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President Obama Addresses the Democratic Convention; Discussion of Obama Speech. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 27, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:09] BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We put policies in place to help students with loans, protect consumers from fraud, cut veterans' homelessness almost in half, and through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.


OBAMA: By so many measures our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started; and through every victory and every setback, I've insisted that change is never easy and never quick, and we wouldn't meet all of our challenges in one term or one presidency, or even in one lifetime. So tonight I'm here to tell you that, yes, we've still got more work to do. 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 world class education for everyone else who has not yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years.

We need to keep making our streets safer and criminal justice fair and our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. We're not done perfecting our union or living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal, all of us are free are in the eyes of god.


OBAMA: That work involves a big choice this November. It's fair to say this is not your typical election. It's not just a choice between parties or policies, the usual debates between left and right. This is a more fundamental choice about who we are as a people and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.

Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward, but what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn't particularly Republican, and it sure wasn't conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems, just the fanning of resentment and blame and anger and hate and that is not the America I know.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: The America I know is full of courage and optimism and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties about paying the bills and protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock and worry about racial divisions. We are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families, who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities that we had. All of that is real.

We are challenged to do better, to be better, but as I travel this country, through all 50 states, as I've rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I have also seen more than anything is what is right with America.


OBAMA: I see people working hard and starting businesses. I see people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff,

[23:05:01] doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be; --


OBAMA: -- and most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together; Black, White, Latino, Asian, Native American, young, old, gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love. That's what I see; that's the America I know.


OBAMA: There is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, has devoted her life to that future, a mother and a grandmother who would do anything to help our children thrive; a leader with real plans to break down barriers and blast through glass ceilings and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American; the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.


OBAMA: Now, eight years ago -

OBAMA: That's right. Let me tell you, eight years ago, you may remember Hillary and I were rival for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough because Hillary was tough. I was worn out.

OBAMA: She was doing everything I was doing, but just like Ginger Rogers, it was backwards in heels.


OBAMA: And every time I thought I might -- every time I thought I might have had the race won, Hillary just came back stronger. But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team --


OBAMA: -- and she was a little surprised; some of my staff was surprised but ultimately she said yes because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us.


OBAMA: And for four years, -- for four years I had a front row seat to her intelligence, her judgment and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn't for praise; it wasn't for attention. That she was in this for everyone who needs a champion.


OBAMA: I understood that after all these years she has never forgotten just who she's fighting for.

Hillary's still got the tenacity that she had as a young woman, working at the Children's Defense Fund, going door to door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.


OBAMA: She's still got the heart she showed as our First Lady, working with Congress to help push through a children's health insurance program that, to this day, protects millions of kids.


OBAMA: She's still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11, which is why as a Senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders, to help the City rebuild, why, as Secretary of State, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out Bin Laden.


OBAMA: You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. You can read about it, you can study it, but until you've sat at that desk, you don't know what it's like to manage a global crisis or send

[23:10:03] young people to war. 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, what's at stake for the working family, for the senior citizen or the small business owner, for the soldier, for the veteran; and even in the midst of crisis, she listens to people and she keeps her cool and she 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.


OBAMA: That is the Hillary I know; that's the Hillary I've come to admire, and that's why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, nobody, more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.


OBAMA: I hope you don't mind, Bill, but I was just telling the truth, man; and by the way, in case you're wondering about her judgment, take a look at her choice of running mate.


OBAMA: Tim Kaine is as good a man, as humble and as committed a public servant as anybody that I know. I know his family. I love Ann. I love their kids. He will be a great vice president. He will make Hillary a better president, just like my dear friend and brother, Joe Biden, has made me a better president.


OBAMA: Now, Hillary has real plans to address the concerns she's heard from you on the campaign trail. She's got specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in their company's profits, to help put kids in preschool and put students through college without taking on a ton of debt. That's what leaders do.

And then there's Donald Trump.


OBAMA: Don't boo; vote.


OBAMA: The Donald -

The Donald is not really a plans guy. He's not really a facts guy either.


