At 12:30 about 40 people were awaiting POTUS’ arrival on the Tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport, under warm sunny skies.
Yolanda Dugger, of Philadelphia, had an iPad ready to record the president’s arrival. She said she admired the president for the success he had after growing up without his biological father. Dugger, 57, said she hoped Obama’s story would inspire young men in single-parent homes “and empower them to be better people.”
Mike Bernstein, 15 (but turning 16 Wednesday) held the book “Obama’s Legacy” by Michael Days. “It’s fun,” he said of waiting to see the president.
BY PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY ERIC SCHULTZ
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12:37 P.M. EDT
MR. SCHULTZ: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome aboard Air Force One on this very short flight to Philadelphia. I have one quick announcement at the top, and then I’m happy to take your questions.
As hopefully you all saw, the Census Bureau this morning released its annual data on income, poverty, and health insurance, which shows the remarkable progress that American families have made during this recovery. Today’s report shows that real median income household income grew at 5.2 percent from 2014 to 2015. This is actually the fastest annual growth ever on record. Incomes grew for households across income distribution with the largest gain among lower and middle-class income families.
As you all know, there’s a lot of doom and gloom about America being purveyed these days, but the facts tell a different story. In 2015, we experienced the fastest wage growth on record, the biggest decline in poverty since the 1960s, and an uninsured rate at its lowest level on record. This progress didn’t happen on its own. It was hard-earned by the resilience of the American people and supported by policies of this President.
The President is absolutely committed to using every one of his remaining days in office to further this progress by calling on Congress to take steps to invest in job creation, wage growth, and equal pay for equal work.
With that, I’m happy to take your questions.
Q Do you know if the White House has received the 9/11 lawsuit bill and the timing on the veto, when we should expect it?
MR. SCHULTZ: Kathleen, I can confirm that the White House received the bill last night. I don’t have any further updates for you on timing. As you know, as Josh made clear yesterday, we intend to — the President intends to veto this bill. He took some time yesterday to explain why. I’m happy to reiterate. The reason we oppose this bill is because it’s contrary to how the United States has conducted business on the international stage for decades. It’s inconsistent with this administration’s policies, but also policies that have been longstanding by administrations of both parties.
We have felt that if we open up individuals to lawsuits that it can start to chip away at the concept of sovereign immunity, which is something that’s protected Americans, again, for a very long time. That includes American servicemembers; that includes American diplomats and also American businesses.
So as a matter of policy, this is just not something that we believe is the right course. And that’s why the President intends to veto this bill.
Q Does he intend to veto it quickly?
MR. SCHULTZ: I don’t have any timing apace for you on that. As I just said, we got it last night. So if we have anything new on this we’ll make sure to let you know.
Q On those numbers that you read out earlier, you said there’s a lot of doom and gloom that people talk about. Do you think that’s illegitimate? Do you think that people who think the economy isn’t working, do you think they don’t have a strong case to make given the numbers that you just read out?
MR. SCHULTZ: Well, I think the facts today speak for themselves. If you’re interested in a few others, I’m happy to share those. In fact, the number of people in poverty fell by 3.5 million from 2014 to 2015, with the poverty rate decreasing faster than at any point since the 1960s — all racial and ethnic groups saw increases in household incomes and decreases in poverty in 2015, with African American and Hispanic households seeing the largest declines in poverty.
The uninsured rate, as we’ve said, continued to fall in almost every state in 2015, reflecting progress under the Affordable Care Act. Refundable tax credits like the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit lifted 4.8 million children out of poverty in 2015.
So there’s no question there’s more work to be done. That’s why the President is determined to use his last few months in office to keep his foot on the gas, make sure we can be doing whatever we can to lift wages, to invest in job growth and equal pay for equal work. So the President is not resting on these laurels. The President does want to make sure that these benefits are being felt throughout the economy. And, fortunately, the data today shows that that’s happening.
Q Hillary Clinton is not on the trail today because she’s recuperating. Does the President feel the need to reassure voters at all about her stamina, or does the White House feel like they need to kind of address her absence or anything like that?
MR. SCHULTZ: Ayesha, as you know, I think, this event has been on the books for some time now, so the President is deeply looking forward to going to Philadelphia. I think you can expect his remarks to reflect themes that you’ve already heard.
He gave a widely received — well-received speech at the convention a few weeks ago now, talking about why he believes Secretary Clinton is uniquely qualified to be the next President of the United States. That has essentially two underpinnings. One, he’s watched her up close. He worked with her closely for four years as she not only succeeded as Secretary of State, she thrived.
