President Barack Obama gave the strongest possible endorsement of Hillary Clinton on at the Democratic Convention Wednesday, saying no one has ever been more qualified to be president — even him.
“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified,” Obama said, as former President Bill Clinton looked giddy from the audience in Philadelphia.
By saying “never,” Obama was also including Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and all the other presidents often ranked among our best. Obama didn’t say Hillary Clinton was better than them — only that no one who came before was better qualified than her.
“You know, 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,” Obama explained. “But Hillary’s been in the room. She’s been part of those decisions.”
Obama drew a contrast between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, who bedeviled Obama during his presidency by pushing discredited birther-movement claims that Obama was born in Kenya, and thus ineligible to be president.
“Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and she keeps her cool, and she 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. That is the Hillary I know,” Obama said.
He began his speech by looking back on his own presidency. “I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before. How could I not be after all that we’ve achieved together?” he said.
When he mentioned Trump, many booed. “Don’t boo,” Obama responded. “Vote.”
At another point, Obama said, “people outside the United States don’t understands what’s happening in this election,” because they know Clinton is qualified.
“I think it’s fair to say this is not your typical election,” he said in a bit of understatement, then added: “This is a more fundamental choice about who we are as a people.”
Obama said the comments at Trump’s Republican National Convention didn’t feel like America.
“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 revealed, but America isn’t about hate.
“That is not the America I know,” he said. “The America I know is decent and generous.”
Obama brought many to their feet when he described all Americans banding together under the same flag. As he praised Clinton, they chanted “Hillary, Hillary.”
And as he described his primary fight with Clinton in 2008, someone called out “four more years.”
Obama then paraphrased an old joke about Ginger Rogers, saying that in 2008, Clinton did what he did “backwards and in heels.”
He also joined other speakers who have criticized Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
“America is already great,” Obama said. “Our greatness doesn’t depend on Donald Trump.”
“America’s never been about what one person says he can do for us,” he added. “It’s about what can be done by us.”