PHILADELPHIA — President Barack Obama said Wednesday America is already great and does not need some “self declared savior” like Donald Trump to fix it, as he told Americans only Hillary Clinton is fit to succeed him.
Obama said Americans are not a frightened, fearful people living in a “divided crime scene” as envisioned by Trump, and can only solve their problems by coming together and being faithful to the nation’s founding ideals.
“Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way,” Obama said on the third night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
In what could be the final chance of his presidency to address millions of Americans during prime-time, Obama said no one is more qualified to be in the Oval Office than Hillary Clinton, placing his legacy in the hands of his one-time bitter rival.
“Nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office,” Obama said. “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. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.”
He added that no one, including himself and former President Bill Clinton, has ever been more qualified for the office.
“We’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands,” Obama said.
Earlier in the night, Vice President Joe Biden offered powerful criticism of Republican nominee Donald Trump, painting him as completely unqualified for the presidency.
“He is trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarky,” Biden said. “This guy doesn’t have a clue about the Middle Class. Not a clue.”
The crowd roared with approval, chanting “not a clue.”
Biden slammed Trump as unable to handle the complexities of a dangerous world.
“No major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security,” he said.
Biden used his address on the third night of the Democratic National Convention to appeal to middle-class voters, a group Clinton is under pressure to win over. The vice president sought to convince average Americans that Clinton understands their concerns. Leveraging his blue-collar bona fides, he argued Clinton is intimately familiar with the economic disenfranchisement that helped power Trump’s rise.
‘Hillary gets it’
“Everybody knows she is smart,” Biden said. “Everybody knows she is tough. But I know what she is passionate about. I know Hillary. Hillary understands. Hillary gets it.”
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, said he was not a Democrat or a Republican but appeared at the convention to demolish his fellow billionaire’s reputation in business.
“I believe we need a president who is a problem-solver, not a bomb-thrower,” said Bloomberg.
He quipped that unlike Trump, he didn’t start his business empire with a “million dollar check from my father.”
“Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off,” Bloomberg said. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us!”
“I am a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.”
He went on: “The bottom line is: Trump is a risky, reckless, and radical choice. And we can’t afford to make that choice!”
The night of the DNC also offered a big opportunity for Tim Kaine, Clinton’s vice presidential pick, who introduced himself to an audience unfamiliar with his years as a governor and senator in Virginia.
Noting that his son, Nat, deployed with the US Marines this week, Kaine quickly slammed Trump for raising the possibility that his administration wouldn’t always defend NATO allies.
Kaine said his son would “protect and defend the very NATO allies that Donald Trump now says he wants to abandon.”
Kaine made a case that Americans should trust Clinton.
“I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life,” Kaine said. “You know who I don’t trust? Donald Trump.”
“You cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Not one word,” Kaine said, slamming the GOP nominee as a “slick talking, empty promising, self promoting, one man wrecking crew.”
He also noted the presence at the convention of his father-in-law, former Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton, a Republican who helped desegregate the state’s schools.
The night’s underlying theme is security — national security, economic security and safety from gun crime.
Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and secretary of defense, said that Clinton is uniquely qualified to be President and lashed out at Trump over his apparent call on Russian intelligence agencies to help find emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her private server.
“Today, Donald Trump today once again took Russia’s side. He asked the Russians to interfere in American politics. Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump, who wants to be president of the United States, is asking one of our adversaries to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States of America to affect an election,” Panetta said.
“As someone who was responsible for protecting our nation from cyberattacks, it’s inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible,” he said. “Donald Trump cannot become our commander-in-chief.”
During his remarks, some Bernie Sanders supporters began to chant “No More War!” but were drowned out by counter chants of “USA, USA.”
Soon after Panetta spoke, the Trump campaign released a statement criticizing the former defense secretary’s stance.
“It is alarming that Leon Panetta would, through his silence, excuse Hillary Clinton’s enablement of foreign espionage with her illegal email scheme and her corrupt decision to then destroy those emails and dissemble her ‘private’ server to hide her crimes from the public and authorities,” Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said. He also argued that it was Clinton who was endangering national security with her policies in the Middle East and North Africa.
The FBI recommended not to bring criminal charges against Clinton earlier this month related to her private email server.