- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — President Obama told Democrats Wednesday night that Hillary Clinton keeps her cool in a crisis and “never, ever quits.”

Handing off the leadership of the party to Mrs. Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Obama praised his former secretary of State for having the experience and qualifications to become the first female president.

“Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect,” Mr. Obama said. “And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits. 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 more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president.”

He also criticized the Republican Party for its convention last week that nominated Donald Trump amid deep anger at Mr. Obama’s leadership and Mrs. Clinton’s record.

“What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican – and it sure wasn’t conservative,” the president said. “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 – just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate. And that is not the America I know.”

Mr. Obama delivered his speech 12 years to the day since he gave his famous speech to the Democratic convention in Boston as a state senator from Illinois.

He lauded Mrs. Clinton’s experience in pressure-filled national security meetings in the White House Situation Room, such as the decision by Mr. Obama to approve the special operations raid in 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

“Nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office,” Mr. Obama said. “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’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran.”

The president ridiculed Mr. Trump, saying “he’s not really a plans guy. 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 success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated,” Mr. Obama said.

Turning to national security, Mr. Obama said the choice is “even clearer” between the two candidates.

“Hillary Clinton is respected around the world not just by leaders, but by the people they serve,” he said. “I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed. She’ll finish the job – and she’ll do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit to be the next commander-in-chief.”

Mr. Trump, who calls the U.S. military a disaster, “apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known,” Mr. Obama said.

“He cozies up to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, and tells the NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection,” Mr. Obama said. “Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”

Mr. Obama, who is facing a divided party and fresh domestic and international crises, also tried to calm Americans’ concerns as well, with Mr. Trump picking up momentum in recent polls.

“Sure, we have real anxieties – about paying the bills, protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent,” Mr. Obama said. “We get frustrated with political gridlock, worry about racial divisions; 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.”

The president said, as he’s traveled the nation, he has seen “what is right with America.”

“I see people working hard and starting businesses; people teaching kids and serving our country. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, unconstrained by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be,” he is to say. “The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.”

The president said Mr. Trump is “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,” Mr. Obama said. “That is another bet that Donald Trump will lose. Because he’s selling the American people short. We are not a fragile or frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order. We don’t look to be ruled.”

But one of the largest roars Mr. Obama elicited from the crowd was his mention of Sen. Bernard Sanders, whose supporters are still fuming over Mrs. Clinton’s nomination and his loss in the primary.

“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,” the president said. “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.”

Referring to the racial tensions that have riven the country over police shootings of civilians and assassinations of officers, the president said Mrs. Clinton “knows we can work through racial divides in this country.”

“She knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn’t making race relations worse — it’s creating the possibility for people of good will to join and make things better,” he said.

On immigration, he said, Mrs. Clinton also “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 reasons our forebears came – to work, and study, and 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,” he said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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