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President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on Democrats to carry Hillary Clinton to victory over Donald Trump, saying the 2016 White House race was not just about party politics, but the nature of American democracy.
The two-term president offered potent testimony on the third night of his party’s national convention about how Clinton, his onetime rival, became an ally and trusted advisor.
Painting Republican nominee Donald Trump as a know-nothing who cozies up to dictators, Obama said November’s vote was “not just a choice between parties or policies; the usual debates between left and right.”
“This is a more fundamental choice,” he said, telling convention delegates in Philadelphia – the city where America’s constitution was written – that this was a battle for the very “meaning of our democracy.”
“This is a more fundamental choice – about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government,” he said.
Obama spearheaded a day-long effort by Democrats to depict Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief, contrasting the political neophyte with his more experienced Democratic rival.
Trump, he said was “not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy either.”
“He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.”
Punching at Trump’s campaign slogan, Obama insisted “America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”
“America’s never been about what one person says he’ll do for us – it’s about what can be achieved by us together,” he said.
No one more qualified
Acting as a character reference for his secretary of state of four years, with whom he battled in the 2008 primaries, Obama offered a comprehensive endorsement of Clinton as the one person uniquely qualified to succeed him.
He said the 68-year-old former first lady and senator knew what it’s like to be in the room when tough epoch-making and presidency-breaking decisions were taken – like the move to strike Osama bin Laden.
“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman – not me, not Bill (Clinton), nobody – more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” he said.