairs. “Hillary Clinton is respected around the world, not just by leaders, but by the people they serve.”
But it was the echo of former President Bill Clinton’s speech the night before that seemed to get the loudest laughter and cheers: “No matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.”
Obama made it clear that he knows it’s not “all good,” that there is plenty still left to be done.
“My time in this office, it hasn’t fixed everything,” Obama said. It was clear that the stress of the office had finally caught up to him — perhaps had caught up to him long before, in fact.
“For all the places where I’ve fallen short …. I told Hillary and I’ll tell you, what’s picked me up has been you,” he said, with eyes just slightly wet.
“I am so proud of all the change that YOU made happen… Time and again you’ve picked me up and I hope sometimes I picked you up too, and tonight I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me.
“It was you 12 years ago I was talking about when I was talking about hope,” Obama said, thanking Democrats for eight years of faith in the “audacity of hope” for the “change” he had promised in the days of his own campaigns.
“Thank you for this incredible journey, let’s keep it going.”
Hana Levi Julian