In one of the most anticipated speeches of convention season, outgoing president Barack Obama took the stage, firmly backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In a 45 minute speech that echoed the lofty style of his own campaign speeches, Obama painted a radically different picture of America than the one presented last week by Donald Trump, one he called a “deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other.”
“America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”
Obama stuck with the optimistic theme throughout, praising American resilience, generosity, and pointing to its melting-pot ethos united by a love of flag and country.
The President saved his sharpest words for Trump, who he described as “not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either,” later taking a sideways shot at the Republican nominee telling delegates “homegrown demagogues will always fail in the end.”
Obama was also unequivocal in his support of Clinton, telling the audience “there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.”
He described his primary battle with her as one of the fights of his life, before praising her intelligence and judgement as a member of his cabinet.
“Nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. 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.”
And with continued protests both outside and inside the convention hall by disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters, Obama also took a stab at party unity.
“So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy, and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been. 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.”
Obama was joined by Clinton on stage to wrap the speech. The Democratic nominee will take the stage tomorrow for the convention’s closing night.