CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 6 (UPI) — President Barack Obama finally got his long-awaited chance to hit the campaign trail for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, and he didn’t waste the opportunity to make a case for his former State Department chief.
Speaking at a rally in Charlotte, N.C., the president vivaciously praised Clinton for her years of public service and lauded her depth of experience in multiple American government venues — including eight years in the White House, eight years in the U.S. Senate and four years in Obama’s cabinet.
Obama said in his view, Americans’ choice in November is a no-brainer.
“Hillary knows how to build coalitions and she knows we can take smart steps to protect both our rights and our kids,” he said at the Charlotte Convention Center Tuesday afternoon, where supporters had lined up for hours in the rain for tickets to see the president’s inaugural 2016 campaign rally.
The president has said in recent weeks that he is eager to hit the campaign trail for the former first lady. Tuesday, his enthusiasm was obvious, as Obama said he was “fired up” and “ready to go” in backing his former secretary of state.
Obama said Clinton’s leadership and experience in infinite matters make her the clear choice to succeed him as president — particularly given the fact that the alternative is Republican Donald Trump.
“Her brand of leadership can fix a broken immigration system,” he said, adding that Clinton offers a clear-cut plan for immigrants that maintains a path to U.S. citizenship.
“[Republicans] talk a good game about immigration reform and then they don’t do anything,” he added, drawing a chorus of boos from the audience. “Then, they picked a nominee who’s only plan is to build a higher wall.”
At several moments in his speech, the president paused to advise the booing supporters to make their voices heard with a ballot.
“Don’t boo. Vote,” he said. “Booing doesn’t help. You need to vote.”
“If you don’t think your vote matters, if you don’t think the stakes are high enough, remember that just last month the Supreme Court could not make a decision involving immigration because Republicans in the senate had refused to just do their job and just have the courtesy to meet with a nominee that even they admit is one of the most qualified ever for a seat on the Supreme Court — wont even give him a hearing,” he added. “They would rather have their nominee for president choose his own justice to fill that seat. Don’t boo, gotta vote.”
During the rally, Obama also set his sights on Donald Trump, both directly and indirectly.
“This is not a reality show. This is not entertainment. This is real,” he said. “This isn’t a reality show, this is reality. And being president means you have to deal with reality. When a crisis hits, you can’t just walk off the set. You can’t fire the script writer. You can’t be reckless. You’ve actually got to know what you’re talking about. You can’t just kick out reporters.
“That’s some of what I’ve learned while serving as your president. That’s some of what Hillary has learned as a senator and secretary of state, and that’s why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.”
When Clinton spoke, she pledged to win the state of North Carolina, which has recently been the subject of a Justice Department lawsuit over a controversial law that mandates transgender government employees and students to use bathrooms at public facilities that match the gender they were assigned at birth.
“I’m ready to pass the baton. And I know Hillary Clinton is going to take it and I know she can run that race.”
Clinton said after the president’s remarks that she is honored professionally and personally to receive Obama’s support.