OBAMA: He calls himself a business guy, which is true; but I have to say I know plenty of businessmen and women who have achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people feeling like they got cheated.


OBAMA: Does anyone really believe that a guy who spends his 70 years on this earth showing no regard for working people, is suddenly going to be your champion, your voice? If so, you should vote for him. But if you're someone who is truly concerned about paying your bills, if you're really concerned about pocketbook issues and seeing the economy grow and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn't even close. if you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages and better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.


OBAMA: And if you're rightly concerned about who's going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world, well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world, not just by leaders but by the people they serve.

[23:15:01] I have to say this: people outside of the United States do not understand what's going on in this election.


OBAMA: They really don't; because they know Hillary. They've seen her work. She's worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. She has the judgment and the experience and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It's not new to her.

Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out their leaders, taking back territory and I know Hillary won't relent until ISIL is destroyed. She will finish the job, and she will do it without resorting to torture or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit and she is ready to be the next commander-in- chief.


OBAMA: Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently he doesn't know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.


OBAMA: He's suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights.


OBAMA: He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies, that stood by our side after 9/11, that they have to pay up if they want our protection. Well, America's promises do not come with a price tag; we meet our commitments; we bear our burdens. That's one of the reasons why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago when I took office.


OBAMA: America is already great. America is already strong and I promise you, our strength, our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump. In fact, it doesn't depend on any one person, and that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election, the meaning of our democracy.

Ronald Reagan called America a "shining city on a hill." Donald Trump calls it a divided crime scene that only he can fix. it doesn't matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they've been in decades because he's not actually offering any real solutions to those issues. he's just offering slogans and he's offering fear. He's betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election -


OBAMA: -- and that's another bet that Donald Trump will lose.


OBAMA: And the reason he'll lose it is because he's selling the American people short. We're not a fragile people. We're not a frightful people. 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. We don't look to be ruled.


OBAMA: Our power - our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that we, the people, can form a more perfect union."


OBAMA: That's who we are; that's our birth right, the capacity to shape our own destiny.


OBAMA: That's what drove - that's what drove patriots to choose revolution

[23:20:02] over tyranny, and our GI's to liberate a continent. It's what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot; and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma; and workers are to organize and fight for collective bargaining and better wages.


OBAMA: America's never been about what one person says he'll do for us. It's about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard and slow, and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government. And that's what Hillary Clinton understands. She knows that this is a big, diverse country. She has seen it. She's traveled. She's talked to folks, and she understands that most issues are rarely black and white. She understands that even when you're 100-percent right, getting things done requires compromise; that democracy doesn't work if we constantly demonize each other.


OBAMA: She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other and see ourselves in each other and fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may sometimes seem.


OBAMA: Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn't so different than what a brave cop's family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work; that we can honor police and treat every community fairly. We can do that.


OBAMA: And she knows - she knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn't making race relations worse, it's creating the possibility for people of goodwill to join and make things better.

Hillary knows we can insist on a lawful and orderly immigration system, while still seeing and their toiling parents as loving families, not criminals or rapists; families that came here for the same reason our forbearers

came, to work and to study and to make a better life in a place where we can talk and worship and love as we please. She knows their dream is quintessentially American, and the American dream is something no wall will ever contain.


OBAMA: These are the things that Hillary knows. It can be frustrating, this business of democracy; trust me, I know. Hillary knows, too.

When the other side refuses to compromise, progress can stall. People are hurt by the inaction. Supporters can grow impatient and worry that you're not trying hard enough, that you've maybe sold out. But I promise you, when we keep at it, when we change enough minds, when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen and if you doubt that, just ask the 20 million more people who have health care today; just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.


OBAMA: Democracy works, America, but we got to want it, not just during an election year but all the days in between.


OBAMA: So if you agree that there's too much inequality in our economy and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders supporters have been during this election.


[23:25:03] OBAMA: We all need to get out and vote for Democrats, up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.


OBAMA: That's right, feel the Bern.


