Michael Cottman: Obama’s Last Hurrah

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27:  US President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd as he arrives on stage to deliver remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.  (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 27: US President Barack Obama acknowledges the crowd as he arrives on stage to deliver remarks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama delivered his last address to a Democratic National Convention while occupying the White House and passed the torch to the woman he hopes will take his place as America’s next commander-in-chief.

“There has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” Obama said Wednesday night to a cheering crowd of more than 20,000 inside the Wells Fargo Center.

In 2008, I watched Obama, in Chicago’s Grant Park, stand before another cheering crowd and promise to build a brighter future for all Americans. I watched as he offered hope to those who have been ignored and overlooked; I listened to his lofty words about faith, resiliency and change.

I listened Wednesday to Obama offering more words of hope to a sometimes racially-fractured nation.

Obama said a lot has changed since 2008. He’s right. America has made tremendous strides under his leadership — and the nation has also experienced serious racially-challenged setbacks. But Obama can’t manage or prevent racial hatred. He can lobby for change, but he can’t pressure people to embrace people of color.

And still, correctly, Obama maintains the same level of enthusiasm for America today as he did in 2008.

“The America I know is full of courage and optimism and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous,” Obama said.

“We’ve still got more work to do,” the president said. “More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who hasn’t yet felt the progress of these past seven-and-a-half years.”

And so Obama ended his last speech to a Democratic convention — as president — the way he started his journey: with hope, fire in his belly, and with a bit of old-school oratory.

His job on Wednesday was to rally the faithful around Clinton’s candidacy and urge Democrats to vote. And he did it well.

“She will finish the job — and she’ll do it without resorting to torture or banning entire religions from entering our country,” Obama said of Clinton.

“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,” he added.

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SOURCE: The Root – Michael H. Cottman