President Barack Obama painted an optimistic picture of America’s future and offered full-throated support for Hillary Clinton’s bid to defeat Republican Donald Trump in a speech that electrified the Democratic National Convention.
He urged Democrats to enable Clinton to finish the job he started with his election nearly eight years ago in a rousing speech that capped a night when party luminaries took to the stage to contrast the party’s new standard-bearer with Trump, whom they portrayed as a threat to U.S. values.
“There has never been a man or woman, not me, not Bill – nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States,” Obama said to cheers at the Philadelphia convention on Wednesday night.
Hillary Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, will accept the party’s White House nomination in a speech to end the convention on Thursday night. The election is on Nov. 8.
Her address will be closely watched to see if she can make a convincing argument for bringing about change while still representing the legacy of Obama, who is ending his second term with high approval ratings.
“Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me,” Obama said. When he finished, she joined him on stage where they hugged, clasped hands and waved to the crowd.
The two were rivals in the hard-fought 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination. After winning that election to become America’s first black president, Obama appointed Clinton his secretary of state, a position she held until 2013.
Republicans have painted Clinton as a Washington insider who would represent a “third term” for what they view as failed policies under Obama, elected to a second term in 2012.
Speaking to delegates, Obama offered an alternative to businessman Trump’s vision of the United States as being under siege from illegal immigrants, crime and terrorism and losing influence in the world.
“I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before,” Obama said at the Wells Fargo Center, a basketball and hockey arena.
A former first lady and U.S. senator, Clinton made history on Tuesday when she became the first woman to secure the presidential nomination of a major party. She promises to tackle income inequality, tighten gun control and rein in Wall Street if she becomes president.
Obama took aim at Trump’s campaign slogan and promise to “Make America Great Again.”