It was surprising how hard last night’s speakers went after Donald Trump. I had thought they would all stay positive, in diametric opposition to the RNC’s no-ideas-only-hatefest last week. But the main speeches were intertwined with condemnation of Trump, and positiveness of we Americans, democracy, the Democratic Party, and Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to pick a favorite between Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden. It really is. For different reasons, both were masterful. Mike, for being a billionaire and an Independent talking honestly about what a con artist Trump is, and for showing all of us how the rich really act. Uncle Joe, for reminding us what it means to be proud, patriotic Americans with liberal values.
Videos and transcripts of Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden’s speeches appear below. Also included is President Obama’s speech, his fourth at the DNC — that’s fourth so far, but he may reach Bill Clinton’s ten.
Transcript of Michael Bloomberg’s Speech
Kasim, thank you for that kind introduction. Let me thank all of you for welcoming an outsider here to deliver what will be an unconventional convention speech.
Now, I’m not here as a member of any party, or to endorse any party platform. I am here for one reason, and one reason only: to explain why I believe it is imperative that we elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. And to ask you to join with me in supporting her this November.
When the Founding Fathers arrived here in Philadelphia to forge a new nation, they didn’t come as Democrats or Republicans, or to nominate a presidential candidate. They came as patriots who feared party politics. I know how they felt. I’ve been a Democrat, I’ve been a Republican, and I eventually became an Independent because I don’t believe either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership.
When I enter the voting booth each time, I look at the candidate, not the party label. I have supported elected officials from both sides of the aisle. Probably not many people in this room can say that, but I know there are many watching at home who can. And now, they are carefully weighing their choices. I understand their dilemma.
I know what it’s like to have neither party fully represent my views or values. Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence. Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction.
There are times when I disagree with Hillary. But whatever our disagreements may be, I’ve come here to say: We must put them aside for the good of our country. And we must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue.
I believe it’s the duty of all American citizens to make our voices heard by voting in this election. And, if you’re not yet registered to vote, go online. Do it now! It’s just too important to sit this out.
Now, we’ve heard a lot of talk in this campaign about needing a leader who understands business. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve built a business, and I didn’t start it with a million-dollar check from my father. Because of my success in the private sector, I had the chance to run America’s largest city for 12 years, governing in the wake of its greatest tragedy.
Today, as an Independent, an entrepreneur, and a former mayor, I believe we need a president who is a problem-solver, not a bomb-thrower; someone who can bring members of Congress together, to get big things done. And I know Hillary Clinton can do that, because I saw it firsthand!
I was elected mayor two months after 9/11, as a Republican — and I saw how Hillary Clinton worked with Republicans in Washington to ensure that New York got the help it needed to recover and rebuild. Throughout her time in the Senate, we didn’t always agree — but she always listened. And that’s the kind of approach we need in Washington today, and it just has to start in the White House!
Given my background, I’ve often encouraged business leaders to run for office because many of them share that same pragmatic approach to building consensus, but not all. Most of us who have created a business know that we’re only as good as the way our employees, clients, and partners view us. Most of us don’t pretend that we’re smart enough to make every big decision by ourselves. And most of us who have our names on the door know that we are only as good as our word, but not Donald Trump.
Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.
I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one! Trump says he’ll punish manufacturers that move to Mexico or China, but the clothes he sells are made overseas in low-wage factories. He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the U.S. visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages. He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people, but he seems to have no problem in hiring them. What’d I miss here?!
Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy. He wants you to believe that we can solve our biggest problems by deporting Mexicans and shutting out Muslims. He wants you to believe that erecting trade barriers will bring back good jobs. He’s wrong on both counts.
We can only solve our biggest problems if we come together and embrace the freedoms that our Founding Fathers established right here in Philadelphia, which permitted our ancestors to create the great American exceptionalism that all of us now enjoy. Donald Trump doesn’t understand that; Hillary Clinton does. And we can only create good jobs if we make smarter investments in infrastructure, and do more to support small businesses — not stiff them. Donald Trump doesn’t understand that; Hillary Clinton does.
I understand the appeal of a businessman president. But Trump’s business plan is a disaster in the making. He would make it harder for small businesses to compete, do great damage to our economy, threaten the retirement savings of millions of Americans, lead to greater debt and more unemployment, erode our influence in the world, and make our communities less safe.
The bottom line is: Trump is a risky, reckless, and radical choice. And we can’t afford to make that choice!