That followed an intense period where he ran against her. He was her opponent on the campaign trail in the primary. And he — even despite that tension, he witnessed firsthand her grit, her determination, her sense of selflessness and her pride in her country. And that’s why he believes she’s uniquely qualified to be the next President of the United States.
Second, the President also brings a unique perspective to this campaign. He’s one of very few people who have actually sat in the Oval Office making presidential-level decisions. So he understands, like almost nobody else, what challenges face the next President and what opportunities face the next President. And he believes Secretary Clinton should be his successor because she has the determination and the judgment to make those decisions in the best interest of the country.
Q Has he called her to check in on her?
MR. SCHULTZ: I don’t have any calls to read out to you. As Josh mentioned yesterday, we don’t read out every private conversation they had. I know they had a chance to catch up in person at the convention backstage following the President’s speech. So they check in from time to time, but I don’t have any calls to read out.
Q Yesterday the Vice President said that he thought that he could beat Donald Trump if they went jogging together, he could out-run him. Does the President think that he could out-run Donald Trump?
MR. SCHULTZ: Oh, Isaac. (Laughter.)
Q The Vice President says —
MR. SCHULTZ: Yeah, yeah. I think you’ll hear the President make a case today about why Secretary Clinton should succeed him in the Oval Office, the choice that voters face. And I think you’ll hear the President make some policy-based arguments for why Secretary Clinton —
Q — think that Donald Trump has the physical stamina, since that’s the issue, right? Does he have the physical stamina to be President of the United States? The President knows full well what that is, and he’s kept in shape himself, obviously, right?
MR. SCHULTZ: I’m not here to handicap the physical fitness of the candidates running for office. Obviously the President will speak to why he believes Secretary Clinton should be the next President and, quite frankly, why he believes her opponent presents the wrong path for America.
Q It’s been seven weeks since that convention. We haven’t seen him publicly campaigning for Secretary Clinton in a while. Is there any frustration that he’s got this busy day job that’s keeping him off the trail? And how is his schedule being crafted for the final eight weeks here? I assume we’ll see him ramp up that activity.
MR. SCHULTZ: Mike, perhaps you’re frustrated that you weren’t able to join us on a 10-day trip through Asia earlier this month. (Laughter.) So, yes, the President was traveling around the world the past 10 days, so that was part of the reason he wasn’t able to be on the campaign trail. As you all know, he also will be in New York next week for most of the week for the United Nations General Assembly.
That all said, he is very much looking forward to today. Again, he wants to be out there making the case for Secretary Clinton, why he believes she should be the next President of the United States. I’d expect more events in the coming weeks between now and November, but I don’t have any scheduling updates for you.
Q — to her?
MR. SCHULTZ: He believes that this election has enormous stakes. And he’s not only proud of his record over the past eight years, but he believes that we should not be turning back the clock. And the progress we’ve made — some of which is outlined in the data that was released this morning — is a sign of good progress and a sign of where we’ve come — and how far we’ve come. But there’s a alternative vision for this country that the President wants to make sure doesn’t take hold.
Q Do you think that Democrats need to focus voters’ attention on the sort of alt-right elements in Donald Trump’s campaign — or the “basket of deplorables,” as some have said? Is that part of his message here today? And do you think Democrats need to do a better job of focusing on that?
MR. SCHULTZ: The good news about doing this event in Philadelphia is we are literally minutes away from you hearing the President himself. So I think the President will address both why he believes Secretary Clinton should be the next President of the United States, but also why her opponent isn’t qualified to be President.
Q More broadly, though, if not today, just as a strategy, is that something he endorses?
MR. SCHULTZ: Look, I think — Josh mentioned yesterday, this is part of a pattern of this Republican Party. Unfortunately, they have deployed some cynical tactics to appeal to — they’ve deployed some tactics to appeal to American cynicism. If you look at their House Republican leadership, they have someone who proclaims himself to be “David Duke without the baggage.” They’ve threatened to hold up government funding to make sure that the Confederate flag can be shown in government cemeteries. They have supported proposals to ban Muslims from entering this country.
So we’ve seen this threat before. Unfortunately, it’s been surfacing over the past few months within Republican leadership, but I don’t have anything new to add.
Q Have you gotten a readout of the meeting this morning with Secretary Kerry? Can you talk about why that was added and — I assume it was Syria related.
MR. SCHULTZ: Happy to clarify that, Mike. This was part of the President’s regularly scheduled meetings with Secretary Kerry. Unfortunately, due to an internal oversight, it wasn’t listed on the public schedule last night, but it was always on the President’s schedule. But in the interest of transparency — (laughter) — we wanted to make sure you had all possible information about the President’s schedule before departing for Philadelphia.