OBAMA: If you want more "justice" in the justice system, then we've all got to vote, not just for a president but for mayors and sheriffs and states attorneys and state legislators. That's where the criminal law is made and we've got to work with police and protesters until laws changed. That's how democracy works.


OBAMA: If you want to fight climate change, we've got to engage not only young people on college campuses, we've got to reach out to the coal miner who is worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.


OBAMA: If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we've got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, to agree on things like background checks, to be just as vocal and just as determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral that we hold. That is how change happens.


OBAMA: Look, Hillary's got her share of critics. She has been caricatured by the right and by some on the left. She has been accused of everything you can imagine and some things that you cannot, --


OBAMA: -- but she knows that's what happens when you're under a microscope for 40 years.


OBAMA: She knows that sometimes during those 40 years she's made mistakes, just like I have, just like we all do. That's what happens when we try. That's what happens when you're the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described, "not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines but someone who is actually in the arena, --


OBAMA: -- "who strives valiantly, who errs, but who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement." Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena.


OBAMA: 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. You've got to get in the arena with her because democracy isn't a spectator sport. America isn't about, yes, he will; it's about yes we can.


OBAMA: And we're going to carry Hillary to victory this Fall because that's what the moment demands! Yes, we can. Not yes, she can; not yes, I can. Yes, we can.


OBAMA: You know, there's been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America has lost, people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control; they tell voters there's a real America out there that must be restored. This isn't an idea, by the way, that started with Donald Trump. It's been pedaled by politicians for a long time, probably from the start of our republic; and it's got me thinking about the story I told you twelve years ago tonight, about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up.


OBAMA: See, my grandparents, they came from the Heartland.


[23:30:05] PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: See, my grandparents, they came from they came from the Heartland. Their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. I don't know if they had their birth certificates but -

[Laughter and Applause]

OBAMA: -- and they were they were Scotch-Irish mostly, farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil rig workers, hearty, small- town folk. Some were Democrats but a lot of them, maybe even most of them were Republicans, the "Party of Lincoln."

My grandparents explained that folks in these parts, they didn't like show-offs. They didn't admire braggarts or bullies. They didn't respect mean-spiritedness or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work, kindness, courtesy, humility, responsibility, helping each other out. That's what they believed in, true things; things that last; the things we try to teach our kids.

What my grandparents understood was that these values weren't limited to Kansas. They weren't limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii. They could travel even to the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life, trying to apply those values.

My grandparents knew these values weren't reserved for one race. They could be passed down to a half-Kenyon grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter. In fact, they were the same values Michele's parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids, living in a bungalow on the South-side of Chicago. They knew these values were exactly what drew Ameri -- immigrants here; and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat, yamaka, a baseball cap, or a hijab.


OBAMA: America has changed over the years, but these values that my grandparents taught me, they haven't gone anywhere. They're as strong as ever, still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what's in here. That's what matters -


OBAMA: -- and that's why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries and blend it into something uniquely our own. That's why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That's why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity forged into common service. That's why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or jihadists or home-grown demagogues, will always fail in the end.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: That is America.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: That is America, those bonds of affection, that common creed. We don't fear the future, we shape it. We embrace it, as one people, stronger [23:35:01] together than we are on our own. That's what Hillary Clinton understands; this fighter; this states woman; this mother and grandmother; this public servant; this patriot, that's the America she's fighting for.

[Cheering and Applause] [Chanting "Hillary"]

OBAMA: And that is why I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands. [Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: My time in this office, it hasn't fixed everything. As much as we've done, there's still so much I want to do. But for all the tough lessons I've had to learn, for all the places where I've fallen short, I've told Hillary, and I'll tell you, what's picked me back up every single time, it's been you, the American people.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: It's the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio, who twice almost lost everything to cancer but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost, "do not quit". It's the painting I keep in my private office, a big eyed, green owl with blue wings made by a 7-year-old girl who was taken from us in New Town, given to me by her parents so I wouldn't forget. A reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.


OBAMA: It's the small business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn't have to lay-off any of his workers in the Recession, because he said that wouldn't have been in the "spirit of America."


