In what’s likely to be his last appearance in Philadelphia as President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama today advocated strongly for the election of Mrs. Hillary Clinton to succeed him as commander-in-chief, while also condemning Republican nominee Mr. Donald Trump, rebuking the news media for their coverage of the campaign and reminding the public of his administration’s achievements over the last eight years, which included helping the auto industry set new records, reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil, making major investments in clean energy, bringing to fruition the Affordable Care Act and killing well-known terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
“The steps we’ve taking are paying off… we shown progress is possible,” Mr. Obama, who acknowledged this afternoon’s speech at Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be his last time in Philadelphia as President, said.
Mr. Obama spent significant time drawing a contrast between Mrs. Clinton, who last week was diagnosed with pneumonia, and Mr. Trump, who has yet to release his full medical records but who many has said suffers from some sort of mental illness. Moreover, the president presented to his adoring audience a binary: continue forward with a qualified leader who’s both “steady and true,” or risk our democracy vanishing under an authoritarian-type personality who’s neither qualified nor steady.
“We take for granted what’s steady and true,” stated Mr. Obama, who later added that there’s no man or woman more qualified to serve as president than Mrs. Clinton, who, after campaigning rigorously against him in 2007, served as secretary of state during his first term.
“I am glad to hear Barack Obama say the things he said about this campaign and Hillary,” said Philadelphia City Councilwoman Ms. Jannie Blackwell, who spoke exclusively to Techbook Online following the rally. Hillary has proven she’s qualified, Trump, however, hasn’t proven he has an agenda, the councilwoman added.
Mr. Trump was portrayed by Mr. Obama today in a familiar frame: vague and exhibiting the behavior of a reality-television star, not a presidential candidate.
“Donald Trump says stuff everyday that’s disqualifying,” Mr. Obama said while lamenting the not-so-stellar job done by the news media, which, because of the habitual nature of Mr. Trump’s lying, has just given up and, according to the president, accepted what appears to be the new normal.
Mr. Rodney Muhammad, President of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP, said Mr. Trump has surely gotten a “free pass” from the news media, which has been “bullied” into submission by the Republican Party.
The news media is allowing Mr. Trump to say “Putin is stronger than Obama” without pushing the businessman to further elaborate on how he came to that conclusion, Mr. Muhammad said.
Mr. Obama noted Mr. Trump’s praise for Russia’s Mr. Vladimir Putin, saying the Republican Party used to be against authoritarians but now their nominee is among the lauders of such governance.
“This ain’t Abraham Lincoln’s Republican party,” remarked Mr. Obama
Criticism of the New York City real-estate mogul wasn’t in short supply today. Mr. Muhammad, though he wouldn’t say the Republican presidential nominee is a racist, did assert that Mr. Trump is attempting to revoke the kind of America that elected Mr. Obama.
“He’s one of the very people who personifies why we need a civil rights agenda,” Mr. Muhammad told me minutes after Mr. Obama, who will remain in Washington D.C after he leaves the White House, walked off the stage.
Mr. Obama also refrained from labeling Mr. Trump a racist though he did characterize him as an elitist, someone who for years has attempted to distance himself from working-class people.
Uplifting and protecting working-class and poor people is what Councilwoman Blackwell hopes will be among Mrs. Clinton’s priority if elected. More specifically, the councilwoman, known for her advocacy on behalf of the homeless, wants the federal government to secure housing for moderate and low-income folk. It is the opinion of the councilwoman that the federal government can eradicate homelessness and it’s been her hope that she’s still working in politics when it happens.
Homelessness is just one of the many issues that haven’t gotten much air time during this campaign due the news media, which Mr. Obama implied was treating the election process like reality-television, making the coverage of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, her potential sickness and Mr. Trump’s perceived bigotry a priority. Public education, noted Councilwoman Blackwell, has also been largely absent from forums and candidate interviews, as have in-depth looks at the economy and foreign policy, said State Rep. Dwight Evans.
“We have serious challenges as a country and that’s where our focus should be,” Rep. Evans stated.
Mrs. Clinton, though she hasn’t spoken much about public education, homelessness and other issues raised by local officials today, was presented to the public by Mr. Obama as the only politician who can understand and tackle the serious challenges the country faces. Mr. Obama, in his own words, isn’t just going through the motions but rather he really, really, really, wants to see Mrs. Clinton succeed him.
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Photo courtesy of the author.