Now, I know Hillary Clinton is not flawless; no candidate is. But she is the right choice — and the responsible choice — in this election. No matter what you may think about her politics or her record, Hillary Clinton understands that this is not reality television; this is reality. She understands the job of president. It involves finding solutions, not pointing fingers, and offering hope, not stoking fear.
Over the course of our country’s proud history, we have faced our share of grave challenges, but we have never retreated in fear. Never. Not here in Philadelphia in 1776, not at Gettysburg in 1863, not through two World Wars and a Great Depression, not at Selma or Stonewall, and not after 9/11 — and we must not start now.
America is the greatest country on Earth — and when people vote with their feet, they come here. The presidency of the United States is the most powerful office in the world, and so I say to my fellow Independents: Your vote matters now. Your vote will determine the future of your job, your business, and our future together as a country.
To me, this election is not a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. It’s a choice about who is better to lead our country right now: better for our economy, better for our security, better for our freedom, and better for our future.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is the right choice this November. So tonight, as an Independent, I am asking you to join with me — not out of party loyalty, but out of love of country. And together, let’s elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.
Transcript of Vice President Biden’s Speech
Ladies and gentleman, eight years ago, I stood on the stage in Denver and I accepted your nomination to be Vice President of the United States. And every single day since then has been the honor of our lives for Jill and me.
Every day, we’ve been grateful to Barack and Michelle for asking us to join them in that incredible journey — a journey that could only happen in America. But we’ve not only worked together, as it’s become pretty obvious, we’ve become friends. We’re now family. We’re family.
Folks, you’ve all seen over the last eight years what President Obama means to this country. He’s the embodiment of honor, resolve, and character. One of the finest presidents we have ever had. This is a man of character, and he’s become a brother to Jill and me. And Michelle, I don’t know where you are, kid, but you’re incredible. You are incredible. When I was talking to Barack today, it’s no longer who’s going to give the best speech. We already know who did that. You were incredible Monday night. The Delaware delegation, as they say in southern Delaware, Barack and I married way up. Way up.
Folks, as I stand here tonight, I see so many friends and colleagues, like my buddy Chris Dodge in the Connecticut delegation. So many people are here. I see the faces of those who have placed their belief in Barack and me. So many faces, but one. This is kind of a bittersweet moment for Jill and me and our family. In 2008, when he was about to deploy to Iraq, and again in 2012, our son Beau introduced me to the country and placed my name in nomination.
You got a glimpse — I know I sound like a dad, but you got a glimpse — of what an incredibly fine young man Beau was. His wife, Hallie, and his two kids are here tonight, but as Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.” I’ve been made strong at the broken places by my love, Jill, by my heart, my son Hunter, and by the love of my life, my Ashley, and by all of you. And I mean it sincerely. Those of you who have been through this, you know I mean what I say by all of you, your love, your prayers, your support.
But you know what? We think about the countless thousands of other people who suffered so much more than we have with so much less support, so much less reason to go on. But they get up every morning, every day. They put one foot in front of the other. They keep going. That’s the unbreakable spirit of the people of America. That’s who we are. That’s who we are. Don’t forget it.
Like the people in the neighborhood that Jill and I grew up in. She in Willow Grove and me down in Wilmington, and Claymont. The kid in Claymont with the most courage. Boys jumped in when you were double teamed or your back was against the wall. Who became a cop, because he always wanted to help people. The middle daughter of three daughters who always made her mother smile, who was a hero to her sisters, now a major in the United States Marine Corps, because, “Mr. Vice President, I wanted to serve my country.” The teachers who Jill knows and so many of you know who take money out of their own pockets to buy pencils and notebooks for their students who can’t afford them. Why? Why? Because being teacher is not what they do, it’s who they are.
You know what I know, for real. These are the people who are the heart and soul of this country. It’s the America that I know, the America that Hillary knows, that Tim Kaine knows.
You know? I’ve known Hillary for well over 30 years. Before she was First Lady of the United States, when she become First Lady. We served together in the United States Senate and during her years as Secretary of State, once a week, we had breakfast in my home, the vice president’s residence.
Everybody knows she’s smart. Everybody knows she’s tough. But I know what she’s passionate about. I know Hillary. Hillary understands. Hillary gets it. Hillary understands that college loans are about a lot more than getting disqualified from student education. It’s about saving the mom and the dad from the indignity of having to look at their talented child and say, “Sonny, honey, I’m so sorry. The bank wouldn’t lend me the money. I can’t help you to get to school.” I know that about Hillary.
