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Obama Campaigns for Hillary Clinton; Aired 2-2:30a ET
Aired September 13, 2016 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He wasn't going to let you buy in his condo.
And now suddenly this guy's going to be your champion?
So, yes, if you oppose raising the minimum wage, you should vote for Trump. You should also vote for Pat Toomey. You got -- a Trump- Toomey economy will be right up your alley.
But if you are actually concerned about paying your bills, growing the economy, creating opportunity for everybody, keeping the trend of rising incomes going and rising wages going and uninsured going down and poverty going down -- if that's what you're looking for, this shouldn't even be close.
If you want higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should be voting for Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty and Bob Brady to stand up for you.
And if you're concerned about who's going to keep your family safe in this dangerous world, then the choice is even clearer.
Look, I just came from overseas. Yes, talk to the other leaders around the world. They don't even understand how this is close.
Hillary has worked with our intelligence teams and our diplomats and our military. She's got the judgment and the temperament and the experience to meet any threat.
There's no scenario that she will not have seen before. And she will see to it that our troops finish the job of defeating ISIL -- doing it the right way without resorting to torture, without banning entire religions from our country. She's prepared to be the next commander in chief.
OBAMA: And then you got The Donald, who, just last week, went on Russian state television to talk down our military and to curry favor with Vladimir Putin.
He loves this guy. Loves this guy. Think about -- think about what's happened to the Republican Party.
And they used to be opposed to Russia and authoritarianism and fighting for freedom and fighting for democracy. And now their nominee is out there, praising a guy, saying he's a strong leader because he invades smaller countries, jails his opponents, controls the press and drives his economy into a long recession.
No, look, I'm actually being serious about it. Think about this.
And when the interviewer asked him, well, why do you support this guy -- "He's a strong guy. Look, he's got an 82 percent poll rating."
Well, yes, so did -- Saddam Hussein had a 90 percent poll rating.
OBAMA: I mean, if you control the media and you've taken away everybody's civil liberties and you jail dissidents, that's what happens.
If the pollster calls you up and says, do you support the guy who, if you don't support him, he might throw you in jail -- you say, yes, I love that guy.
But think about the fact that that is Donald Trump's role model.
I mean, you know, I have to do business with Putin. I have to do business with Russia. That's part of foreign policy. But I don't go around saying that's my role model.
Can you imagine Ronald Reagan idolizing somebody like that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
OBAMA: He saw America as "a shining city on a hill."
Donald Trump calls it "a divided crime scene."
He's not offering any real policies or plans, just offering division and offering fear. And he's betting that if he scares enough people, he might just scare up enough votes to win this election.
I mean, look, I believe Americans are not a fearful people. We don't -- we don't look for being ruled. Our power comes from those ideals first put into place right here in Philadelphia, that all of us are created equal, that "we, the people, can form a more perfect union."
We believe in democracy. That's what we believe in.
And we don't believe that one person is going to do it for us. It's what we can do together, achieved by us. And, yes, it's hard and slow and sometimes frustrating to persuade
people and work with people and form coalitions. But that's the necessary work of self-government.
And that's what Hillary Clinton understands because she's been through it. She knows that, in a democracy, in a big, diverse country like this one, it doesn't work if we just demonize each other and call each other names. She knows that love trumps hate.
(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: She knows that most issues -- most issues aren't just black and white and that you got to compromise to get things done, even when you're 100 percent right.
And she knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other and we have to see ourselves in each other and we've got to fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground.
And, you know, these days, our politics doesn't always lend itself to those ideals. You know, we get impatient. We want our progress right away. And we don't want to have to compromise and we don't want to have to listen to other folks. But I promise you, when we stay at it, progress does happen.
And if you don't believe it, ask the 20 million people who have got health care today who didn't have it.
OBAMA: Ask that Marine who serves his country without hiding the husband that he loves.
OBAMA: Democracy works. But here's the thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need some help!
