- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
President Barack Obama brought a close to the third night of the four-day Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Wednesday with a passionate endorsement and passing of the baton to Hillary Clinton, who surprised the audience by joining him onstage after his speech.
Walking out to U2’s “City of Blinding Lights,” President Obama thanked the erupting crowd for their standing ovation as they chanted, “Yes we can!” He began his speech by saying, “Twelve years ago tonight, I addressed this convention for the very first time … I was so young and I’ll admit it, maybe I was a little nervous addressing such a big crowd, but I was filled with faith. Faith in America.”
Speaking of his daughters and wife Michelle, who “has made me a better father and better man” and “who hasn’t aged a day,” Obama then turned talk to today. “I am more optimistic about the future of America than ever before,” he said.
Speaking about victories and setbacks from his presidency, from capturing Osama bin Laden to saying “love has no limits” to the cheering crowd, Obama then said, “We still have more work to do.”
Focusing on November, he said: “It’s fair to say: This is not your typical election.”
“The America I know is full of optimism and courage,” Obama said when discussing the hate he witnessed during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last weekend. Still, he told the crowd not to boo at the mention of the GOP nominee’s name.
Recalling when he and Clinton were political rivals, he explained that going up against her “wore him out.” He added, “She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards and in heels.”
About the audacity of hope, Obama said to America: “I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me.
“Now that I’m ready to pass the baton,” he said to “reject fear” and “elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States and show the world that we still believe in the promise of this great nation.
“Thank you for this incredible journey — let’s keep it going.”
After thunderous applause, Clinton then surprised the DNC crowd by joining Obama onstage.
Following the night’s other headliners, Vice President Joe Biden and Clinton’s VP pick, Tim Kaine, Obama continued to implore voters to elect Clinton to the White House in November.
The highly anticipated moment marked the passing of the Democratic party baton from a barrier-breaking president to an historic candidate.
Obama was introduced by Sharon Belkofer, the mother of U.S. soldier Tom Belkofer, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. “I wish every American could hug President Obama,” she said before a video introducing the president played. The video chronicled the deep tragedy and momentous accomplishments of Obama’s presidency, with many moments garnering loud cheers from the crowd.
Wednesday also saw speeches from Angela Bassett, Empire‘s Lee Daniels and a performance from Lenny Kravitz. Sigourney Weaver introduced a climate change film directed by James Cameron that took aim at Donald Trump, and Christine Leinonen, the mother of one of the Orlando victims, brought the room to tears.
The DNC has had no shortage of A-list support amid its star-studded lineup in Philadelphia. On Tuesday night, Kesha performed at a gun-control concert, and on Wednesday night, Fergie headlined a concert for the Creative Coalition and The Black Eyed Peas headlined the Rock the Vote concert at the Fillmore.
Susan Sarandon, Shailene Woodley, Rosario Dawson and Shonda Rhimes all have been spotted at the DNC, in addition to the impressive roster of celebrity speakers. On Tuesday night, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham and America Ferrera and Tony Goldwyn spoke, while Elizabeth Banks hosted and former President Bill Clinton headlined.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day