Hillary understood that for years, millions of people went to bed staring at the ceiling thinking, “Oh my God, what if I get breast cancer, or he has a heart attack? I will lose everything. What will we do then?” I know about Hillary Clinton.
Ladies and gentlemen, 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. It will change their lives. My daughter and granddaughters can do anything any son or grandson can do, and she will prove it, Mr. Mayor.
So let me say as clearly as I can. If you live in neighborhoods like the one Jill and I grew up in, if you worry about your job and getting a decent pay, if you worry about your children’s education, if you’re taking care of an elderly parent, then there’s only one — only one — person in this election that will help you. There’s only one person in this race who will be there, who’s always been there for you, and that’s Hillary Clinton’s life story. It’s not just who she is. It’s her life story. She’s always there. She’s always been there. And so has Tim Kaine.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll state the obvious, and I’m not trying to be a wise guy here. I really mean it. That’s not Donald Trump’s story. Just listen to me a second without booing or cheering. I mean this sincerely. We should really think about this. His cynicism is unbounded. His lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in a phrase I suspect that he’s most proud of having made famous: “You’re fired.”
I mean, really, I’m not joking. Think about that. Think about that. Think about everything you learned as a child, no matter where you were raised. How can there be pleasure in saying, “You’re fired”? He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break. That’s a bunch of mularkey.
Whatever he thinks — and I mean this in the bottom of my heart. I know I’m called “Middle Class Joe.” In Washington, that’s not meant as a compliment. It means you’re not sophisticated. But I know why we’re strong. I know why we have held together, I know why we are united. It’s because there’s always been a growing middle class. This guy doesn’t have a clue about the middle class. Not a clue. Because, folks, when the middle class does well, the rich do very well and the poor have hope that they have a way up. He has no clue about what makes America great. Actually, he has no clue, period.
But, folks, let me say something that has nothing to do with politics. Let me talk about something that I am deadly serious about. This is a complicated and uncertain world we live in. The threats are too great, the times are too uncertain to elect Donald Trump as president of the United States. Let me finish. No major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security. We cannot elect a man who exploits our fears of ISIS and other terrorists, who has no plan whatsoever to make us safe, and man who embraces the tactics of our enemies: torture, religious intolerance.
You all know, all the Republicans know: That’s not who we are. It betrays our values. It alienates those who we need in the fight against ISIS. Donald Trump, with all his rhetoric, would literally make us less safe. We cannot elect a man who belittles our closest allies while embracing dictators like Vladimir Putin. A man who seeks to sow division in America for his own gain and disorder around the world. A man who confuses bluster with strength. We simply cannot let that happen as Americans. Period.
Folks, no one ever doubts when I say I say all that I mean. But folks, let me tell you what I told every world leader when I’ve met them, and I’ve met them all. It’s never, never, never been a good bet to bet against America. We have the finest fighting force in the world. Not only do we have the largest economy in the world, we have the strongest economy in the world. We have the most productive workers in the world. And given it a fair shot, given a fair chance, Americans have never, ever, ever, ever, ever let their country down. Never! Never! Ordinary people like us who do extraordinary things.
We’ve had candidates before who have attempted to get elected by appealing to our fears, but they’ve never succeeded, because we do not scare easily. We never bow, we never bend, we never break when confronted with crisis. No. We endure, we overcome, and we always, 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.
The 21st century is going to be the American century, because we lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. That is the history of the journey of America, and God willing, Hillary Clinton will write the next chapter in that journey. We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line, don’t forget it. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Come on. We’re America!
Transcript of President Obama’s Speech
Hello, America! Hello, Democrats!
So 12 years ago tonight, I addressed this convention for the very first time. You met my two little girls, Malia and Sasha — now two amazing young women who just fill me with pride. You fell for my brilliant wife and partner Michelle who has made me a better father and a better man; who’s gone on to inspire our nation as First Lady and who somehow hasn’t aged a day.
I know, the same can’t be said for me. My girls remind me all the time. “Wow, you’ve changed so much, Daddy.” And then they try to clean it up — “Not bad, you’re just more mature.”
And it’s true — I was so young that first time in Boston. And look, I’ll admit it, maybe I was a little nervous, addressing such a big crowd. But I was filled with faith; faith in America &mdah; the generous, big-hearted, hopeful country that made my story — that made all of our stories — possible.
A lot has happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war, and it’s been tested by recession and all manner of challenges — I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before.
