President Barack Obama “passed the baton” to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 27, and complimented the former secretary of state for being stronger than him and capable of doing the job “backwards in heels.”
The 44th president recalled campaigning against Clinton during the 2008 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, praising her for never giving up.
“Eight years ago — that's right. Let me tell you, eight years ago you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination,” Obama, 54, reminded the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. “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. And every time I thought I might have had the race won, Hillary just came back stronger. But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team.”
Ginger Rogers is, of course, Fred Astaire’s legendary dance partner, who famously danced her way up many staircases backwards in heels.
Obama went on to describe that America hasn’t fallen apart and that, in fact, he sees that “everything is right with America.” “I see people working hard and starting businesses; people teaching kids and serving our country. … I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together,” he continued, before stating that Clinton also sees this America.
“There is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, has devoted her life to that future, a mother and a grandmother who would do anything to help our children thrive, a leader with real plans to break down barriers and blast through glass ceilings and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American,” Obama told the crowd.
He didn’t fail to bash Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump either.
“And then there’s Donald Trump,” Obama said to the crowd, who started booing loudly. “Don’t boo,” he told them assertively. “Vote!”
“America is already great,” he continued, while discussing the controversial businessman, whose campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again.” “Our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump. … He’s selling the America people short … We are not a fragile people. … We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations. … All men are created equal, that we the people can form a more perfect union. That’s who we are. That’s our birthright. … The American dream is something no wall can contain.”
Obama concluded his speech by asking voters to elect Clinton, 68, as the 45th president.
“I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. … I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. … I’m asking you to join me … to elect Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States and show the world we still believe in the promise of the great nation,” Obama said. “Thank you for this incredible journey. Let’s keep it going.”
At the conclusion of his speech, Clinton — who was not expected to appear at the DNC until her scheduled acceptance speech on Thursday — surprised delegates by joining the president on stage and giving him a hug.
The Democratic presidential nominee also shared a sweet picture of the gesture on Twitter afterward, with the caption, "We love you back, @POTUS."
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