OBAMA: It's the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything but he appreciated that, like him, I try to "be a good dad".


OBAMA: It's the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who has learned to speak again and walk again, and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power to salute and shake my hand.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: It is every American who believed we could change this country for the better. So many of you, who'd never been involved in politics, who picked up phones and hit the streets and used the internet in amazing new ways that I didn't really understand, but made change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet and I am so proud of all the change that you made possible.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: Time and again you've picked me up, and I hope sometimes I picked you up, too.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: And tonight I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. [Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me, because you're who I was talking about twelve years ago when I talked about hope. it's been you who fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds were great, even when the road is long, hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; "The Audacity of Hope".

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: America you've vindicated that hope these past eight years and now I'm ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. So this year, in this election, I'm asking you to join me to reject cynicism and reject fear and to summon what is best in us to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.

[Cheering and Applause]

OBAMA: Thank you for this incredible journey. Let's keep it going. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.

[Cheers and Applause]

[23:40:12] [Stevie Wonder "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" Plays]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: President Obama just reminded all of us why he was twice decisively elected President of the United States during those 45 minutes, a speech that was very optimistic, a speech of hope and optimism, a strong endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. No one has ever been more qualified, Jake Tapper, he said than Hillary Clinton to be commander-in-chief.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an eloquent book end to the speech he gave 12 years ago in Boston for John Kerry's Democratic Convention, where he and America first became interested in the young State Senator from Illinois, the person who projected hope and a love of country, a real patriotism, a progressive liberal patriotism to be sure, but one who was talking about unifying the country. We heard him, first of all, make the case, that Hillary Clinton is the one to keep his progress going in his view.

He put a big shout out in there to Bernie Sanders and the Sanders supporters and all the energy they have brought to it; but most of all, you really see a contrast between the picture that the Democrats are painting of America and the picture that the Republicans are painting of an America and maybe you believe what the Republicans want, but it's a very strong contrast in deed.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you can see that he was bursting, bursting to give this speech, to deliver this message, which, to your point, he was doubling down on the hope and change thing and trying to make the point that he believes hope and change is still going to triumph over, what he made very clear was not the America that he sees that was displayed last week in Cleveland at the Republican Convention, more of a dark and stormy.

BLITZER: And he was also very, very tough on Donald Trump.

BASH: Exactly.

BLITZER: He said America is already great, America is already strong. He told the people out there, he said "don't boo," when he mentioned Donald Trump by name, and he did that several times, he said "vote." How would you rank, Jake, this speech, because we've heard him speak many times before? It's the fourth time he spoke at a Democratic National Convention. This speech was extremely powerful.

TAPPER: I mean, I have to say, especially in this room, full of people who [23:45:02] love him, people who were emotional and sad about the fact that he is leaving; you heard someone shouting out "four more years," even though, of course, that would be, constitutionally, against the law. The idea being, of course, -- I think this was one of his best speeches -

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: And, more to the point, this was a speech that really made the case that America still has work to do but it is on the right track and that is the argument he is trying to make. Most of the country thinks that the country is on the wrong track. He's saying we still have work to do but we're going in the right direction.

BASH: And the way - the way that he told the story of the America that he thinks that the United States should go back to, as opposed to -- let's face it, he was trying to suggest that Donald Trump is talking about dog whistle politics. He described the America from his Kansan grandparent as opposed to what Donald Trump puts forward as somebody who is more from Kenya than Kansas.

BLITZER: A very, very different message we heard tonight than we heard last week at the Republican -

BASH: You can say that again.

BLITZER: -- Convention in Cleveland. Anderson over to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It certainly was. Jeffrey Lord who often harkens back to Ronald Reagan, this was almost Reaganesque, in the sense of optimism, the sense of vision for the future of America.