How could I not be after all that we’ve achieved together? After the worst recession in 80 years, we fought our way back. We’ve seen deficits come down, 401(k)s recover, an auto industry set new records, unemployment reach eight-year lows, and our businesses create 15 million new jobs.
After a century of trying, we declared that health care in America is not a privilege for a few; it is a right for everybody. After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil. We doubled our production of clean energy. We brought more of our troops home to their families, and we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program. We opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our children.
We put policies in place to help students with loans, protect consumers from fraud, cut veteran homelessness almost in half. And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.
By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. And through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.
So, tonight, I’m here to tell you that, yes, we’ve still got more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven-and-a-half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer, our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal; all of us are free in the eyes of God.
And that work involves a big choice this November. I think it’s fair to say, this is not your typical election. It’s not just a choice between parties or policies; the usual debates between left and right. 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.
Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward. But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican — and it sure wasn’t conservative. 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. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems &mdahs; just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.
And that is not the America I know. The America I know is full of courage and optimism and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties — about paying the bills, and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, and worry about racial divisions. We are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities that we had.
All of that is real. We are challenged to do better, to be better.
But as I’ve traveled this country, through all 50 states, as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I have also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America. I see people working hard and starting businesses. I see people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff, doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be.
And most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together — black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love. That’s what I see. That’s the America I know!
And 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 — the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right!
Let me tell you, eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. 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 the race won, Hillary just came back stronger.
But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team. And she was a little surprised. Some of my staff was surprised. But ultimately she said yes — because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us. And for four years — for four years, I had a front-row seat to her intelligence, her judgment, and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn’t for praise, it wasn’t for attention — that she was in this for everyone who needs a champion. I understood that after all these years, she has never forgotten just who she’s fighting for.
Hillary has still got the tenacity that she had as a young woman, working at the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.
She’s still got the heart she showed as our First Lady, working with Congress to help push through a Children’s Health Insurance Program that to this day protects millions of kids.
She’s still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11 — which is why, as a Senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders, to help the city rebuild; why, as Secretary of State, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out bin Laden.
You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. You can read about it. You can study it. But 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. But Hillary has been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes — what’s at stake for the working family, for the senior citizen, or the small business owner, for the soldier, for the veteran. And even in the midst 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. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.
I hope you don’t mind, Bill, but I was just telling the truth, man.
And, by the way, in case you’re wondering about her judgment, take a look at her choice of running mate. Tim Kaine is as good a man, as humble and as committed a public servant as anybody that I know. I know his family. I love Anne. I love their kids. He will be a great Vice President. He will make Hillary a better President — just like my dear friend and brother, Joe Biden, has made me a better President.
Now, Hillary has real plans to address the concerns she’s heard from you on the campaign trail. She’s got specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in their company’s profits, to help put kids in preschool and put students through college without taking on a ton of debt. That’s what leaders do.
And then there’s Donald Trump.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo — vote.
AUDIENCE: Don’t boo, vote! Don’t boo, vote!
THE PRESIDENT: You know, the Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.
Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?
AUDIENCE: Nooo —
THE PRESIDENT: If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, if you’re really concerned about pocketbook issues and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, and better benefits, and a fairer tax code, and a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.
If you’re rightly concerned about who’s going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world, well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world — not just by leaders, but by the people they serve.
I have to say this. People outside of the United States do not understand what’s going on in this election. They really don’t. Because they know Hillary. They’ve seen her work. She’s worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. She has the judgment and the experience and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It’s not new to her. Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out their leaders, taking back territory. And I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed. She will finish the job. And she will do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit and she is ready to be the next Commander-in-Chief.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection.
Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens. That’s one of the reasons why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago when I took office.
America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn’t depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election — the meaning of our democracy.
Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix. It doesn’t matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they’ve been in decades because he’s not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. He’s just offering slogans, and he’s offering fear. He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.
And that’s another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he’ll lose it is because he’s selling the American people short. We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that 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 capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for collective bargaining and better wages.
America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s about what can be achieved by us, together through the hard and slow, and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.
And that’s what Hillary Clinton understands. She knows that this is a big, diverse country. She has seen it. She’s traveled. She’s talked to folks. And she understands that most issues are rarely black and white. She understands that even when you’re 100 percent right, getting things done requires compromise; that democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, and see ourselves in each other, and fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may sometimes seem.
Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn’t so different than what a brave cop’s family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work; that we can honor police and treat every community fairly. We can do that. And she knows — she knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn’t making race relations worse — it’s creating the possibility for people of goodwill to join and make things better.
Hillary knows we can insist on a lawful and orderly immigration system while still seeing striving students and their toiling parents as loving families, not criminals or rapists; families that came here for the same reason our forebears came — to work and to study, and to make a better life, in a place where we can talk and worship and love as we please. She knows their dream is quintessentially American, and the American Dream is something no wall will ever contain. These are the things that Hillary knows.
It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know. Hillary knows, too. When the other side refuses to compromise, progress can stall. People are hurt by the inaction. Supporters can grow impatient and worry that you’re not trying hard enough; that you’ve maybe sold out. But I promise you, when we keep at it, when we change enough minds, when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. And if you doubt that, just ask the 20 million more people who have health care today. Just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.
Democracy works, America, but we got to want it — not just during an election year, but all the days in between.
So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been during this election. We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.
That’s right — feel the Bern!
If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote — not just for a President, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. That’s where the criminal law is made. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed. That’s how democracy works.
If you want to fight climate change, we’ve got to engage not only young people on college campuses, we’ve got to reach out to the coal miner who’s worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.
If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we’ve got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, who agree on things like background checks to be just as vocal and just as determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral that we hold. That is how change happens.
Look, Hillary has got her share of critics. She has been caricatured by the right and by some on the left. She has been accused of everything you can imagine — and some things that you cannot. But she knows that’s what happens when you’re under a microscope for 40 years. She knows that sometimes during those 40 years she’s made mistakes — just like I have; just like we all do. That’s what happens when we try. That’s what happens when you’re the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described — not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone “who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly; who errs, but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.”
Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She’s been there for us — even if we haven’t always noticed. And if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You’ve got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about “yes, he will.” It’s about “yes, we can.” And we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands.
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we can. Not “yes, she can.” Not “yes, I can.” Yes, we can.
You know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America has lost — people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there’s a “real America” out there that must be restored. This isn’t an idea, by the way, that started with Donald Trump. It’s been peddled by politicians for a long time — probably from the start of our Republic.
And it’s got me thinking about the story I told you 12 years ago tonight, about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up. See, my grandparents, they came from the heartland. Their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. I don’t know if they have their birth certificates but they were there. They were Scotch-Irish mostly — farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil rig workers. Hardy, small town folks. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them — maybe even most of them — were Republicans. Party of Lincoln.
And my grandparents explained that folks in these parts, they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work, kindness, courtesy, humility, responsibility, helping each other out. That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.
And what my grandparents understood was that these values weren’t limited to Kansas. They weren’t limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii. They could travel even to the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life; trying to apply those values. My grandparents knew these values weren’t reserved for one race. They could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter. In fact, they were the same values Michelle’s parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids, living in a bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke, a baseball cap or a hijab.
America has changed over the years. 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. What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what’s in here. That’s what matters.
And that’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That’s why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That’s why our military can look the way it does — every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.
That is America. That is America. Those bonds of affection, that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it. We embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own. 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.
And that is why I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands. My time in this office, it hasn’t fixed everything. As much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do. But for all the tough lessons I’ve had to learn, for all the places where I’ve fallen short, I’ve told Hillary, and I’ll tell you, what’s picked me back up every single time: It’s been you. The American people.
It’s the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio who twice almost lost everything to cancer, but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost. Do not quit.
It’s the painting I keep in my private office, a big-eyed, green owl with blue wings, made by a seven year-old girl who was taken from us in Newtown, given to me by her parents so I wouldn’t forget — a reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.
It’s the small business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn’t have to lay off any of his workers in the recession — because, he said, “that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of America.”
It’s the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything, but he appreciated that, like him, I try to be a good dad.
It’s the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who has learned to speak again and walk again — and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power, to salute and shake my hand.
It is every American who believed we could change this country for the better, so many of you who’d never been involved in politics, who picked up phones and hit the streets, and used the Internet in amazing new ways that I didn’t really understand, but made change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet, and I am so proud of all the change that you made possible.
Time and again, you’ve picked me up. And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. And 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. Because you’re who I was talking about 12 years ago when I talked about hope. It’s been you who fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds were great, even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.
America, you’ve vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. So this year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me — to reject cynicism and reject fear, and to summon what is best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.
Thank you for this incredible journey. Let’s keep it going. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.