Obama: 'Reject Cynicism And Reject Fear' And Elect Hillary Clinton | KERA News

Obama: 'Reject Cynicism And Reject Fear' And Elect Hillary Clinton

Jul 27, 2016
Originally published on July 28, 2016 1:46 am

Democrats called on Americans to reject what they called the politics of fear and division of the GOP and elect Hillary Clinton during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Everyone from President Obama to Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine contrasted the Democratic vision of America to the vision offered by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"America is already great," President Obama said. "America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump."

Obama reached back to the themes of his 2008 campaign. He came onstage to chants of "Yes, we can! Yes, we can!" And, as he did often during that campaign, he extolled his belief in American exceptionalism, rejecting Trump's assertions that the United States has lost its way.

Obama painted a picture of an America rooted in the same values his grandparents instilled in him: honesty, hard work, kindness and humility.

"America has changed over the years," Obama said. "But these values that my grandparents taught me — they haven't gone anywhere. They're as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us."

And when it came time to denounce Trump, Obama did not shy away. He said: "That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end."

In a statement, the Trump campaign said that the Democrats pushed a "vision of America that doesn't exist for most Americans."

"Instead of dealing with reality, they spoke in cheap, petty terms beneath the dignity of a convention," Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser, said in a written statement.

The night was also marked by tension among delegates on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center. When Tim Kaine was — by acclamation — officially nominated as the party's vice presidential candidate, supporters of Bernie Sanders chanted that they wanted a roll call vote.

Leon Panetta, the former CIA chief and secretary of defense, was interrupted by chants of "No more war!"

But Vice President Biden changed the mood almost immediately simply by walking onstage to the theme of Rocky.

Biden portrayed Clinton as a person who knows about the problems of the middle class and who has always been in public life. Clinton "knows," he repeated over and over. And Trump has no clue, he said.

Then he used one of his favorite words: "He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break! That's a bunch of malarkey!"

Kaine accepted his nomination as the vice presidential nominee and during his speech, he mocked Trump.

"There's nothing suspicious in my tax returns, believe me," Kaine said.

A normal presidential candidate, he said, doesn't ask you to believe him. Instead, he tells you how he plans to get things done.

"Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth," he said.

Toward the end of his own speech, Obama tied together all of the big themes of this election: Trump, he said, doesn't adhere to that "common creed." Clinton, on the other hand, does, he argued.

"We don't fear the future; we shape it, we embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own," Obama said. "That's what Hillary Clinton understands — this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother and grandmother, this public servant, this patriot — that's the America she's fighting for."

We live blogged the night as it developed, so keep reading if you want a play-by-play.

Update at 10:53 p.m. ET. President Obama Takes Stage:

After a video that detailed his tenure in the White House — his speeches during mass shootings, his handling of the Great Recession, his Supreme Court nominations, passage of the Affordable Care Act, and a Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states — Obama took the stage.

Update at 10:37 p.m. ET. Kaine Contrasts Clinton And Trump:

Sen. Tim Kaine spent much of his speech contrasting Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. His son, a Marine, just deployed to Europe, Kaine said, and he would "trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life."

As for Trump, he said, anyone who has ever believed his promises has been "hurt."

Trump, he said, has run a campaign full of requests for voters to believe him.

"There's nothing suspicious in my tax returns, believe me," Kaine said as he imitated Trump.

A normal presidential candidate, he said, doesn't ask you to believe him. Instead, he tells you how he plans to get things done.

"Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth," he said.

Update at 10:08 p.m. ET. Kaine Accepts Vice Presidential Nomination:

Kaine, who is still speaking, just accepted the party's nomination for vice president.

"Can I be honest for a second?" he asked. "I never expected to be here."

Update at 9:58 p.m. ET. Arrests Outside The Arena:

NPR's Will Huntsberry sends us this update from the sit-in outside the arena:

"Protesters are now being led away in plastic handcuffs, after being warned three times to stop blocking the entrance. Roughly 25 were arrested by my count."

Update at 9:27 p.m. ET. Biden Delivers Impassioned Defense Of Clinton And America:

Vice President Biden united the crowd simply by walking onstage to the theme of Rocky.

He received a standing ovation and then launched into an impassioned defense of Hillary Clinton and the United States.

He portrayed Clinton as a person who knows about the problems of the middle class and who has always been in public life. "Hillary gets it," he said. Biden also referenced the history Clinton would make if she is elected president.

"We all understand what it will mean for our daughters and granddaughters when Hillary Clinton walks into the Oval Office as president of the United States of America," Biden said. "It will change their lives. My daughters and granddaughters can do anything any son or grandson can do and she will prove it."

Clinton "knows," he repeated over and over. And Trump has no clue, he said.

Biden then tried to indict Trump by using one of his favorite words: "He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break! That's a bunch of malarkey!"

Biden closed his speech by conjuring American exceptionalism.