David Axelrod, I've got to start with you. I'm not going to ask you to be a dispassionate analyst on this one, but --

AXELROD: I've got to ask dispensation from my friend Jeffrey on this one, because I love the man and I've been with him for a long time, and I walked into Boston with him 12 years ago and we've been on this wonderful journey. The reason that I was so attracted to him is because, in those big moments, he was able to rise up and speak about what is so great about this country and when the country most needed it. This was a big moment. We're in the midst of a very difficult, acrimonious campaign, and he lifted this room up and I think he lifted the country up with this speech. I'm sure, Jeffrey, you felt the same way when you heard Ronald Reagan speak.


AXELROD: So, I'm just very, very proud of him tonight.

Dan Pleiffer, you worked with him for a long time as well.

DAN PLEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean I got the opportunity to watch the speech tonight with a lot of people who began that journey with him in 2007. It was emotional to think about 12 years ago he gave the speech, changed the direction of his life and the country and about a decade ago he picked up a bunch of us to go on that ride with him.

(Inaudible) and nostalgia in the room, but like the speech, start with nostalgia but then recognized what the bigger fight is here. He could have made this a 30-minute discussion of his accomplishments, but he didn't do that. He focused on winning this election because ultimately, I think, he believes that his legacy will be cemented in one more victory.

ANDERSON: He was critical of Donald Trump but it was not in the same way that Michael Bloomberg took him down, or attempted to take him down, or Joe Biden.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Others took the bark off Donald Trump. Let me tell you what happened in this room and what was happening with this coalition. This was a tough night. There were protests in the corners. There were sit-ins outside. There were people who were still trying to digest do I belong in this party or don't I? All of those people, I've watched, through the course of that speech, calm down and be called back in by that President.

People who are hard core Bernie Sanders people talking about breaking down and crying and remembering what this fight is about. He did something -- he finally got the whole thing turned. There are going to some people who don't want to go along, who want to stay on the margins, but he reminded this party - he's great for the country. He reminded this party of what it is that we're about and it was a beautiful act of leadership, for the country but also for the people in this room. You're not going to see the same kind of fractiousness tomorrow morning that you saw earlier tonight.

BORGER: I think he reached beyond the room. Nobody can talk about America like Barack Obama, aside from maybe Ronald Reagan. That's what I was thinking about this evening because he described an American that we all aspire to be, and in a way we are. What is interesting to me, comparing this convention to the last convention, and I think we talked about a little the other night, is that this notion of American exceptionalism with the Democrats now saying America is great, don't tell us the military is a disaster; don't tell us we're in the middle of a civil war right now. America is great. We just have to make it better. It's kind of a --

JONES: It's a deeper patriotism.

BORGER: It's a -- it's a flipped view; and one other thing about government that was interesting to me, aside from all the comments about Donald Trump obviously. The line that struck me was "we don't look to be ruled."


BORGER: "We believe in self-government."

[23:50:02] AXELROD: I would say that is an important point.

DOYLE: Yes, it really is.

AXELROD: Because that is what is keeping conservatives in the Republican Party from gravitating to Donald Trump. They don't like the idea of a sort of autocrat. They don't like the idea of -

JONES: Obamacare.

AXELROD: -- a guy who invests in himself, --

BORGER: Right.

AXELROD: -- the authority who says I will do it all.

BORGER: (Inaudible).

AXELROD: I will take care of it. Only I can do it. That's fundamentally antithetical -


AXELROD: -- to the conservative vision.

BORGER: It's anti-American as Obama was saying.

DOYLE: I want to jump in here because I want to say, as the one person on this panel who worked her tail off for Hillary Clinton eight years ago, and against Barack Obama eight years ago, I'm going to miss this President.


DOYLE: I'm going to miss him. I'm going to miss his family. I'm going to miss the First Lady. And for him to stand up there, I mean, and talk about compassion and hope and optimism, he led us through very turbulent years and then to pass that baton to Hillary, when she walked out -

COOPER: And to literally have her walking out.

DOYLE: To literally have her walk out, it was just a very powerful, moving - KING: And that image is not without some risk - that image is not

without some risk, and we should acknowledge it. The American people want change. They're looking for something different, but she's going all in on that bet and the President went all in on this bet. You have to take it - you plant your feet in an election. You make choices. You decide what your strategy is. She could distance herself from that because history says we don't give the same party to the White House after eight years, in most cases; or you plant your flag, which is what she did tonight, as you saw. He was the closing argument, the President, in a methodical prosecution of Donald Trump tonight.

