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Championing Optimism, Obama Hails Clinton as His Political Heir

Barack Obama by Elizabeth Cromwell - CC-BY-SA-3.0
Barack Obama by Elizabeth Cromwell – CC-BY-SA-3.0

PHILADELPHIA — President Obama delivered a stirring valedictory address at the Democratic convention Wednesday night, hailing Hillary Clinton as his rightful political heir and the party’s best hope to protect democracy from “homegrown demagogues” like the Republican Donald J. Trump.

Taking the stage to rapturous roars of “We love you” and “Yes we can,” Mr. Obama acknowledged that Democrats were still divided after a bruising nomination fight and that Mrs. Clinton had made “mistakes.”

But he vouched passionately for Mrs. Clinton as a trusted and reliable ally not just for him but for all Americans who need a fighter to improve their lives and keep them safe.

“She’s been there for us — even if we haven’t always noticed — and if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue,” Mr. Obama said, an explicit appeal to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders who continue to resist Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Obama offered an optimistic portrait of America and a strong defense of his policies, but also unleashed by far his most ferocious attack yet on Mr. Trump, even portraying the Republican nominee as a threat to the country. “That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end,” he said.

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