"We do not scare easily," Biden said. "We never bow, we never bend, we never break when confronted with crisis. No, we endure, we overcome, and we always, always move forward. That's why I can say with absolute conviction, I am more optimistic about our chances today than when I was elected as a 29-year-old kid to the Senate."

Update at 9:07 p.m. ET. Another Sit-In:

NPR's Will Huntsberry reports there is a sit-in going on outside the arena:

"Democracy Spring activists are attempting to block an entrance to the convention. As the protesters have attempted to block entrances, police have pushed and moved them out of the way. A small stream of attendees is currently being led around the protest. Currently there have been no arrests or detentions. Democracy Spring is a collective that wants to get dark money out of politics, have publicly funded elections and abolish superdelegates."

Update at 9:02 p.m. ET. Panetta Interrupted:

Leon Panetta, the former CIA chief and secretary of defense, was interrupted by chants of "No more war!"

Panetta was trying to give a speech in which he praised Clinton for her smarts, strength and courage.

"I have worked alongside nine presidents, Republican and Democrat, all experienced, all believing in the U.S. role in world leadership and I can tell you this — that in this election, there is only one candidate for president who has the experience, the temperament, and the judgment to be commander in chief. And that's Hillary Clinton," he said before the chants began.

Panetta powered through the rest of his speech even as some delegates shouted, "Lies! Lies! Lies!" and turned on their phones' flash to be more visible.

Update at 8:32 p.m. ET. A Moment Of Contrast:

Following a performance of "What the World Needs Now Is Love," the crowd erupted into shouts of "Love trumps hate! Love trumps hate!"

It was a moment of deep contrast to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland where the defining chant was "Lock her up! Lock her up!"

Update at 8:23 p.m. ET. Gabby Giffords:

Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona representative who was shot during a mass shooting in 2011, was given the first standing ovation of the night.

She spoke about the need for gun control and said that if anyone could stand up to the gun lobby, it would be Hillary Clinton.

"Hillary is tough," she said. "Hillary is courageous. She will fight to make our families safer. In the White House she will stand up to the gun lobby; that is why I am voting for Hillary.

"Speaking is difficult for me, but come January I want to say these two words: Madame President."

Update at 8:03 p.m. ET. 'Ending Gun Violence':

The crowd at the arena grew quiet as Christine Leinonen began speaking.

Leinonen's son, Christopher, was killed in the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Plaintively, she pointed out that an assault weapons ban was in place when Christopher was born.

"Where was that common-sense gun law when he died?" she said. "I never want you to ask that question about your child. That's why I support Hillary Clinton."

Erica Smegielski, whose mother, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, was killed during a mass shooting, said that Clinton is the candidate to stand up to the gun lobby.

"I'm here alone, without my mother, while too many politicians cower behind the gun lobby instead of standing with American families," Smegielski said.

And what the world needs now, she said, is not another one of those politicians.

"We don't need our teachers and principals going to work in fear," she said. "What we need is another mother who's willing to do what's right. Whose bravery can live up in equal measure to my mom's."

Update at 7:46 p.m. ET. On Climate Change:

California Gov. Jerry Brown left no doubt that the Democratic Party believes that climate change is real.

"Trump says global warming is a hoax," Brown said. "I say Donald Trump is a fraud."

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Harry Reid Rips Republicans:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid delivered perhaps the most stinging rebuke of Republicans and their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, that we've seen at the DNC. He said this about the Republican majority leader:

"I have never seen anything more craven than Mitch McConnell and what he has done to our democracy. His Republican Party decided that the answer to hardworking Americans' dreams is to slander our African-American president, stoke fear of Muslims, sow hatred of Latinos, insult Asians, and, of course, wage war against women."

And this about Trump:

"When Trump decided to run for president, he probably said to himself, 'I'm an egomaniac. I don't believe in science. I think women are inferior. Where would I feel at home?' "

And:

"Parents: You're right to worry about your children hearing what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth. Republicans: You should have been careful, also, because Donald learned it from watching you!"

Update at 7:07 p.m. ET. Excerpts From Obama's Speech:

The White House has released two excerpts from President Obama's speech. They show that Obama will paint an optimistic picture of the country.

"As I've traveled this country, through all fifty states; as I've rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I've also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America," Obama will say. "I see people working hard and starting businesses; people teaching kids and serving our country. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, unconstrained by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be."

Obama will also praise Clinton for having the experience and tenacity needed to be president.

"Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect," Obama will say. "And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits."

Update at 7:00 p.m. ET. Drama On The Floor:

The third day of the Democratic National Convention began with a little bit of procedural drama.

The convention took up a motion to nominate Tim Kaine as the party's vice presidential candidate. Rep. Marcia Fudge moved to approve the nomination by acclamation. Most of the delegates obliged and Kaine was officially nominated. But for about a minute, supporters of Bernie Sanders who oppose Kaine demanded a roll call vote.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.