November 6, 2016

At a Rally in Florida, President Obama Praises Hillary Clinton For Putting People Before Politics, Urges Floridians to Vote So All Americans Can Rise Together

Laying out the high stakes of this election at a rally in Kissimmee, Florida, President Barack Obama told young voters that “it’s what we do together” that makes “America exceptional and great,” and Hillary Clinton is the only candidate that will bring all Americans together and lift them up. President Obama praised Hillary for embracing America’s diversity as a strength, recognizing that progress requires compromise, and promoting dignity, courtesy, and respect for all Americans. Obama went on to criticize Donald Trump as “uniquely unqualified to be president” and “temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief,” citing his disrespectful and hateful rhetoric towards minorities, women, and people with disabilities as a irreconcilable lack of character.

President Obama also condemned Republicans for the unprecedented gridlock they have caused, stating that “gridlock has been happening because you got folks like Marco Rubio who decide to oppose anything that’s good for the country if a Democrat” supports it. Consequently, the president stressed the necessity for voters to elect Democrats down the ballot, like U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy, to ensure Hillary has a Congress that will promote progress and put people before politics. Praising Murphy for his support of women’s rights, comprehensive immigration reform, and climate change legislation, the president stressed that “our values are at stake” in this election.

“The most important office in a democracy isn’t President. It’s citizen,” Obama said as he discussed the importance of citizens voting to make sure their voices are heard. Empowering young voters to recognize the significant role they will have in determining “the character of this country,” President Obama urged voters to spend the next two days working tirelessly to elect Hillary Clinton and Patrick Murphy to “reject the mean-spirited politics that would take us backwards” and instead, vote for candidates that will “put you ahead of politics, who are ready to do work and move this country forward.”

Obama’s remarks, as transcribed, are below:

“Hello, Florida. Are you fired up?  Are you ready to go?”

AUDIENCE MEMBER: “We love you.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “I love you back.  It is good to be back. A couple of people I want thank. First of all, my favorite and, more importantly, Michelle’s favorite, give it up for the great Stevie Wonder.  I was going to come up and sing with Stevie  but Stevie explained that this was designed to get votes  not lose votes, so we decided not to do that. I also want to thank one of the finest public servants Florida’s ever known and one of the greatest senators in the country, Bill Nelson.  And I want to thank your next United States senator, Patrick Murphy.

“Two days, Florida. Two days to decide the future of this country. And I need you to go vote.  I need your help to help finish what we started eight years ago.  Think about when I – where we were when I last visited Florida in the final days of the 2008 campaign: living through two long wars, about to enter into the worst economic crisis in 80 years. Because of you, we have been able to turn the page. We fought back. We avoided a depression. We restored the housing market. We helped to make the financial system work again. We raised incomes, poverty fell, created 15.5 million new jobs, unemployment rate 4.9 percent, near a nine-year low. Twenty million Americans have health insurance.  We kicked our addition to foreign oil, doubled our production of renewable energy, became a world leader in climate change, oh, and by the way, gas is two bucks a gallon.

We brought home more of our men and women in uniform. We took out Osama bin Laden.  High school graduation rates all-time high, college enrollment at an all-time high. We helped to make sure that in all 50 states, people have the freedom to marry who they love.  No wonder I got gray hair. We’ve been working hard.  And most of all, over these last eight years as I’ve traveled all across 50 states, as I’ve traveled to Puerto Rico  as I traveled all around the country, I’ve seen what has made America great. I have seen you, the American people.

I got a hype man here.

I have seen Americans of every party and every faith who know that we are stronger together, doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, men or women, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, folks with disabilities, gay, straight – all of us are pledging allegiance to the red, white, and blue, all of us trying to make life better for our kids and our grandkids and generations to follow. And I will tell you, there is only one candidate in this race who has devoted her life to lifting up that better America, and that’s the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

Now, here’s the thing though, Florida. All the progress we’ve made goes out the window if we don’t win this election, and we win this election if we win Florida.  If we win Florida, it’s a wrap.  We win Florida, it’s over. So we’ve got to work our hearts out this week, these next two days, as if our future depends on it – because our future depends on it.  And I know that sometimes at the end of a campaign there’s been so much negativity and so much noise and so much distraction and so much innuendo and rumors and false statements, and at a certain point, you feel like you just want to tune it all out. Some of you all saw Saturday Night Live yesterday?  They just decided, that’s it, we can’t do it anymore, then ran outside. And sometimes you feel like that. But I want you to focus on this election and its candidates because the truth is the choice couldn’t be simpler or clearer. On the one hand you have somebody who may be the most qualified person ever to run for the presidency. On the other hand, you’ve got the Donald. [Booing.] Don’t boo.”


PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Vote. Don’t boo.”


PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Vote. Don’t boo.”


PRESIDENT OBAMA: “He can’t hear your boos, but he can hear your vote.  There is a reason that so many Republicans, so many conservatives have denounced Donald Trump, even if sometimes they said, ‘Well, but we’re going to vote for him anyway.’ That is because Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president, temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief. Look, if you want to keep our military the greatest fighting force in the world, if you want America to be strong and respected around the world, we cannot have a commander-in-chief who suggests that it’s okay to torture people or to ban entire religions from our country or insults POWs or attacks a Gold Star mom or talks down our troops.

Even a Republican senator said we cannot afford to give the nuclear codes to somebody so erratic. Think about that. We’re talking about somebody who has the nuclear codes if they’re elected president. Now, you may have heard that I – this was just announced. I just read it so I can’t confirm it’s true, but apparently his campaign has taken away his Twitter.  In the last two days, they had so little confidence in his self-control, they said we’re just going to take away your Twitter.  Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle the nuclear codes.  If somebody starts tweeting at three in the morning because SNL made fun of you  then you can’t handle the nuclear codes.

If you believe that America’s stronger when everybody does their part and everybody pays their fair share, then you can’t have the first candidate in decades who refuses to release any tax returns, who hasn’t paid his federal income tax in years, who stiffs small businesses who’ve done work for him, stiffs workers who’ve done work for him. That’s not being a champion of working people, that’s exploiting working people. If you cherish our Constitution, you can’t elect a president who threatens to shut down the free press, throws his – threatens to throw his opponents in jail, discriminates against people of different faiths. That’s not what our Constitution allows. There may be other countries who do that. Maybe he admires Vladimir Putin and some other folks who think that’s okay, but this is the United States of America. We can’t have that.   U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A. We believe in the Constitution here in the United States of America. We believe in the Bill of Rights.”

PARTICIPANT: “Sí, se puede.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Sí, se puede.  If you believe that we’re stronger together, we cannot elect a president who vilifies minorities, who mocks Americans with disabilities, who calls immigrants criminals and rapists. We can’t elect a president who brags that because he’s famous, he can get away with stuff that looks like the definition of sexual assault or calls women pigs and dogs and slobs, grades them on a scale of 1 to 10. I’ve got two daughters, and they are magnificent because my wife is magnificent.  And we’ve taught them that they can do anything a man can do and then some.  And our friends who have sons that taught their sons to respect women and respect girls and judge them on the content of the character, not what they look like  and not to demean them and put them down, that’s what I want whoever’s in the Oval Office to do, is to help show all our girls, all our boys what it means to respect women.

So this election should not be a close choice. And the fact that – look, let’s admit it, there are people who are supporting this other guy – is an indication of the degree to which stuff that’s not normal people have been treating like it’s normal. I mean, we hear people justify some of this comment, some of his comments.”

PARTICIPANT: “Mr. President, that’s right.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Hold on a second.”

PARTICIPANT: “Mr. President, we love you.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “We – I love you, too, but hold on one second.  We hear people saying that, somehow, it’s okay because he doesn’t mean it or they say, ‘Well, this is just locker room talk’ or they say, ‘Well, yeah, what he says is terrible, but once he gets into office, it will be different.’ Let me tell you something. I’ve been in this office now almost eight years.  And here is what I can tell you. Here is what I can tell you. Who you are, what you are does not change when you take office. It just magnifies who you are.  It just shines a spotlight on who you are.  If you disrespect women before you became president, you’ll do so once you’re president.  If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers before you are president, then you’ll accept their support after you’re president. If you disrespect the Constitution when you’re running for president, then you are even more likely to disrespect it, even when you swear to uphold that Constitution when you take the oath of office.

Look, I am a proud Democrat, but  – but we’re not Democrats or Republicans first. We’re Americans first.  I’ve got Republican friends. They don’t think or act the way he does, which is why they’re not planning to vote for him. Our values are at stake. Just a small, just a little example. I was in Fayetteville. Some of you may have seen this.  And it was a packed hall. And a Trump supporter stood up with a sign. He was an elderly gentleman, had a military uniform on. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying. And everybody in the crowd started shouting him down and booing. And I said to everybody, ‘You know what? Just settle down. First of all, he’s not doing any harm. Second of all, he’s elderly. And, third of all, we have free speech in this country.’  And I – and, fourth of all, I said, don’t boo. Vote.’

