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Obama argues for a third term, with Hillary Clinton in charge

President Barack Obama lashed out at Donald Trump in a speech on behalf of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night.
President Barack Obama lashed out at Donald Trump in a speech on behalf of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night. AP

The night before it was the husband who had cheated on her. This night, it was the political rival who had snatched her party’s nomination, and possibly the presidency, from her.

To be clear, after winning the 2008 election, President Barack Obama also put Hillary Clinton in the most prestigious job he could offer and now he makes it very clear that he wants her to succeed him.

The night after Bill Clinton roused a crowd by pitching the case for his wife, the current president held back nothing in making the argument for Hillary Clinton.

“She’s been there for us, even if we haven’t always noticed,” Obama said. “You’ve got to get in the arena with her.”

America’s first black president put his considerable speaking talents to work Wednesday arguing for the country to elect its first woman president. (The glass ceiling thing doesn’t seem to deliver a powerful punch in this election. Maybe it’s because the race barrier had always seemed more daunting. Maybe it’s that she was a first lady first. Perhaps it doesn’t feel quite so historic because it’s happened elsewhere. Heck, the United Kingdom is already on its second female prime minister.)

Still, Obama sang her praises and said that when they were rivals he marveled at her skills.

“It was tough, because Hillary’s tough,” he said. “I was worn out!”

A third Clinton term would also essentially mark a third Obama term — and a decision by the country’s voters that Obama had done well enough to keep Democrats in charge of the executive branch for four more years.

It’s also a narrow line to watch. Republicans also look at a Clinton win as a third Obama term. New Jersey Gov. Chris

Christie, a runner-up in the Trump veepstakes, said as much at the GOP convention a week ago.

“We know exactly what four years of Hillary Clinton will bring: all the failures of the Obama years, but with less charm and more lies,” Christie said.

Obama spoke with partisanship and passion, leaving no equivocation.

“I ask you to carry her, the same way you carried me,” he told an adoring arena.

Remember, you know him as President Obama because as Sen. Obama in 2004 he talked about what red states and blue states had in common at an earlier Democratic convention.

He put a bookend on that speech Wednesday, revisiting his argument that the country is stronger for bringing people together people in a way Obama argued that Trump pulls it apart.

Then he tore a little himself, painting Trump as a lightweight in over his head.

“The Donald is not really a plans guy. He’s not really a facts guy, either.” Obama said. “The American dream is something no wall will ever contain. These are the things Hillary knows.”

And when his talk of Trump drew boos intended for the Republican maverick, Obama tried to channel that anger toward action, telling Democrats that they needed to get in on the election. “No, no. Don’t boo, vote.”

By the speech’s end, he had clearly handed the baton to Clinton.

“The Democratic Party is in good hands,” he said. “My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything. For all that we’ve done, there’s still much I want to do.”

Scott Canon: 816-234-4754, @ScottCanon

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