So I don’t have a detailed readout of that meeting. I imagine that Syria and the Cessation of Hostilities was on the agenda. I’m sure that was discussed. But I don’t want you to have the impression that this meeting was added at the last minute.
Q One more campaign question. What does the President think about Mike Pence, the vice presidential nominee, not calling David Duke deplorable?
MR. SCHULTZ: Isaac, I saw reporting of that exchange. I haven’t talked to the President about it. Obviously this is a back-and-forth the campaign is having, so we’re not going to weigh in from here.
Q But should a Republican vice presidential nominee be calling a former KKK leader who sticks by all of his views deplorable?
MR. SCHULTZ: You’re going to have to ask the campaign to defend their own comments.
Q Does the White House support the decision by the NCAA to strip North Carolina of its tournament games because of the bathroom bill?
MR. SCHULTZ: As you know, the President himself has spoken out about this. We’ve called this mean-spirited and misguided. He’s called for the repeal of the legislation. And we’ve also made the case that this is not only contrary to our values, but it’s also bad business. And I think you can look no further than the NCAA’s decision yesterday, I believe, for evidence of that.
Q Non-campaign related. We’re reporting that the U.S. has reached a deal with Israel, a funding deal. Do you have any comments on that, or when the deal would be signed?
MR. SCHULTZ: Sure, Ayesha. As you know, we have been discussing a memorandum of understanding with our Israeli counterparts. I can confirm for you that we’re in the final stages of those discussions.
This has been a long, complicated process. But we believe that it’s one that’s worth it because it’s in the interests of both the United States and our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel — one of our closest allies around the world — to reaffirm our commitment to their security. So I don’t have any updates on timing for you, but I can say that this has been a priority for this administration.
Q One on the health care exchanges. The President dropped by a meeting of insurance executives yesterday. Is he worried about those exchanges before the open enrollment, and does he feel like he has enough sway to get enough young people to sign up?
MR. SCHULTZ: Well, Toluse, you’re right, we did have a meeting yesterday with some leaders of the insurance industry. That was a meeting with senior administration officials who work on this issue. The President did take a few minutes to drop by that meeting because this is a priority — making sure the next open enrollment period is a success — I should say as successful as the previous ones — is important to the President.
So I can tell you, I was not in the meeting, but the readout I got was that it was a good meeting, a positive one, constructive one — that in order to make sure the marketplace succeeds, we’re going to need people acting in good faith. And, around the table, people felt confident that the Affordable Care Act is working.
Q Does the President take credit for the positive household income numbers that you announced? Does he personally take credit for that?
MR. SCHULTZ: It’s not about taking credit. This is about making clear where we were, how far we’ve come, and where we are today. And I think that given that we are a few months from an election that it’s important to take stock of how far — how much we’ve achieved over the past eight years. There’s no question that the grit, determination of the American workforce is why we are in such a better place than we were when the President took office, but there’s also no question that the President’s policies have helped — steered the United States economy over the past eight years. And that is something the President is proud of.
Q One more. On TPP, did the President get any assurances or have a conversation with McConnell and Ryan yesterday about bringing that up in the lame duck?
MR. SCHULTZ: Kathleen, the President did have an opportunity to have a pretty thorough conversation yesterday with the four leaders in Congress in the Oval Office. I don’t have any additional details to read out to you from that conversation beyond what the President offered in the spray at the bottom of the meeting.
I can tell you that passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a priority for this President. He believes that — as we’re talking about the economic progress that we made over the past eight years — it can only be bolstered if we start to invest — if we continue to invest in America’s workers and American businesses.
So the President does believe that’s on the agenda for the next few months for Congress, and he made that clear. He also talked about his trip — that you were fortunate enough to accompany him on — though Asia. And he talked about how — on that trip, he talked about how America’s credibility in the region is on the line. That this was a deal we negotiated; we negotiated it with America’s businesses and America’s workers’ interest at heart.
But the truth is that if we don’t write the rules of the road on trade, China is going to. And China is already trying to negotiate their own trade agreement. So that’s why the President believes the United States of America should write the rules on trade, and that’s why he’s going to be pushing on Congress to pass this deal.
Q Did he seem optimistic that they will?
MR. SCHULTZ: Again, I don’t have anything to add from the conversation, but he left confident that the leaders know his position.
All right. Thank you.
POTUS stepped off Air Force One at about 1:05 pm in a suit and tie. He was greeted by Sen Bob Casey (D, Pa) and Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney. A smiling POTUS spent a few minutes shaking hands with the 40 or so people awaiting his arrival.
After an uneventful drive up Route 95 (though past a billboard for the new TV series Designated Survivor), POTUS arrived at Eakins Oval at about 1:25 to a stage set up just in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum and the stairs made famous by Rocky. Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway bystanders held phones aloft to capture the arrival. A handful of protesters held signs, including some reading “People Over Pipelines.”