OBAMA: We've got somebody who fainted. This is what happens. They'll be OK. Just give them a little room. Everybody bend their knees one time. Just don't lock your knees. Keep on bending them a little bit. We'll do a little exercise right now.
EMS folks, they're right in front if you can find somebody.
Drink some water.
I love you, too. But bend your knees.
OBAMA: But listen -- listen to this. You've got to want it. You've got to want democracy, not just on Election Day, but all the days in between.
And this is where you come in. We can close the inequality gap in our economy. Hillary has got plans to make sure everybody has a shot, not just those at the top. But you've got to help her by voting for Democrats up and down the ticket.
OBAMA: We've got to get a Congress back and we've got to hold everybody we elect accountable for getting the job done.
OBAMA: We can reform our criminal justice system. But you've got to vote -- not just for president, but for mayors and sheriffs and states' attorneys and state legislators.
OBAMA: We got to work with police and protestors until laws and practices are changed.
We can fix our broken immigration system but we can't keep on sending Republicans to Congress to stand in the way. We've got to vote for leaders who see immigrants, not as criminals or rapists but as families, who came here the same reason ours did: to work and to study and to contribute.
OBAMA: We need leaders in Congress who know the American Dream is not something that a wall can contain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
OBAMA: We can keep making progress against climate change. This month was the hottest on record. This year is going to end up being the hottest on record. This is not somebody's imagination. This is not some liberal plot. It's a problem. But we've got to vote for people who actually understand that it's real.
And we got to engage not just young people on college campuses, but also single moms who are worried about gas prices and coal miners who are worried about providing for their kids. And Hillary has got real plans to do that.
And if you don't think the stakes are high enough, just remember that, for months now, the Republicans in the Senate have refused to do their job and fill a vacancy for the Supreme Court.
OBAMA: Even though I nominated somebody with more federal judicial experience than any nominee in history, they want to see Donald Trump fill it with somebody who sees the world as he does. Imagine that.
Who would that person be?
The Supreme Court should be above politics. The people on the bench make monumental decisions that affect every aspect of our daily lives, from a woman's right to choose to your right to vote.
OBAMA: So my most important message is, we cannot take this election for granted. We've got to fight for this thing. There are serious issues at stake in this election behind all the frivolous stuff that gets covered every day.
And let me just make a comment about that because, look, I'm not running this time. But I sure do get frustrated with the way this campaign is covered. I'm just telling the truth.
Guys in the back, I'm just telling you the truth about how I feel about this.
Let me -- do you mind if I just vent for a second?
OBAMA: You know, you know, the -- you don't -- you don't grade the presidency on a curve. This is serious business.
And when we see folks talking about transparency -- you want to debate transparency?
You've got one candidate in this race, who has released decades' worth of her tax returns. The other candidate is the first in decades who refuses to release any at all.
You want to debate foundations and charities?
One candidate's family foundation has saved countless lives around the world.
The other candidate's foundation took money other people gave to his charity and then bought a 6-foot-tall painting of himself. I mean, he had the taste not to go for the 10-foot version, but...
OBAMA: You want to debate who's more fit to be our president?
One candidate, who's traveled to more countries than any secretary of state ever has, has more qualifications than pretty much anyone who's ever run for this job.
And the other, who isn't fit in any way, shape or form to represent this country abroad and be its commander in chief.
OBAMA: So somehow, as things go on, because we've become so partisan, our standards for what's normal have changed. And Donald Trump says stuff every day that used to be considered as disqualifying for being president.
And yet, because he says it over and over and over again, the press just gives up and they just say, well, yes, you know -- OK.
They just stop -- "I was opposed to the war in Iraq."
Well, actually, he wasn't. But they just accept it.
So the bottom line is, is that we cannot afford suddenly to treat this like a reality show. We can't afford to act as if there's some equivalence here.
To be president, you have to do your homework and you have to know what you're talking about and you've got to apply steady judgment, even when things don't go your way.
And you've got to make the tough calls, even when they're not popular, even when they take years to pay off. And you've got to be able to handle criticism without taking it personally. Just brush it off and then go ahead and get the job done.