The other voices are important too, because race has been an issue in this campaign, to have Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Michael Bloomberg, three white men, three very different white men making the case against Donald Trump, and then to have the President come out and say, you know, I'm not done but my time is up. There's more to do and let's continue it with her.

I talked about this earlier, do you think America is going this way or do you think America is going this way? That's the bet the President was saying don't believe that. Donald Trump is trying to get you to look down. I want you to keep looking up, even though it's hard. Even though you're anxious, even though you're scared about some things, keep your head up and we'll get through it; or, look down and be scared. Turning against people or -

[Cross Talk]

KING: -- it's a very clear choice in this election.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: It was a very emotional argument. It was about optimism. It was about hope. He talked about Americans he met along the way. He talked about when he got down, he thought about Americans and it was Americans' optimism and spirit and faith that brought him through. So I think often times -- and then I criticized the President last night and Democrats in general for going to data and for going to studies to kind of counter this anxiety. I thought tonight this was about emotion and feeling.

JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: If I could, just a couple things? (1) I'd like to say something about Tim Kaine's father-in- law. When I was a teenager, my family moved to Virginia. We lived there for two years and in 1965 I met Lynnwood Holten. He was the republican candidate for governor of Virginia. He lost; he was terrific. We moved away by the time he got elected in 1969 but I remember his picture being on the front page of the "New York Times," walking his kids, including Tim Kaine's wife, to an integrated school; and I thought he was terrific. So hats off to him.

Secondly, David, I was on the floor of the Republican Convention in 1988 as a member of the Pennsylvania delegation to say good-bye to Ronald Reagan in his last speech, so I get it. I get it. That said -

AXELROD: Can't we have a little more of moment here? LORD: I do think that this is now -- the election is on and it's now

about change. This is an argument you hear -- hope and change, this is an argument you hear all the time in American presidential politics, and politics in general, and I think it is a fact that the change argument, that Donald Trump is the change candidate here and that's going to be the issue. Are we going to go in this direction or that direction is the perpetual question.

AXELROD: I believe that that's right and I believe there's going to be a very closely contested election here but it's not -- when Barack Obama ran on the platform of change in 2008, the spirit of it was a lot like what you heard here. it was very much rooted in this love of country and this sense of who we are and appealing to the better angels of people's nature as the first republican, Abraham Lincoln, urged us to do.

You know, there was a very dark feeling to the convention last week and the question was generally the more optimistic candidate -

LORD: Exactly.

AXELROD: -- wins these elections and we'll see tomorrow night what Hillary Clinton does but if she carries on in this spirit, this convention is going to end in a much different way than the last one.

COOPER: John, you were going to say?

KING: Look, the question is will the American people listen to politicians, in this changing environment? They made a very detailed case against Donald Trump. They went through his business record. They also, I think, both the President and Vice President were very effective in saying, you know, [23:55:01] "where's the beef" to go back to the Walter Mondale days, in the sense that you can go to and -- this is a fact.

I'm not taking sides here, but Hillary Clinton has many more detailed plans and has said how she going to pay for it. They're on her web site. Donald Trump has tried to come at this from a position of we need strength. We need a strong leader, and he's been honest about negotiating getting things done. He has a very different approach to how he does it. Do the American people - do they want the specifics or is the change environment so great?

COOPER: We have to take a break. We're going to have a lot more coming up. Much more on the President's speech and the blistering attacks tonight on Donald Trump: Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Michael Bloomberg. How will they play outside this arena?


BLITZER: Welcome back. President Obama just asked the American people to do for Hillary Clinton what the American people did for him, make her the next commander-in-chief. He went through point by point by point while he insists no one has ever been more qualified to be commander-in-chief than Hillary Clinton. Jake, the President clearly worked very hard on this speech.

TAPPER: That's right; and we're told right now that President Obama is meeting with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; right now.