Huge American flags, a blue sign reading “Stronger Together” and a massive “Clinton Kaine” sign decorated the rally area.
Senate candidate Katie McGinty was concluding her remarks just as the motorcade arrived. US Rep Bob Brady (D., Pa.), the Philadelphia Democratic chairman, warmed up the crowd with a “Stronger Together” call and response and bashed Donald Trump, saying, “he was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf spoke next, praising the Affordable Care Act, which he said helped 660,000 Pennsylvanians obtain health insurance.
POTUS stepped to the podium to big cheers at about 1:40 pm, jacket off, sleeves rolled up — and quickly referenced Philadelphia’s newest star, Eagles rookie quarterback Caron Wentz.
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Philly! (Applause.) Hello, Philadelphia! (Applause.) Oh, it is good to be back in Philly. (Applause.) Can everybody please give Patrick a big round of applause for that great introduction? (Applause.) Oh, it is good to be back on the campaign trail. (Applause.) Now, I understand I am not — I know I’m not the first person from the White House to come to Philly this week. Some of you may have seen Joe Biden at the Eagles game. (Applause.) He told me, “Barack, you’ve got to get on the Wentz Wagon;” said we’ve got a new quarterback — “We’ve got hope in Philly.” (Applause.) And I had to explain, “Joe, I am a Bears fan.”
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: And we play Philly next Monday night. So I’ve got to stick with my team, but I am going to go to Philly and scout out what all the fuss is about.
I also am here because you’ve got some of the best public servants in America. They work their heart out every day for you. (Applause.) You’ve got Scranton’s favorite son, in addition to Joe Biden, Senator Bob Casey, one of the best senators in the country. (Applause.) Your outstanding Governor, Tom Wolf, is here. (Applause.) Your wonderful mayor, Jim Kenney, is here. (Applause.) One of your outstanding members of the House of Representatives, Bob Brady, is in the house. (Applause.) Your candidate for the United States Senate — this is a special woman, she is going to do a great job — Katie McGinty is here. (Applause.) And your candidate for Attorney General, an old friend of mine, somebody who was with me early, early, early on — Josh Shapiro. Give Josh a big round of applause. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Applause.) But we’ve got some business to do here, so — we’ve got some business to do. This will be — this is going to be one of the last times I visit Philly as President.
So my first order of business is to say thank you for all the support you’ve given me all these years. (Applause.) And I’ve got incredible memories here in Philly, most recently at the Democratic National Convention. (Applause.) And I could not be prouder of the leader that we have nominated to take my place. (Applause.) So even though I’ve run my last campaign, I am going to work as hard as I can this fall to elect Hillary Clinton as our next President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: Hillary! (Applause.)
Now, in election season, you will often hear crazy stuff. But I’ve got to say, this year we’ve been hearing a little more crazy than usual. (Laughter.) Having said that, after almost two terms as your President, I am here to tell you I am more optimistic about our future than I’ve ever been. (Applause.) Because I’ve seen an America that, for all the challenges, for all the noise of the politics, still has the capacity to come together and do great things.
You think about it. We fought our way back from the worst recession in 80 years. We turned around a declining economy. We helped our auto industry set new records. Our businesses created 15 million new jobs. Slashed our dependence on foreign oil. Doubled our production of clean energy. Made marriage equality a reality in all 50 states. (Applause.)
We brought more of our troops home to their families. We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. (Applause.) Through diplomacy rather than war, we shut down Iran’s nuclear program, 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 kids and our grandkids. That’s what we’ve done. (Applause.)
By so many measures, America is stronger and more prosperous than when we started out on this journey together. In fact, some of you may have saw there was a new report out just today showing that last year, across every age, every race in America, incomes rose and the poverty rate fell. (Applause.) In fact, the typical household income of Americans rose by $2,800, which is the single biggest one-year increase on record. (Applause.) We lifted 3.5 million people out of poverty. That’s the largest one-year drop in poverty since 1968. (Applause.) The uninsured rate is the lowest it has been since they kept record. The pay gap between men and women shrank to the lowest level ever. (Applause.)
So, now, let’s face it — Republicans don’t like to hear good news right now. (Laughter.) But it’s important just to understand this is a big deal. More Americans are working, more have health insurance. Incomes are rising. Poverty is falling.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Gas is two dollars!
THE PRESIDENT: And gas is two dollars a gallon. I didn’t even — thank you for reminding me. (Laughter.) Thanks, Obama. (Laughter and applause.) Yes. So the steps that we have been taking over these years, they’re paying off. We’ve shown that progress is possible.