OBAMA: And that's something I learned. And that's what Hillary learned as a senator and as a secretary of state and as a first lady.
And, yes, she's got her share of critics, just like I do. And she's been caricatured by the Right and sometimes by the Left. And she's been accused of everything you can imagine and has been subjected to more scrutiny and, what I believe, is more unfair criticism than anybody out here.
OBAMA: And she doesn't complain about it. And you know what, that's what happens when you're under the microscope for 40 years.
But what sets Hillary apart is that, through it all, she just keeps on going and she doesn't stop caring and she doesn't stop trying and she never stops fighting for us, even if we haven't always appreciated it.
OBAMA: And, look, I understand. We're a young country. We are a restless country. We always like the new, shiny thing. I benefited from that when I was a candidate. And we take for granted sometimes what is steady and true. And Hillary Clinton is steady and she is true.
OBAMA: And the young people who are here, who, all you've been seeing is just the nonsense that's been on TV. You maybe don't remember all the work that she has had to do and all the things she has had to overcome and all the good that has happened because of her efforts.
But you need to remember, you need to understand this.
And if you're serious about our democracy, then you've got to -- you've got to be with her. She's in the arena and you can't leave her in there by herself. You've got to get in there with her.
OBAMA: You can't stay home because, you know, yes, she's been around for a long time.
Well, you know what?
This is not reality TV. Democracy is not a spectator sport. You don't tweet in your vote.
America is not about, "Yes, he will," it's about "Yes, we can."
Yes, we can.
Yes, we can create more good jobs. Yes, we can create better schools. Yes, we can create safer streets. Yes, we can create a more secure world.
We can bring about real change and real progress. And the time has come for me to pass the baton on. But I know that Hillary is going to take it. And she's going to run that race and she will finish that race. And that's why I'm with her. That's why I'm fired up. That's why I'm ready to go. And I need you to join me.
OBAMA: I need you to work as hard for Hillary as you did for me.
OBAMA: I need you to knock on doors. I need you to make phone calls. You've got to talk to your friends, including your Republican friends. You need to go to iwillvote.com and register to vote by October 11th. Then you've got to go to the polls and you've got to get people to go to the polls.
OBAMA: And if you're willing to do that with me, we'll win in November. We'll elect Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.
OBAMA: We will continue on this journey to create a better America and a fairer America, a more just America, a more loving America, a brighter America.
OBAMA: That's what we're fighting for. That's why I need you. Let's get busy. Let's get to work.
OBAMA: Thank you, Philadelphia. God bless you. God bless these United States of America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Barack Obama, this is significant. This is the first time we have seen him as a solo appearance, stumping for Hillary Clinton. He wants to, as he just said, pass the baton on. There he is in Philadelphia.
You know, and, really, echoes of then-Senator Obama, running in '08 and then of course running for reelection in 2012, hearing things like, "Don't, boo; vote."
"Fired up, ready to go," the crowd chanting, "Yes, we can," trying to fire up the electorate, telling them why the man, who, oddly enough, and we're watching the little box on the screen, who was speaking at the same time, Donald Trump, why he thinks he is not the man to be the next commander in chief.
He also took time to vent and criticize the guys in the back, the press. So let's get into all of that.
I have Susan Page with me, the Washington bureau chief for "USA Today," who is now covering her ninth presidential race.
Let's stay on these pictures.
CNN senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson; Kris Kobach (ph), the secretary of state for Kansas, who supports Donald Trump; CNN political commentator Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist who supports Hillary Clinton. And with me here on set, who covered Obama the last couple of rounds, CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.
Susan Page, I defer to you, as you have been through, as we mentioned, what, nine elections. And listening to the president on his talk of transparency and especially on his talk of a double standard and Hillary Clinton, what jumped out at you?
SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Well, actually I've covered nine. This is my 10th. And --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It says here 10.
