(WB) On the third night of the Democratic National Convention, President Obama led a series of heavy hitters who delivered speeches praising Hillary Clinton as the right candidate to lead the country.
Obama’s speech, which was about 40 minutes long and the final speech of the night, marked his return to the Democratic convention stage 12 years after his keynote address propelled him to the national spotlight.
“Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me,” Obama said. “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’ve fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; the audacity of hope.”
Reflecting on his administration, Obama recognized achievements on LGBT rights, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage. The line generated significant applause from the audience.
“And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land,” Obama said.
Obama made an allusion to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal after saying “when we change enough minds; when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen.”
“Just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband he loves,” Obama said. “Democracy works, but we gotta want it – not just during an election year, but all the days in between.”
Cheering throughout his speech were attendees waving blue “Obama” signs reminiscent of campaign materials from his presidential bids. After Obama finished, Clinton made a surprise appearance at the convention. The two embraced on stage before jointly waving to attendees.
As for Donald Trump, Obama contrasted the Republican candidate’s proposed policies to Clinton’s. In one standout line referencing Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, Obama said, “The American Dream is something no wall will ever contain.”
“Ronald Reagan called America ‘a shining city on a hill,'” Obama said. “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 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.”
Also speaking on Wednesday night was U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who formally accepted his party’s nomination as the vice presidential nominee. Speaking in Spanish, Kaine said Clinton is right for the job because she is “listo.”
“Because what listo means in Spanish is this, it means prepared, it means battle-tested, it means rock solid, up for anything, never backing down,” Kaine said. “And, friends, Hillary Clinton, she is listo!”
Enumerating leaders who’ve moved America forward, Kaine referenced the slain gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk, saying, “Martin had a dream and Cesar y Dolores said, ‘Si se puede’. And Harvey gave his life. Bill, Bill built a bridge into the 21st Century and Barack gave us hope. And now Hillary is ready.”
Vice President Joseph Biden also made the case for Clinton by referencing her work seeking to help the disadvantaged.
“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Biden said, “if you live in the neighborhoods like the ones 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 are taking care of an elderly parent, then there is only one person in this election who will help you, only one person in this race who will be there, who has always been there for you, and that is Hillary Clinton’s life story.”
Mara Keisling, a D.C. transgender advocate and member of the platform committee, said she couldn’t decide who delivered the best speech on the third night of the convention.
“I don’t know if we have ever seen two speakers in one evening as good as Joe Biden and Barack Obama were tonight,” Keisling said. “I’m not sure I could pick one over the other. They were both incredible.”
Toward the end of his speech, Obama admitted he’s essentially relinquishing his role as head of the Democratic Party, but believes he’s leaving it in good hands.
“America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years,” Obama said. “And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me – to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s 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.”