And, of course, none of this was easy. We knew all along that change wasn’t going to be quick. We knew that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or even in one presidency. But we’re here today because we know we’ve got more work to do for every worker who still needs a good job, for every worker who still needs a raise, or a decent retirement; for every child who still needs a world-class education as a ladder out of poverty; for every family who hasn’t yet felt progress these past eight years. We’ve got more work to do, we know that.
And the choice that you make — that we make — just eight weeks from today will determine the direction of this country for a long time. And I’ve already said this: This is not a choice — this is not the usual choice between parties and policies, and left and right. This is more fundamental. This a fundamental choice about who we are as a people. This is a choice about the very meaning of America. (Applause.)
Democrats and Republicans — we’ve always had our differences. There’s nothing wrong with that; that’s how the country moves forward. Right? We have debates, different ideas. We compete. We see what’s going to make us work. But what we’ve seen from the other side in this election — this isn’t Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party. This isn’t even the vision of freedom that Ronald Reagan talked about.
This is a dark, pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, we turn away from the rest of the world. They’re not offering serious solutions. They’re just fanning resentment and blame, and anger and hate.
And that is not the America we know. That’s not the America I know. (Applause.) The America I know is full of courage and optimism, and generosity, and ingenuity and innovation. Yes, we’ve got real concerns. We worry about paying the bills, we worry about protecting our kids. We worry about caring for a sick parent. Lord knows we get frustrated about Washington and all the gridlock. We worry about racial division. There are pockets of America that never fully recovered from the factories closing down. There are parents who are worrying about whether their kids are going to have the same opportunities they had.
But look, I’ve traveled in every state. And I’ve seen, more than anything, all that is good and right about America. I see people working hard. I see folks starting businesses. I see teachers just digging in their own pockets to buy school materials and teaching kids, just because they love kids. I see men and women in uniform serving their country, making incredible sacrifices. I see engineers inventing new stuff, and doctors coming up with new cures.
And most of all, I see this younger generation that is so full of energy and ideas — (applause) — and aren’t going to be held back by the old ideas. Imagine what can be instead of just what is. And I see Americans of every party, and every background, and every faith who ultimately believe we’re stronger together. All of us — young, old; men, women; black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance to the same proud flag.
That is the America I know. That’s the America you know and believe in. (Applause.) And there is just one candidate in this race who’s devoted her life to building that America — a mother and a grandmother who would do anything to help our children do better; a leader who’s got real plans to break down barriers and blast through glass ceilings, and widen opportunity for every single American — the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: Hillary!
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, look, can I just say, I am really into electing Hillary Clinton. Like I — this is not me going through the motions here. I really, really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton. And sometimes folks, they’re kind of surprised by that because they remember, man, you guys had a tough fight eight years ago.
And it was tough, because Hillary is tough. Every time I thought I had that race won — I was like going up the “Rocky Steps.” (Laughter.) I was like — I was about to celebrate, and then I look and she’s right there. And I got whooped here in Pennsylvania. She whooped me. Now, you did make it up to me in November, when I won. (Laughter.)
But I had seen what she could accomplish. I had seen how smart and savvy and tough she was. So I asked her — I said, join my team. And she wasn’t sure about it at first. But she ultimately knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us. That’s the kind of patriot she is.
And so for four years, I had a front-row seat. I watched her intelligence. I watched her judgment. I watched her discipline. I saw her in the Situation Room, where she argued in favor of the mission for bin Laden. I watched her pursue diplomacy to open up new partnerships, to help promote democracy, to help reduce the nuclear threat. And she worked hard, tirelessly, flying around the world again and again. I don’t know how many times she lapped the world, but she went around a long time. Because she had never forgotten what she was fighting for — to make sure every child has the same opportunities as her granddaughter and her daughters and your kids.
If there’s one thing I can tell you, Philadelphia, nobody fully understands the demands of my job — this job of the President — until you actually sit behind that desk. Look, I didn’t understand it before I had the job. You think you do —
AUDIENCE: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, no — hold on — I appreciate that. But I’m not gone yet, so save the thank-yous.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You ain’t done!
THE PRESIDENT: I’m not finished yet. I got a few more months. (Applause.)
Listen, what you come to realize when you’re in this job is, anybody can pop off, anybody can fire off a tweet. Everybody is a critic. But that doesn’t mean you know what it’s like to manage a global crisis. You don’t know what it’s like to send a group of young people to war, knowing some won’t come back. But the closest you can come to understanding what it’s like is to be where Hillary has been, to have been part of those decisions. She knows what it means for working families and senior citizens, and small business owners, and soldiers and veterans when we make policy in the White House. And in the middle of crisis, she’ll listen to people and she will keep her cool, and she treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how many times people knock her down and mess with her, she does not quit. She doesn’t quit. (Applause.) She doesn’t quit. That’s the Hillary that I know.