PAGE: -- this is my 10th. Never, never in those 10 campaigns have you have an incumbent president campaign with that kind of enthusiasm for his party's nominee to succeed. And for various reasons, Al Gore didn't want Bill Clinton out there; John McCain did not want George W. Bush out there.
But this is a case where Barack Obama's interest in sustaining his legacy and electing Hillary Clinton aligns with Hillary Clinton's need to have him generate some enthusiasm with the Obama coalition, with younger voters, the African Americans, not only get them to support the Democrat but to turn out in some significant numbers.
And you saw his power to do that in that rally we just watched in Philadelphia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nia, what did you think?
And then why is he in Philadelphia, too?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Philadelphia has always been good to Democrats. You think about 2008. Barack Obama drew 35,000 folks there; in 2004, John Kerry was there Bill Clinton, drew a crowd like 100,000.
People, it's the center of that Pennsylvania kind of get-out-the-vote machine for Democrats. And Democrats need to win Pennsylvania this go-around if they're to continue Obama's legacy and have Hillary Clinton take the White House.
I think he was really feeling it out there, right. This is a president who has a 58 percent approval rating, according to this "Washington Post" poll that came out just recently.
And I think he very effectively picked apart some of Donald Trump's arguments. He was mocking him. He talked about the bizarreness; he sort of framed it that way of Donald Trump seeing Putin as a role model.
He talked about this idea of Donald Trump being a kind of champion of working class Americans but yet someone who wouldn't let working class Americans rent in his buildings. Or someone who wouldn't let working class Americans onto his golf courses.
So I thought he was so effective here in this crowd today. And I am sure that the Hillary Clinton campaign is pleased and wants to see him out there more and more.
And I understand that in October he will be out there much more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His line, I mean, he was sort of on a roll, getting the crowd to laugh, talking about when he was talking about Vladimir Putin as a role model and talking about Saddam Hussein and saying, listen, you know, if you jail dissidents and you control the media, you'd have a 90 percent approval rating, too.
Chris Koback, though, to you, on this point of transparency. We heard it from Hillary Clinton, when she was on the phone with Anderson Cooper last night. We heard it again here with President Obama, this lack of transparency when it comes to your candidate.
Do you agree with that?
We just don't know a lot about Donald Trump.
KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I mean, I think that's a hard charge for the Hillary campaign and, by extension, President Obama to make, too because we have all of the destroyed emails on Hillary's part and the lack of transparency, just --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tax returns, medical records, two examples they would throw back at you.
KOBACH: Right. But I'm saying -- right, exactly. And there's no question Trump has said, look, you will see the tax returns after the audit's done. I'm sure the Trump campaign is going to be happy to put out medical records, now in light of the recent difficulties with pneumonia that Hillary's had.
I think that issue -- I don't think there's going to be any lack of transparency there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we know, Kris -- let me ask you -- hang on, hang on just a second.
When you bring up the medical records, do we know how far back, how detailed the Trump medical records will be, when they're released this week?
KOBACH: I don't know how far -- I haven't gotten any information on that. But I wouldn't be surprised if they're pretty significant.
But let me say this about, you know, I think having Obama speak on behalf of Hillary was a very smart move because the -- one of the main problems that we've seen this entire campaign year for the Clinton campaign is an enthusiasm gap.
Remember in the Republican primaries, Trump brought all kinds of people out of the woodwork and had huge record-setting numbers; on the Democrat side, you didn't see that.
So Obama has the ability to motivate people and really get them excited for Hillary -- the base, that is; people who are already thinking about voting for Hillary. But it's a double-edged sword because it also reinforces that Hillary will be a third Obama term. And I don't think they're running away from that any more in the Hillary campaign.
And that plays into Trump's argument that, look, I can blame the wage stagnation on Hillary. I can blame the poor economy, our weakness abroad, on Hillary because she's embracing the idea that she will be the third Obama term.
So it has a negative consequence, too, I think, for the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think on economics, he brought up the new numbers today with regard to the median income in the U.S. going up to 56-plus thousand dollars -- I think his line was Republicans don't like to hear --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- news right now.