Just a few hours later, Trump gets up on stage in front of his crowd. This is just a few hours later. And he said, ‘Do you see how President Obama yelled at a Trump supporter in his audience?’  Just made it up, didn’t just make it up but said the exact opposite of what had happened with impunity. There was tape. There was a video. And some of the press called him out on it, but the point is that he thought it was okay just to lie in front of all his supporters on television, wasn’t even trying to be sneaky about it.  And but that says something about how unacceptable behavior has become normal. And that’s why he is uniquely unqualified to hold this job.  And the good news is all of you are uniquely qualified to make sure he doesn’t get the job.  Florida, you’ve just got to vote.

And the good news also is you don’t have to just vote against somebody. You’ve got somebody to vote for.  We’ve got somebody who is worthy of your vote because she is smart, and she is steady, and she is tested, probably the most qualified person ever to run for this office, our next president, Hillary Clinton. Hillary. This is somebody who has dedicated her life to making this country better.

Think about how she got her start. While Donald Trump and his developer dad were being sued by the Justice Department for denying housing to African American families, Hillary was going undercover from school to school to make sure minority kids were getting equal education.  She has not stopped fighting for justice and equality ever since. Her heart’s in the right place, works hard every day. I know. I ran against her.  And it was tiring because she worked so hard. I benefitted from it because she came to work for me, and she was there in the room when we were making tough decisions, when we were deciding whether to go after bin Laden. She circled the globe tirelessly as Secretary of State, earned the respect of world leaders.  Her efforts weren’t always flashy. Folks didn’t always appreciate them here at home, but she made me a better president. She made this country stronger.  She understands the challenges we face.

And, by the way, when things don’t go her way, she doesn’t whine. She doesn’t complain, doesn’t talk about things being rigged, just works harder, comes back stronger, come back better. She’s like the  – she’s like the Energizer bunny. She just like keeps on going.  She will be a outstanding president, especially if she gets some help, which is why you’ve got to also vote for Patrick Murphy for United States Senate.  [Chants of ‘Patrick.’]

One thing about being president, you’ve got to have allies in Congress.  Unlike his opponent, Marco Rubio  – don’t boo. Oh, don’t. Oh, no. Wait. You’re supposed to vote. Patrick actually shows up to work, puts you ahead of politics. He’s fought to make sure Planned Parenthood is still around to provide healthcare to people.  He’s fought for comprehensive immigration reform. He accepts the science behind climate change, brought Democrats and Republicans together to fund Everglades restoration.  There’s one other big difference between Patrick and Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio supports Donald Trump. Now, keep in mind Marco a while back, when he was running against Donald, called him a dangerous con artist who spent his career sticking it to working people. He tweeted ‘Friends don’t let friends vote for con artists.’  Guess who just voted for Trump a few days ago.  Marco Rubio. So a) that means he doesn’t have any good friends.  B) it means that, even though he knows Trump is unqualified, even though he knows he’s a con artist, he still voted for him because it was politically expedient. So if you want a senator who will say anything, do anything, be anybody just to get elected, then that’s your guy. If you want a senator who will show up and work for you and tell you the truth, then vote for Patrick Murphy and give Hillary some help.

It’s not enough just to vote for Hillary. You can’t stick her with a Republican Congress that behaves the way they’ve been behaving with me.  I mean, we were about to go into a Great Depression. By the way, because there had been a Republican administration that had created a whole bunch of problems, we were coming in to clean it up. And they refused to lift a finger, said no to everything we said we would do. And now they want to take credit for like the auto industry being saved. No. They weren’t there. They said no. Run back the tape. Instead, what they’ve done is to practice unprecedented dysfunction in Washington. And they say now that they’re going to do the same if Hillary wins, promising years of hearings, years of investigations, years of shutdowns, more obstruction, more repeal votes.

Marco Rubio said he would not have supported the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an outstanding jurist, first Latina on the Bench  proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, by all accounts doing an outstanding job. He would not have voted for her. Now he and his Republican colleagues are threatening to block all Supreme Court justices.

Okay, we need a medic. They’ll be all right. Don’t worry. People fall down when you’re standing up this long. Everybody bend their knees real quick.  There you go. Do a little exercise. They’ll be okay. Just give them some room.