And that’s why I really want to get her elected. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. I believe there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as our President. (Applause.)
Now, Hillary actually has plans to address the things that she’s heard from you on the campaign trail — specific ideas to invest in new jobs and to help workers share in their company’s profits, and to help put kids in preschool so they get a good start, and to put students through college without taking on a mountain of debt. (Applause.) And I know that these days in campaigns, sometimes the plans get ignored. But they’re there, and they make sense, and they add up.
And there’s the other guy, Donald Trump.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo — vote! Don’t boo — vote! Booing is easy. I need you to vote.
Look, let’s talk about Mr. Trump. He’s not really a plans guy, a facts guy. He calls himself a business guy. But America has got a lot of businessmen and women who succeeded without hiding their tax returns, or leaving a trail of lawsuits, or workers who didn’t get paid, people feeling like they got cheated.
I mean, look, I keep on reading this analysis that, well, you know, Trump has got support from like working folks. Really? Like, this is the guy you want to be championing working people? This guy who spent 70 years on this Earth showing no concern for working people — this guy is suddenly going to be your champion?
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, he spent most of his life trying to stay as far away from working people as he could. And now this guy is going to be the champion of working people? Huh? I mean, he wasn’t going to let you on his golf course. (Laughter.) He wasn’t going to let you buy in his condo. And now suddenly this guy is going to be your champion?
So, yes, if you oppose raising the minimum wage, you should vote for Trump. You should also vote for Pat Toomey. You got — a Trump-Toomey economy will be right up your alley.
But if you are actually concerned about paying your bills, growing the economy, creating opportunity for everybody, keeping the trend of rising incomes going and rising wages going, and uninsured going down, and poverty going down — if that’s what you’re looking for, this shouldn’t even be close. If you want higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should be voting for Hillary Clinton, and Katie McGinty, and Bob Brady to stand up for you. (Applause.)
And if you’re concerned about who’s going to keep your family safe in this dangerous world, then the choice is even clearer. Look, I just came from overseas. Talk to the other leaders around the world. They don’t even understand how this is close. Hillary has worked with our intelligence teams, and our diplomats, and our military. She’s got the judgment and the temperament and the experience to meet any threat. There’s no scenario that she will not have seen before. And she will see to it that our troops finish the job of defeating ISIL — doing it the right way without resorting to torture, without banning entire religions from our country. She’s prepared to be the next commander-in-chief. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
THE PRESIDENT: And then you got the Donald, who, just last week went on Russian state television to talk down our military and to curry favor with Vladimir Putin.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: He loves this guy. Loves this guy. Think about what’s happened to the Republican Party. (Laughter.) Right? They used to be opposed to Russia and authoritarianism, and fighting for freedom and fighting for democracy. And now their nominee is out there praising a guy, saying he’s a strong leader because he invades smaller countries, jails his opponents, controls the press, and drives his economy into a long recession.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: No, look, I’m actually being serious about it. Think about this. And when the interviewer asked him, well, why do you support this guy — “He’s a strong guy. Look, he’s got an 82 percent poll rating.” (Laughter.) Well, yes, so did — Saddam Hussein had a 90 percent poll rating. (Laughter.) I mean, if you control the media, and you’ve taken away everybody’s civil liberties, and you jail dissidents, that’s what happens. If the pollster calls you up and says, do you support the guy who, if you don’t support him, he might throw you in jail — you say, yes, I love that guy. (Laughter.)
But think about the fact that that is Donald Trump’s role model. I mean, I have to do business with Putin. I have to do business with Russia. That’s part of foreign policy. But I don’t go around saying that’s my role model. (Laughter.) Can you imagine Ronald Reagan idolizing somebody like that?
THE PRESIDENT: He saw America as “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene.” He’s not offering any real policies or plans, just offering division and offering fear. And he’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might just scare up enough votes to win this election.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I believe Americans are not a fearful people. We don’t look for being ruled. Our power comes from those ideals first put into place right here in Philadelphia — that all of us are created equal; that “We, the People, can form a more perfect union.” (Applause.) We believe in democracy. That’s what we believe in. (Applause.)
We don’t believe that one person is going to do it for us. It’s what we can do together, achieved by us. And, yes, it’s hard and slow, and sometimes frustrating to persuade people and work with people and form coalitions. But that’s the necessary work of self-government.