Right. So Hilary Rosen, I want you to respond to that. But I also want you to respond to Obama's point, when he was saying that Hillary Clinton is subjected to more scrutiny, more criticism, that there is a double standard.
HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, and let's just remember that President Obama has a majority approval rating in this country, much more significant.
And so if the Trump campaign is going to try and hang him around Hillary's neck and that's what they think, then they're going to be surprised because he actually is quite popular, particularly in those states that Donald Trump has to win to overcome her lead.
I think we get to this point now and in the race, where Hillary Clinton is going to be more proactive, more positive about the changes she's going to make in this country. And I thought that President Obama was very articulate and saying essentially, look at Donald Trump's record. He's cheated people.
His foundation, you know, didn't just give -- you know, take other people's money, but it bought a 10-foot-tall -- you know, 6-foot-tall painting of himself. This is not the kind of guy who's going to come up with policies to help you, the middle class in Pennsylvania.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the enthusiasm point, though, let me bounce back; when Kris mentioned that, that is a valid criticism, right, of Hillary Clinton thus far, especially among some young folks.
Jeff Zeleny, you saw President Obama. You covered him. You were showing me a picture back from you guys in '08.
And you remember these similar choruses, this which brought about such enthusiasm, especially from young people, "Yes, we can."
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Without a doubt and he is hoping that the same -- the response is the same here. But you have to remember a couple things.
One, there so many more Millennials now, who didn't get the chance to vote for him. So he also is offering them a chance to sort of vote for this third term.
From that perspective, it's a good thing to have a third term. I could not have imagined sitting here a year or so ago, thinking that the Clinton campaign would've been essentially OK, running for a third Obama term.
And now they are because of the economic numbers and other things. And because he's so different, you know, than Mr. Trump.
But I think what's striking here is we've never seen if President Obama's popularity translates to other candidates before. It didn't in 2010, when he lost control of the Senate. It certainly didn't in 2014.
This is the biggest test, I think, of his transferability here.
Can some of those of voters, you know, will they follow him and join him? He doesn't need to get everyone. He basically just needs to get the
old band back together, that Obama coalition of voters. That's why he's in Philly today, registering people to vote. There's four more weeks to register there.
That's why he's here. That's why Michelle Obama's in Virginia on Friday. So that's what he's up to here. He's the most valuable player in this campaign. But it's a big test for him and his legacy as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just have one quick thing on the enthusiasm gap, which is -- which is that, you know, no one, Millennials or senior citizens, could be watching this campaign and just feel good about it.
This is not a campaign that's talking about -- directly about the future of the country. Hillary Clinton has to do everything she can to make it be about that. But this has been, for the last 15 months on the Republican side, and we've now brought it into the general campaign, of insults, of, you know, race baiting, of religion baiting.
It's just -- it is just an unpleasant thing to experience. I know for those of us sitting around this studio -- and so I can only imagine in so many ways how it feels to people who really want progress in this country, who want to build on the progress of this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On progress, just quickly -- and we heard we and we mentioned a moment ago, how obviously President Obama was touting the positive economic numbers today. As we were listening to the president, Donald Trump was speaking at a rally as well.
He just spoke about the economy. Let's hear what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One in five American households do not have a single member in the labor force. Another 14 million people left the labor force since 2009.
And the national debt has doubled to nearly $20 trillion during the Obama years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, all right, Susan Page -- I'm coming to you on your 10th presidential election you're covering.
So here's more numbers, just to confuse everyone, but I think it is significant, again, the -- this is the news that came out today. This is from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Median income in the U.S. grew to 56,516. That represents a 5.2 percent raise for American workers, the first gain since 2007.
Additionally, the poverty rate also declined -- all obviously positive news.
We heard the president touting that as part of his legacy. He said, yes, it took time for change.
How do you hear Trump, juxtaposed with the positive news today?
PAGE: So this is very important. These are very important statistics for the Democrats because we know that the --