PHILADELPHIA — In one of the last major addresses of his presidency, President Barack Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden offered full-throated endorsements for nominee Hillary Clinton, in speeches that called for the same continuity in American foreign policy that the rest of the party hopes voters will look for at the ballot box in November.
Obama and Biden made the case for Clinton’s record as Secretary of State during their first terms, with Obama and Clinton eliciting a piercing round of cheers from the crowd when they embraced on the stage.
Obama painted Clinton’s Republican opponent Donald Trump as a fear monger, calling his campaign a bid to win the White House with empty promises of a heavier executive hand.
“This is not your typical election,” Obama said. “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.
“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.”
Trump, Obama said, is the one casting the country in a negative light by campaigning on paranoia.
“Donald Trump calls it ‘a divided crime scene’ that only he can fix,” he continued. “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.”
While Obama recalled that Clinton had “been in the room” for crucial foreign policy decisions like mounting the military operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, Biden called her the most experienced candidate on national security ever to run for the office.
“The threats are too great,” Biden said. “The times are too uncertain to elect Donald Trump as president of the United States. No major party nominee in the history of this nation has known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security,”
Clinton’s recently tapped running mate Tim Kaine had a harder time with the audience Thursday night, where he faced repeated heckles from members of the Missouri delegation.
Kaine had to grit his teeth through chants against the Transpacific Partnership, which he had said he supported as recently as last week before reversing course. He did, however, get a resounding, arena-wide “no” out of the crowd when he asked whether they believe Donald Trump when he says “There’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns, believe me.”