And that’s what Hillary Clinton understands because she’s been through it. She knows that in a democracy, in a big, diverse country like this one, it doesn’t work if we just demonize each other and call each other names. She knows that love trumps hate. (Applause.) She knows that most issues aren’t just black and white, and that you got to compromise to get things done, even when you’re 100 percent right. She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, and we have to see ourselves in each other, and we’ve got to fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground.
And these days, our politics doesn’t always lend itself to those ideals. We get impatient. We want our progress right away. And we don’t want to have to compromise and we don’t have to listen to other folks. But I promise you, when we stay at it, progress does happen.
And if you don’t believe it, ask the 20 million people who have got health care today who didn’t have it. (Applause.) Ask that Marine who serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves. (Applause.) Democracy works. But here’s the thing.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We need some help!
THE PRESIDENT: We’ve got somebody who fainted. This is what happens. They’ll be okay. Just give them a little room. Everybody bend their knees one time. Just don’t lock your knees. Keep on bending them a little bit. We’ll do a little exercise right now. EMS folks, they’re right in front. If you can find somebody. Drink some water.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. But bend your knees. (Laughter.)
But listen — listen to this. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want democracy — not just on Election Day, but all the days in between. And this is where you come in. We can close the inequality gap in our economy. Hillary has got plans to make sure everybody has a shot, not just those at the top. But you’ve got to help her by voting for Democrats up and down the ticket. (Applause.) We’ve got to get a Congress back, and we’ve got to hold everybody we elect accountable for getting the job done. (Applause.)
We can reform our criminal justice system. But you’ve got to vote — not just for President, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and states attorneys, and state legislators. (Applause.) We got to work with police and protestors until laws and practices are changed.
We can fix our broken immigration system, but we can’t keep on sending Republicans to Congress who stand in the way. We’ve got to vote for leaders who see immigrants not as criminals or rapists, but as families who came here the same reason ours did — to work, and to study, and to contribute. (Applause.) We need leaders in Congress who know the American Dream is not something that a wall can contain.
We can keep making progress against climate change. This month was the hottest on record. This year is going to end up being the hottest on record. This is not somebody’s imagination. This is not some liberal plot. It’s a problem. But we’ve got to vote for people who actually understand that it’s real. (Applause.) And we got to engage not just with young people on college campuses, but also single moms who are worried about gas prices, and coal miners who are worried about providing for their kids. And Hillary has got real plans to do that.
And if you don’t think the stakes are high enough, just remember that for months now, the Republicans in the Senate have refused to do their job and fill a vacancy for the Supreme Court. Even though I nominated somebody with more federal judicial experience than any nominee in history, they want to see Donald Trump fill it with somebody who sees the world as he does. Imagine that. Who would that person be?
The Supreme Court should be above politics. The people on the bench make monumental decisions that affect every aspect of our daily lives — from a woman’s right to choose to your right to vote. (Applause.)
So my most important message is, we cannot take this election for granted. We’ve got to fight for this thing. There are serious issues at stake in this election behind all the frivolous stuff that gets covered every day.
And let me just make a comment about that. Because, look, I’m not running this time, but I sure do get frustrated with the way this campaign is covered. I’m just telling the truth. Guys in the back, I’m just telling you the truth about how I feel about this. Do you mind if I just vent for a second? (Applause.)
You know, you don’t grade the presidency on a curve. This is serious business. And when we see folks talking about transparency — you want to debate transparency? You’ve got one candidate in this race who has released decades’ worth of her tax returns. The other candidate is the first in decades who refuses to release any at all. You want to debate foundations and charities? One candidate’s family foundation has saved countless lives around the world. The other candidate’s foundation took money other people gave to his charity, and then bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself. I mean, he had the taste not to go for the 10-foot version. (Laughter.)
You want to debate who’s more fit to be our President? One candidate, who’s traveled to more countries than any Secretary of State ever has, has more qualifications than pretty much anyone who’s ever run for this job; and the other, who isn’t fit in any way, shape or form to represent this country abroad and be its commander-in-chief. (Applause.)
So somehow, as things go on, because we’ve become so partisan, our standards for what’s normal have changed. And Donald Trump says stuff every day that used to be considered as disqualifying for being president. And yet, because he says it over and over and over again, the press just gives up and they just say, well, yeah, you know — okay. They just stop — “I was opposed to the war in Iraq.” Well, actually, he wasn’t. But they just accept it.
So the bottom line is, is that we cannot afford suddenly to treat this like a reality show. We can’t afford to act as if there’s some equivalence here.
To be President, you have to do your homework, and you have to know what you’re talking about, and you’ve got to apply steady judgment, even when things don’t go your way. And you’ve got to make the tough calls, even when they’re not popular, even when they take years to pay off. And you’ve got to be able to handle criticism without taking it personally — just brush it off, and then go ahead and get the job done. (Applause.)