So now they’re threatening to block all nominees. And they’re suggest they might impeach Hillary – they don’t know what for yet, but they’re thinking about it. You know what? That’s not how this democracy’s supposed to work. If a Democrat was threatening to do that, I would say that’s wrong. It’s not any better when a Republican decides to do it. Gridlock is not some mysterious fog that descends on Washington. It’s not both sides being equally wrong. Gridlock has been happening because you got folks like Marco Rubio who decide to oppose anything that’s good for the country if a Democrat opposes [sic] it. You want some more endless gridlock? Vote for Republicans. You want an America that can do better, that can put people back to work, that can make sure that young people can go to college, that can provide childcare for the single mom, that will raise the minimum wage, that will make sure that we’ve got paid family leave? Then you need to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.  You got to vote for Hillary.  You got to vote for Patrick.  People who will put you ahead of politics, who are ready to do work and move this country forward.

So here’s the bottom line. Here’s the bottom line. There is something more fundamental at stake in this election than any policy, any plan. It’s about the character of this country. Who are we? What do we stand for? What do we project around the world? When Hillary was young, her mom taught her the Methodist creed: Do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can for as long as you can.  That’s what she believes. That’s the idea she believes she can summon from all of us in this country. That’s what America’s about.

You know what makes America great, the reason people from all around the world have looked up to us and want to come here? It’s not because of the size of our military. It’s not because of our wealth. It’s because this country was founded for the sake of an idea. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. You don’t have to be born into wealth and privilege in this country to succeed.  You don’t have to look a certain way or have a certain last name to be able to provide for your family. That’s what drove patriots to fight a revolution. That’s why our GIs fought fascism and communism. That’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, marchers to cross that bridge in Selma, workers to organize for collective bargaining and better wages. That’s what makes America exceptional and great.

It’s not about what somebody on high will do for us. It’s what we do together.  From the bottom up. Citizens, self-governing, helping to move this country forward. And Hillary understands that. She knows our democracy’s big. It’s diverse. We don’t demonize each other all the time. Progress requires compromise. She knows that. She knows that none of us are perfect, not even Presidents. But we should try to conduct ourselves with the basic values of decency, and courtesy, and dignity, and respecting other people, and being big-hearted, and knowing that this country has given so many breaks, you should give something back. That we should look out for all kids, not just our own kids.

So I know a lot of you may be cynical or fed up about politics, and this election’s been a tough one. But you have the power to reject the mean-spirited politics that would take us backwards. The most important office in a democracy isn’t President. It’s citizen.  You have the chance to make sure that this country goes in a better direction. You have the chance to elect somebody who’s spent her entire life believing in this democracy. You have the chance to elect the first female President, an example for our daughters and our sons.  You have the chance to shape history. Don’t let that chance slip away.

Don’t fall for those who tell you your vote doesn’t matter. Don’t fall for this idea that all politicians are the same. They’re not. None of them are perfect, but they’re not all the same. Some of them are a lot worse. Some of them are better. Some of them will look out for you. Some of them, well, I can’t say what they’ll do to you.

So if you’ve been marching for criminal justice, you got to have a President and a Congress who actually wants to disrupt the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails.  If you’ve been marching for the environment, you got to have a President and a Congress that believes in science and will protect this planet. If you want more good jobs and a higher minimum wage, you can’t just sit there and complain. You got to vote.  If you care about immigration reform or helping Puerto Rico get back on its feet, you got to vote.

You know, over these last 8 years, a lot of things have happened. But I can tell unequivocally, without a doubt, with data to back it up, that this country is a lot better off now than it was when I came into office.  I can prove it. The numbers don’t lie. And so I want you to understand that that would not have happened had it not been for the votes you made back in ‘08. It wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the votes you made in 2012. You have proof that your vote matters.  And I may not be on the ballot this time, but everything we’ve done has been on the ballot.  Justice is on the ballot.  Fairness is on the ballot.  Looking after working people is on the ballot.  Higher wages is on the ballot.  Protecting the environment is on the ballot. Treating people fairly is on the ballot. Civil rights is on the ballot.  Our democracy’s on the ballot.

Hillary Clinton, she’ll build on the progress we’ve made. But you have to vote. Then you got to get your friends voting, your cousins voting, your neighbors voting, your coworkers voting. Cousin Pookie’s got to get in the – get him off the couch. He’s got to vote.  And when you vote, America is transformed. When you vote, we cannot lose. When you vote, we reject fear. When you vote, we embrace hope.  Choose hope.  Choose hope.  Choose hope.  Choose hope.  Choose hope.  Vote.  Vote.  Elect Hillary Clinton!  Elect Patrick Murphy!  Let’s continue this amazing journey that we started and show the world why America’s the greatest nation on Earth. I love you Florida!  Let’s finish the job!”


For Immediate Release, November 6, 2016