And that’s something I learned. And that’s what Hillary learned as a senator and as a Secretary of State and as a First Lady. And, yes, she’s got her share of critics. And she’s been caricatured by the right and sometimes by the left. And she’s been accused of everything you can imagine, and has been subjected to more scrutiny and what I believe is more unfair criticism than anybody out here. (Applause.) And she doesn’t complain about it. And you know what, that’s what happens when you’re under the microscope for 40 years.
But what sets Hillary apart is that through it all, she just keeps on going, and she doesn’t stop caring, and she doesn’t stop trying, and she never stops fighting for us — even if we haven’t always appreciated it. (Applause.)
And look, I understand we’re a young country, we are a restless country. We always like the new, shiny thing. I benefitted from that when I was a candidate. And we take for granted sometimes what is steady and true. And Hillary Clinton is steady, and she is true. (Applause.) And the young people who are here, who — all you’ve been seeing is just the nonsense that’s been on TV. You maybe don’t remember all the work that she has had to do, and all the things she has had to overcome, and all the good that has happened because of her efforts. But you need to remember. You need to understand this.
If you’re serious about our democracy, then you’ve got to be with her. She’s in the arena, and you can’t leave her in there by herself. You’ve got to get in there with her. (Applause.) You can’t stay home because, oh, she’s been around for a long time. Well, you know what? This is not reality TV. Democracy is not a spectator sport. You don’t tweet in your vote.
America is not about “yes, he will,” it’s about “yes, we can.” Yes, we can. Yes, we can create more good jobs. Yes, we can create better schools. Yes, we can create safer streets. Yes, we can create a more secure world.
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
THE PRESIDENT: We can bring about real change and real progress. And the time has come for me to pass the baton on, but I know that Hillary is going to take it and she’s going to run that race, and she will finish that race. And that’s why I’m with her. That’s why I’m fired up. That’s why I’m ready to go. And I need you to join me. (Applause.)
I need you to work as hard for Hillary as you did for me. (Applause.) I need you to knock on doors. I need you to make phone calls. You’ve got to talk to your friends, including your Republican friends. You need to go to IWillVote.com and register to vote by October 11th. Then you’ve got to go to the polls and you’ve got to get people to go to the polls. (Applause.) And if you’re willing to do that with me, we’ll win in November. We’ll elect Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States. (Applause.) We will continue on this journey to create a better America and a fairer America, a more just America, a more loving America, a brighter America. (Applause.)
That’s what we’re fighting for. That’s why I need you. Let’s get busy. Let’s get to work. (Applause.)
Thank you, Philadelphia. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
After speaking for just less than 40 minutes, POTUS moved on to a Center City fundraiser at the Sonesta Hotel. About 25 people are expected. Attendees contributed $33,400. Co-chairs contributed $100,000.
Meanwhile, the Press Pool is holding in a Ruth’s Chris steakhouse.
(CLINTON AIDE) Details on POTUS’ fundraiser:
* President Barack Obama is attending a Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) event today in PA.
* The HVF is a joint fundraising committee between HFA, the DNC and state parties across the country that was established to ensure the DNC and state parties across the country have the resources they need to help the Democrats up and down the ballot win in November.
* Funds raised through the HVF are now being used to fund and staff organizing programs in states across the country that will register voters, recruit volunteers and organize Democrats to turn out and support candidates up and down the ballot. The coordinated campaigns are being run by the DNC and state parties and will coordinate with local, state and federal Democratic campaigns to work to elect progressives across the country.
Per White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, while in Philadelphia POTUS taped 2 radio interviews:
The President spoke with Frankie Darcell of WMXD (Detroit/Philadelphia) and Rick Party and Benji Brown of WHQY (Miami).
Also, the Clinton campaign says the crowd at the afternoon rally was more than 6,000 people.
A Philly PD officer defused a minor situation as reporters moved back into the motorcade. A man in ragged clothing approached the waiting press vans from down a narrow street, shouting incoherently. A Philly police officer and then a Secret Service agent told him he had to turn around and go back the other way. The man argued for awhile, and a woman then came outside from the nearby Midtown III restaurant and cocktail lounge to complain about his behavior in the restaurant. After a few moments of arguing with the officer, the man eventually turned and walked away, where he had been directed.
POTUS was nowhere in sight at the time.
Motorcade was back rolling at 4:22, about an hour and 40 minutes after POTUS arrived for the fundraiser. Crowds along Broad St and 16th St waved and shot images with their phones as we drove by.
The motorcade, lights flashing, made an uneventful trip down 95, arriving at PHL at about 4:35. Air Force One was wheels up at 4:45 en route to New York.
That’s it from the local press pool.